Most horse people are familiar with the phrase “horses leave hoof prints on your heart.”
It is a candy-sweet sentiment, describing how enchanting horses are to those of us who find them irresistible. I can attest that more than one horse has left his or her mark on me. I have the t-shirt.
I also recognize that a literal hoof print on my heart would not invoke the same warm-fuzzy feelings. Probably not for the folks I’d leave behind, either. The strength and power of a horse’s kick is truly awe-inspiring.
Maybe that’s why when I saw this mark on my horse, Piper, I couldn’t quite believe it. Took me a minute to make it out. Is . . . that . . . a . . . HOOF PRINT???
Fortunately, Piper seemed no worse for the wear. The area was not tender or hot to the touch. It was not swollen. The skin underneath was fully intact. Piper didn’t seem sore or lame.
But how in the world did that hoof print get there?
I then remembered seeing earlier that morning the tail end of a scuffle between Piper and my other horse, Bear, over a pile of hay.
I recalled observing Bear’s back hoofs flying, but my angle and distance from the scene didn’t allow me to see exactly what happened.
Bear must have left his signature while expressing displeasure over Piper moving in on his preferred hay selection. Yikes.
Yes, sometimes horses leave hoof prints on our hearts. I hope that never changes. I never want to lose the sense of wonder and gratitude over forging meaningful relationships with more than one horse in my life.
But sometimes, horses leave hoof prints on each other. Now that is one reality I could probably do without.