“Trust yourself, then you will know how to live.”~Goethe
I went to my “sad sack” stable here in Phoenix for a little visit and shoot. Read on and you’ll see why I call it that. The horses in this stable were the first horses that I ever shot so I have a certain soft spot for them and always like to see how they are doing when I am able. While the horses seem pretty well fed, I can tell you that there is a difference between horses that are pets and those in a stable whose job in life is to pretty much make money for someone; work horses , so to speak. At least that has been my observation. Most of the latter seem standoffish. Unless you have a carrot you can call them until you are blue in the face and the majority will not waste the energy to walk over. Why? I think it’s because humans predominately equate to work for them, not affection.
It was 100 degrees when I visited and I always feel for these poor guys. Some of the pens do not even have shade, which I find abhorrent. Standing in the sun all day makes them lethargic and they seem to have only enough energy to try and keep the multitude of flies away. Horses are clever and what I noticed is that they pair up to keep the pesky bugs away. They stand very close to one another, head to backside and swat flies away from their partner’s face with their tail. It’s an ingenious, mutually beneficial behavior. And I guess it requires a partner that they can trust, one for whom they have some kind of horsey affection. I suppose it’s like having a good friend you can rely on. I watched one pair doing a circle dance while maintaining this behavior (It’s not in a horse’s nature to stay perfectly still for too long, hence the need to move). The horse here is one from the pair that I watched and I think you can see the comfortability in the horse’s expression. Either that or she was just plain wiped out from the heat!