Horses as Pets
My First Horse Ride
I think the idea of wanting a horse on our farm came not just from my fascination with these beautiful and intelligent animals, it also came from my holidays, and consequently college days in Darjeeling.
I was 15 when our family first drove to this spectacular hill station where you can glimpse the Kanchenjunga mountain range from the main road when the skies are clear. I was gripped with a strange urge when I watched bumbling tourists riding retired race horses. I wanted to prove to my family and especially to my younger sister what a heroine I was.
I chose the tallest of the retired race horses and sniggered inwardly at my sister who picked a pony after much encouragement from us all.
I shouldn’t have. The horse was so tall that my foot missed the stirrup once the guide had hoisted me up and I fell face down upon the neck of the horse. I hastily got back into position, a hot blush on my face at the sound of laughter. Even my sister was laughing. I made up for my clumsiness however, urging the guide to allow me free rein and coaxing the horse into a gallop that shook up my insides and knocked out my breath.
I eventually learned to synchronize my body with the movements of the horse so I wouldnt get all unhinged, but by then it was almost time up. How I loved the wind in my hair, the power beneath me, the adoring glances of the Nepalese boys dressed in the latest! Meanwhile, my sister shrieked each time her pony threatened to break into a gallop and allowed it to crop at the grass on the roadside till the guide intervened and bullied the beast into working for its living.
As we neared the mall, however, I dismounted and led the horse by the reins. I didn’t want to fall on my nose again in front of everyone. Someone took me to be a guide since I wasnt riding, and another laughingly handed me my earrings and necklace that had fallen off me during my mounting mishap.
Years later, my days in college in Darjeeling further strengthened my love for horses. I would often go riding with a close friend.
Picking Up a Lone Foal from the City
So when I came upon a lone young horse near the Galaxy theatre in Bangalore,I went up to him and stroked his velvety muzzle and thought of all the grass he could eat and the wilds he could gallop in on the farm. I wanted desperately to take him there. I begged my colleagues at work to help, but they only laughed.
I went to the SPCA cell at Cubbon Park, next door from my office and they told me I had to transport it very carefully since a horse could end up with broken legs, and suggested I wait for their horse van. But I knew Galaxy (for this is what I’d named the horse) wouldnt wait and I called up hubby and asked him to pick up the horse and take him to the farm.
And he did. A friend experienced with farm life and animals tied the foals legs together and sat with him in the back of the jeep so the animal wouldnt get injured.
I was elated. And so was Galaxy. He would follow me about like a loyal dog and I would bring him carrots and lumps of sugar and bananas on my weekend visits. My small son Siddhartha enjoyed riding him and Galaxy was most gentle with him.
Horses Can Eat Poisonous Weeds
But Galaxy perished after four glorious months on the farm. He ate something poisonous and died of a terrible stomach problem, his gasping head in my arms. Alas, I did not have reiki then, or I could have saved him from such an early and painful death.
Today we’ve got a very interesting horse I call Ugadi, since they brought him in from a nearby village on the occasion of Ugadi. He’s older than Galaxy, and I hope this will make him more resistant to poisonous plants if he ever comes across them, or at least make him more aware.
The last time I visited him after a long absence, he came galloping to me, neighing loudly, rolled about in the mud like a dog and nipped gently at my clothes and shoes. He’s really lovable. In fact, even our young cow who shares his shed, loves him so much that if she fails to see him, she sets up a raucous mooing. I have seen Ugadi nipping gently at her too. Maybe one day I’ll ride him round the farm.
Update 2014 – Ugadi is alive and well. Except for the cataract in one eye.