Stanley was a spunky little dude, who I kind of feel got a bit of a raw deal from me. He was an inquisitive, bold, in your face type guy, who was a delight to have around, if you like that sort of thing. Keen to learn, a very quick thinker, but with an attention span that would give a goldfish a run for its money. He was very friendly, smelled anything he could get his nose near, and desperately wanted to be someone’s best friend. 

Unfortunately that is not what I was needing in a horse. Stanley was specifically bred to be a member of my team, working in single and be a pair for Boris. 

We commenced training, with all the basics, leading, tying, outings, then moved on the accepting the bit, pulling a tyre and being backed. While he did do mostly what was asked, it always came with a question, a quirk or a challenge. Then he would loose focus and the training session was over. He had a very quick reaction to things, and needed to know everything that was going on around him. 

Being five, incredibly immature, standing around 16hh and 700kgs, a quick reaction and short attention span were not appealing qualities to me. He also had a very blatant disregard for fencing. Understanding his own weight, he soon worked out that leaning on the wooden rails, they would perhaps just move. When they didn’t, he would just start eating them, until they were weak enough to fall apart. Electric would fix it! I thought eagerly. Well it did for a while. Until he realised that if he pulled the earth wire off, the zappy fence was no longer zappy. 

Given his amazing brain, I felt he would love to do some trick training. He did indeed. Two sessions of clicker training with an instructor and he was standing on a raised tyre, touching the target, bowing his head. He really did seem to just get it. Unfortunately for him, my time and priorities meant I just couldn’t spend the time on this as I would have liked to. 

Due to his ability to get out of fences, when we wanted to go on holiday, I always tried to take him to a friend’s agistment property, with four strand electric fencing, just to make it a bit easier for my house sitter. On one of his visits here, he won the heart of his fairy godmother. It was love at first sight, with a friend of the agistment owner seeing something no one else could see, in the little ugly duckling. Stanley loved her back, and it was eye watering to see how besotted they were with each other. Stanley just did that. He would pick a person, and just annoy them until they loved him. 

Maybe this is why I never felt like we would get on. I think Stanley spent most of his life in Boris’s shadow. I was smitten with Boris. He was perfect in my eyes, and I couldn’t see past the rose coloured glasses. Boris was always accepting of things I asked, Stanley always needed to question.

Another annoying thing, is his piss pot. Stanley had this thing, where he would always pee in the same spot, right next to where he would drop lots of hay from the round bale. The resulting ground turned into a disgusting, smelly, fly ridden piss pot. He would make sure to spread it around, so it made slush across the entire gateway. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve nearly gagged, as I didn’t realise there was a hole in my boot as I was walking through, and it filled up with horse pee slush. Or when he’d emptied his water trough to make the piss pot even more slushy, and it would be like quick sand, and the piss mud would gush in from over the top. Yeah… I won’t miss that.

I always had a feeling that Stanley wasn’t going to make a great harness horse, and when Boris started to demonstrate that he didn’t share my enthusiasm for carriage work, I just felt my time and energy and emotion would be wasted trying to go through the same process with Stanley, so made the decision to find him a different future. 

Yes I could have put more work and training in to him, to raise his selling price, but same as Boris, I emotionally just needed to close that chapter. 

He found an amazing home, in which he is already flourishing. He is somebody’s number one, just what he wanted. I look at photos of him, and feel like he is the one I let get away, but at the same time I have to remind myself that he didn’t want to play my game. He is now broken to saddle, and is reportedly quite lovely to ride. It makes me so happy to see the little horse, who I couldn’t find the love for, absolutely in his perfect place.

One Response

  1. He sounds like my 6 year old Son 💙🤣
    Well articulated!!!
    “Unfortunately” the Law, Morals & Parenting Responsibilities won’t allow me to sell him …. But ultimately & gratefully I do love him unconditionally but have School & Supports to help.
    Stanley & his new Person look extremely happy so it was best for everyone. A horse with ADHD, ODD, PDA etc etc would be totally unmanageable as you experienced when he needs to work with others.
    Onwards & upwards for everyone.

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