Tale of A Horse Care Fail

Have you ever fed your horse a flashlight?

If not, you may be wondering exactly how does this happen. Let me tell you the tale.

I carry a flashlight every morning when I walk from my house to the barn for morning feed. I like to feed before the sun comes up, but there is no electricity in my barn. It stopped working years ago and is too expensive to repair. I need the flashlight to move around from point A to B.

If you are thinking that most horses do not seem to like flash lights, I am right there with you. Anytime I get a new horse or take on a foster horse, I notice a period of adjustment. It takes awhile for the horse to realize that the emanating light is not as scary as it looks. On a horse training note, it is probably a good skill for a horse to have in case of nighttime emergency situations.

Bear, who has been with me for over 15 years, is a flashlight professional at this point. Good thing, too. He is the horse to whom I inadvertently tried to feed the flashlight.

The lights I carry are of the small variety, about the thickness of the average carrot. You can see where I am going with this.

I usually carry a bite size snack of some sort to feed the horses under the fence as a morning greeting before I actually reach the barn. One day I had a lot on my mind as I said hello to Bear. I handed him his piece of carrot snack without really paying much attention as I turned towards the barn.

I thought I still had the flashlight in my hand but noticed that everything was dark. I couldn’t see where I was going. How had I turned it off? I kept tapping the end of the flashlight with my thumb. Still no light. I stumbled my way to the barn door. Then it dawned on me that the flashlight felt funny in my hand. I suddenly realized I now held only a carrot. My heart rose into my throat.

I quickly turned back towards Bear. I had a passing thought about how I was going to explain this to my vet who I’d surely be calling tout de suite.

Now facing the pasture, I saw only a beam of light on the ground coming straight out from between Bear’s two front hooves. The light was directed right at me. It remains the only time a horse has ever held a flashlight on me instead of vice versa.

Fortunately for Bear, he obviously had the good sense to not chomp on the flashlight. More surprisingly, he was unconcerned about standing over this beam of light. He was perfectly poised with his horse face lit up from underneath. I suspect Bear’s primary thought was that he had just missed his usual morning snack. Bear looked quite confident that I would be producing an edible treat soon enough. Bless him.

While some horse care fails are much more serious, I must say that sometimes all I can do is laugh at my inept moments. And I suspect I am not the only one laughing. I have long thought that horses possess a sense of humor that usually remains unrecognized as we go about riding and caring for them. I like to think of my horses chuckling at and with me, finding humor in the things they witness from their side of the fence.

2 thoughts on “Tale of A Horse Care Fail

  1. Hilarious! I guess you were relieved when you found out that Bear did not swallow the flashlight. I think they don’t just gobble everything down, they have so sensitive mouths. And they definitely have a sense of humour. We were taking riding lessons, and sometimes the horses in riding schools get fed up with having to carry different people all the time and make up highly inventive ways to get rid of them …
    Later on we rode on private owned horses. They were elderly horses, and two of them had served in the military. They were a lot of fun with their little tricks.

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