by Nicole Landreneau’s 28 year-old Shalom

Shalom and George

Shalom and George

Christmas. Again.

I hear My Human say it all the time, and I think I agree: where does the time go? One day of grazing leads to another and pretty soon, well, here we are, on the threshold of another year.

I wasn’t able to send a letter last year, so I’m taking the opportunity of My Human being too busy caring for Her Human (who hurt himself AGAIN) to inform you of what has been going on in my life.

I am happy to say that I did not have to babysit any weanlings this year. I am SO glad for that. Is there anything as exhausting as a youngster frolicking around you while you try to nap peacefully? The incessant “why?”, “what?”, “let’s play!”, “did you see that?” is just a bit much to bear. Sure, they’re cute. In someone else’s pasture.

Instead, I spent a relatively peaceful time with The Kid. He’s finally growing into his feet, which is good news… for him. I’ll miss the chuckles watching him trip over himself as he tries to reach the gate first. He can beat me to the gate now only because this arthritis is slowing me down. He has no regard for age and won’t listen when I tell him that I’m supposed to be served first. This has some unfortunate consequences for him when I do catch up … I’m not THAT old yet!

Even though he’s growing up, The Kid continues to be a source of amusement for me. I don’t know what the deal is, but he is terrified of plastic bags. My Human has tried showing him that bags contain good things (you know, edibles!), but he just isn’t getting it. While he’s off snorting at nothing like a nut job, I’m making short work of whatever goodies My Human brings. He’s not even embarrassed for acting so foolish! O well, more for me, I say. His palate is expanding, however, so now I have to share the apples and the human cookies since he has decided they are good after all. This does not please me. I’m tired of sharing. I already have to share My Human, and now THIS? It’s not right.

The Kid is also a bit of a slow study on life hacks. I’ve heard My Human say that he is not maturing as fast as I did. Some of us are gifted, what can I say? I just find it hard to believe that he a) doesn’t yet know how to pick open the gate latch and b) has no desire to do so. He can’t even push open the gate when it’s unlatched – he waits for My Human or the staff to open it wide enough for him to pass. Who has time for that? Let me through, I say, I know the way to my stall. Speaking of which, this seems to confound the staff. They get extraordinarily upset when I release myself from their grasp and make my way to my stall unassisted. I don’t see the problem here, I’m saving them a trip. And it gives them good exercise, too … for some reason they also think I cannot run. If they want to play chase, well then, I will oblige. I try so hard to be thoughtful, but humans just don’t see it. I’m not sure why I bother.

My Human has taken The Kid to a few competitions and they have done pretty well. I hear about it in unending fashion when they get home. “You should have seen what I did!” “Did you know there were so many other horses? I tried to talk to them all, but our Human wasn’t too keen on that.” And on and on. He’s pretty happy with himself because he was able to do one tempis. I had to remind him that he was doing a simple test and only a circle of canter was required … WHY the extra effort? The Kid has yet to discover the benefit to conserving energy and only doing what one MUST. I’m still trying to get it through his head that our Human is both important and fragile and he needs to stop with the exuberant bucking. Who does he think is going to bring us special gifts if she is broken? No one, I tell you! The staff is attentive here, but they don’t have much time for the extras.

Speaking of extras, I got tired of the color of my stall. I’m just not a fan of white. (Which is going to be a problem since The Kid is turning more white each day. I’m going to have to show him a better spot to roll.) So, I took it upon myself to add my own mark to the decor since the staff wasn’t getting the hint. It’s amazing how much decorating you can do with poo. It’s all in the angle you point your hindquarters at the wall. I’m rather fond of the earth tones and the patterns I’ve created, but the staff keeps pulling out the pressure washers. There is no appreciation of art. On the plus side, I regularly have a clean canvas to decorate as I see fit. It passes the time.

I must say, this whole getting older thing is not fun. I don’t recover like I used to and that unfortunately means more unexpected visits from The Vet. Yes, she’s nice and all. But I don’t want her near me. Spending Christmas with a tube down my nose is not my idea of a good holiday, thank you very much. What did My Human think of that? Well, she was out of town again. I planned it that way so she wouldn’t have to be bothered or worry. At least, that’s what I figured. The staff could spend the night with me and she didn’t have to! Good idea, right? Unfortunately, she saw it the opposite and said I upset her Christmas…so much for being thoughtful.

So, the next time I developed an ailment, I did it right BEFORE she went out of town. I thought my timing was better, but turns out I was wrong again. Just can’t win, you know what I mean? Unfortunately, The Vet came AGAIN. I’m so tired of being poked with needles. I’m USING my blood, OK? Leave it alone. Sheesh. I’d like to avoid getting pneumonia again if I can help it, though, it took me months to stop coughing. My Human was not pleased. But, well, what was I supposed to do about it? I tried not to cough ON her.

I’m happy to report that My Human is getting better about taking me for walks. The change of scenery is welcome but she moves too slow. So, I have to take HER for a walk. She seems to find this funny, and I like to hear her laugh, so I’ll continue to make the most of that trick. Plus, if I’m in charge, she isn’t so focused on that electronic thing. I tried destroying it once but she got something new to put it in and I haven’t had any luck. Yet. I’ll get it eventually. Are your humans so focused on those things, too? Personally, I think I should have all her attention, even if I am just grazing.

I have succeeded in convincing several of the Other Humans of my importance around here. They now regularly stop to visit, pat, and bring gifts. Which is as it should be. I’m hoping this will pay off well. I’ll let you know!

Unfortunately, I have to sign off here. My Human is returning and no doubt she will need this typing device. I’m surprised I’ve had it this long! I’ve enclosed a photo of me and The Kid. You can see how big he’s gotten. Actually, My Human was trying to take a picture of The Kid and, well, I couldn’t resist. 🙂

Happy holidays, y’all, I hope to be in touch again next year.