Tuesday, 4 August 2009


Obama has been biting me a bit, (what an exquisite play on words), and as with so much that Obama has taught me, it has taken time for the lesson to sink in. Ponies can't talk but if they want to communicate, a nip is a perfectly valid communication.
i am still scratching the scab where Obama bit me pretty hard on the arm, and unusually, refused to let go. I punched him fairly hard on the cheekbone because punching really hard on the cheekbone is stunningly painful for the person doing it. Obama did let go, and looked mildly guilty as I swore at him, but then I started thinking. It was raining hard, I had hauled him out of a barn where Cally, his latest girlfriend, is in season, and dragged him out to the field to hook up a prototype hoe for clearing the wheeltracks of corn spurry. I was trying to drive this rig, on my own through 5,000 soggy brassicas without Obama succumbing to the temptation to eat them or wander off track. So I was in a pretty vile mood and by the end of the first row when I realised my new prototype didn't work, Obama decided to but in with his opinion, and bit me.
Whose fault was it?
Mine, and Obama was telling me, in clear and concise language (horse) what he thought of it so far. As I nursed my bruised knuckles I realised the answer and gave Obama a carrot. Now when he nips me, i check his harness, check the equipment and once I have straightened the saddle, or whatever it is that is upsetting Obama, i give him another carrot and we carry on working.
Ami I rewarding vice, or rewarding communication. I do ensure that the carrot comes a lot faster if the nip is gentle. So we learn together that what traditionally is referred to as a vice, is communication. Don't punish any attempt to communicate. I now regret swearing at Obama for kicking me.

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