Giving Thanks Entry #4

By Joey (Michelle Eng)

My name’s Joey. That’s what my mom calls me. Along with JoJo, Precious, Mama’s Boy, Bud, and Joseph Eli (that’s my show name, but she calls me that if I’m acting up, too:-O Who, me?? Never!!) My name wasn’t always Joey. Before Mom got me, they called me Romeo. I am sure somewhere along the way somebody had a reason for calling me that, but Mom didn’t like it, so she changed my name. They say naming something or someone is a sign of ownership. Guess Mom took getting her first horse pretty seriously.

Actually, I know she did, and I’m so thankful that she did. Because so many of my horse friends have ‘parents’ who either don’t have time or don’t have money to give my friends as much as they would like. My mom doesn’t have a lot of spare time as she works really hard to provide for us (another grateful grin!), but she hardly ever skips a day of seeing me, even after a 10, 11, or 12 hour shift at work that typically started at 5 a.m.

I am my mom’s first horse, and she says she dreamed, wanted, begged, cried, prayed, and waited for a horse for 28 years. But she was willing to hold out for the best, and wait till she could not only pay my ransom (buy me), but also have enough money to provide everything I needed—from vet care, to my snazzy shoes that keep me from tripping, to supplements, to rent (board), to all the necessary (and unnecessary) needs like a perfectly fitting saddle, warm winter blankets, brushes, and really huge hay bags. Oh, and treats.

I’m thankful for my mom because she feeds me lots of treats. She says she gives me too many, but I am really good at being adorable and begging. At one point she refused to give me very many, except for a few from in a feed pan, because I was getting nippy…really?!, but I fixed that system by flipping the feed pan out of her hands after I ate the treat. And she still gives me treats….I am pretty lucky that she is such a sucker for treats:-)

I’m thankful for Mom because she doesn’t make me work very hard most of the time (although she keeps saying we are going to start a new training regiment for the show season next year). Typically a ride is a nice stroll across the field on a Sunday afternoon, or a bit of not-too-hard arena work. She does make me work those transitions, though, whew! Lately she’s been on a walk-canter, canter-walk transition phase, and I must say I’m getting pretty good at them. I’m not thankful she smacks me with the crop when I don’t listen, but I guess I’m thankful she doesn’t get mad and whale me with it, either.

Now that it’s cold out, we horses stay up in the stalls at night (bleck!). I much prefer 24/7 turnout, especially this year with my beautiful thick, soft, warm, and fluffy coat, but gotta follow the barn rules, so I grudgingly stay up with my friends. I’m not a huge fan of being stalled, and I hate not being able to see out of my stall and what’s going on around me. My stall has two windows that are open all summer, and they close them during the winter. Mom knows I hate them closed, so when she came home from vacation last week, the first thing she did after running her hands all over me and smearing smelly cream all over my dings, was to open the big window. Now I can poke my head out and look for her to come. I know she will. Every night. Sometimes it’s at 4, sometimes, 6, last night it was after 8, but I know she’s gonna come, and make a fuss over me, and I can usually squeeze at least two treats out of her as she tops my water off and fills my giant hay bag.

Ahhh, yes, have I mentioned I love hay? She got me these weird hay bags. I didn’t like them at first. Actually, to be truthful, I was pretty mad, because they have small holes and I couldn’t get the hay out of them. But now I’m a master at the smallest hole, and it keeps my hay clean and dry and easy to access. She said that those hay bags weren’t cheap, but she got me the big one last year for Christmas. It can hold like half a hay bale, it’s so huge! I love it so much!!

I’m thankful for Mom cuz she notices the smallest details. From the tiniest new nick on my rump, to a runny eye, to a just starting to get soft foot, she makes sure that I am clean and taken care of. She helps me avoid so much trouble with all the preventative stuff she does for me. She keeps my tail detangled so I can swat flies, she keeps my feet oiled as needed, she gets on the rainrot right away, and she constantly cuts the bot eggs off during the fall (even though she’s really bad with the knife and almost always nicks me with it). She’ll come out at 4 Am before work if the vet said to treat my foot every 12 hours, and hose and wash and salve it in the dark. That’s true love right there!!

After my cousin Pippin choked on his food one day, Mom went in my stall and took out the corner feeder and tied a rubber pan on the ground. I thought it was supposed to be a toy when there was no food in it, and I kinda ripped it up a lil, and the barn manager had to go in and flip it right side up before he could put my food in it. So Mom finally gave me my corner feeder back, but she put it as low as she possibly could so that it was a more natural eating position. She says she’s gonna get me a feed bucket she can hang and take off the wall soon, that will be interesting.

During the winter she hooks up a heated water bucket for me, agonizing over how she places the cord so I won’t chew on it and electrocute myself. During the summer I have a nice fan up top that keeps me cooler in my stall and helps keep the flies away. My favorite salt lick is always available at my disposal, and she cleans my water bucket at least every other day.

But more than just all the things she does and provides for me, I’m thankful for my mom because she really loves me. Her face just lights up like a Christmas tree when she calls me and I start coming to her from the field. I’ll follow her in like a puppy, no halter, no lead. If she starts running, I love to play tag with her, though once I did almost accidentally run her over, whoops. She spends hours just sitting in the field with me, letting me graze. Hours and hours and hours. Sometimes she falls asleep, but I always come back to her. She likes to bury her face in my mane after a long day at work and just stay there. I don’t like her hanging on me a whole lot all the time, but I let her, cuz I know she loves me, and I’m thankful to belong to a human that cares so much about me.

I’m thankful to be one of the biggest parts of her life, to be her best friend, to be her man, to be the reason she has to get out of bed and go to work some days. That’s a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. But I can carry it. And I can, and I will, carry her. Because she does all these wonderful things for me, and she loves me with all her heart.

And that’s why I’m most thankful for Mom.

Thanks for letting me be yours, Mom.

I love you.


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