This is Doc, Neighbor D’s new riding horse.
Doc is a very fine fellow. Smart, friendly, well-trained – and even in a seller’s market D got him at a fairly good price because when it came to doing his actual job, Doc said no. Apparently Doc said hell no.
I’ve noticed, since moving here and having more to do with horses, that horses have one thing in common with guns: They are seriously misrepresented in the movies. Movies treat horses as if they’re basically sports cars with hair. Like machines, they never do anything off the script. In life, horses are sentient animals who can’t read the script and wouldn’t care if they could. They can be cooperative – usually are or they’d be of no use – but they have individual likes and dislikes and they’re aware that they’re bigger and stronger than you are and really can’t be forced.
Doc was bred, raised and trained to be a rodeo roping horse. He took well to training, he likes being ridden, he doesn’t shy at ropes being swung over his head (a big potential problem,) puts up well with trailering and he has no respect for cattle. All fine traits. He seemed on his way to a high price followed by a successful career…
Until he actually got to a rodeo. Rodeos are loud, bustling things with all sorts of hurry and tension and excited animals. Lots of horses like those things. Doc decided that he hated rodeos. Hated them to the point where you could put him in a chute, release a steer, open his own chute … and he’d just stand there. He knew what he was supposed to do, and would do it fine in training. But in an actual rodeo he refused absolutely.
Well…what are his trainers supposed to do then? He’s far too much of an investment to send south to fill dogfood cans. They figured he’d do fine in a quieter setting, and so far he really has. He has settled right in to being a riding horse for a retired couple who live ‘way back in the desert and love to spoil horses rotten. It apparently fits right in with his ambitions.