Baring the ever-dreaded health concerns, I truly love senior animals. There’s just something about an aged dog, cat or horse that tugs on my heartstrings. Perhaps it’s their wisdom that I like, their unflappable demeanor that comes from having weathered life’s ups and downs. As seniors, they know when to respond, what to ignore and they have a good fix on what’s really important. Like elderly people, aged animals have some pretty distinct likes and dislikes and they’re usually not shy about making their feelings known.
Beanie (above) is by all standards a senior equine. He’s 28, which is not ancient by Arabian standards, but he’s certainly well into the golden years of his life. For the most part the Bean is easy to love: he can be patient, wise and he usually shows good common sense in most circumstances. But he can also be cantankerous, fussy and mercurial and he doesn’t have any problems letting the other horses know what he thinks. He may be old, but he demands respect. The picture above was taken in the first few days after Dharla’s arrival. The Bean was willing to share a pile of hay, but Dharla was being cautious all the same. Smart girl!
These two horses have formed a nice bond, but Dharla still gives the Bean the right of way. She likes to hang out with him and you can tell she’s a little hesitant to leave the Bean when Bullet starts to walk down back. Beanie seldom leaves the barnyard anymore, but will stand in the run-in shed and wait for Dharla to return. Sometimes he’ll whinny to her just to let her know he’s waiting. Oddly, he seldom whinnies when I take Dharla out for a ride. Again, I think that in his wisdom he understands the difference between wandering down back to graze and going off to work.
Dharla has definitely taken to the role of lead mare. Obviously, she doesn’t have any competition here, but God help the poor mare who thinks she can come in here and challenge her. I’m pretty sure Dharla would kick some serious horse butt. She’s no weenie, that’s for sure! Thankfully, my three all get along. Sure, there’s some pushing, shoving and tooth and hoof threats from time to time, but generally speaking they all seem to know their place … and Bean’s place is always at the top!