That’s what I thought when my horse shook his mane into equal alternating parts out on the trail last week. We had just walked up a steep section of the firebreak trail atop the rocky hill behind our home. You can see the valley spread out below through the trees and it’s a beautiful view at pink dusk, all soft around the edges. Even the granite boulders and prickly parrotbush gain a whimsical tint. It inspires me to look skyward and ignore the weeds.
Horses, however, are never sentimental.
Before we reached the crest of the hill, Chappy gave a short emphatic snort as he walked briskly on. His pace gradually slowed as the steep gradient started to wane and the track evened out from rocky gravel to leaf litter. As unfit as we both are, his breaths were coming in shallow and quick, so I pushed him on just a few more metres to a spot where the trees break and there’s a good view of the valley. There, we stopped for a break. He seemed indignant about those few extra steps, and made it known with an extended neck shake (I could actually hear his lips flapping) followed by a power snort, and then the standard head-rub-on-his-knee, followed by another long snorty blow-out. They know how to bring you back to reality: snot comes before a fall.
Anyway, the chess neck would make for a pretty short game of chess with only eight “squares”. Adding more horses to the game (along with the knights) would definitely be an improvement though! The evenly messy mane belongs to Calais, otherwise known as Chappy, or just “you naughty boy!”. Yep, he’s cheeky. He’s a six year old Thoroughbred ex-racehorse that we got off the track nearly three years ago. He’s actually my partner’s horse. It’s been a long journey to get him sound, happy and healthy, but he’s a very affectionate little guy and a lot of fun to have around.