A woman named Pam Brown once said, "Be wary of the horse with a sense of humor." I've been fortunate to have several equine comedians in my life, but I've noticed--without fail--that they've all gotten "funnier" as they've aged. My oldest horse, 26-year-old Taz, is the perfect example.
Taz came into our lives when he was 12 and from day one, he's certainly had a sense of humor. Just a few examples from our past include him opening the door connecting the barn and his pasture and "redecorating" and leaving before he got caught; planting a hoof on your foot before looking you straight in the eye and clearly saying, "Look at that! What are you going to do now?"; and repeatedly reaching for the bit while being groomed and tacked up, but clamping his mouth shut when it's actually time to put on the bridle.
Even at 26, Taz is always in the mood for a practical joke!
While he still pulls these "juvenile" comedic stunts on occasions--the last one, every time he goes for a ride, in fact--I firmly believe he's gotten wittier in his prank selection.
Case in point: When we first got barn cats a few years ago Taz, then in his late teens or early 20s, quite enjoyed smelling them and even snuggling with them on occasions. But recently, he's started "gently nudging" the unsuspecting felines off whatever ledge they're sitting on, be it his stall wall or the fence rails. The cats, unharmed and apparently unphased, return to their ledges, only to be removed again the next time Taz catches them there.
Another instance clearly took more thought that just stepping on a toe or opening a door. While four of the five horses residing at my parents' farm come running for breakfast daily, Taz prefers a personal invitation, of sorts, and generally waits for my father to come retrieve him in the mornings. While walking in we let Taz pick his own route, as his balance isn't what it used to be and he knows better than we do what ground is easiest for him to walk on, especially in the dark. One recent morning, Taz was being very definitive about his route, my father told me. He was so definitive, in fact, that he walked my father--in the early morning darkness--directly into the hay feeder sitting in the middle of the pasture while he continued on to the barn. Laughing (and presumably unharmed, except perhaps for his pride a bit) my father untangled himself from the hay rack and continued into the barn to find Taz waiting impatiently for his stall door to be opened.
And sometimes, Taz just picks the perfect time to do something, thus setting up a priceless coincidence. Just this morning, in fact, my father sent me an email recanting an experience he had the night before.
"Taz pulled another of those coincidental timing things last night that was perfect," he wrote. "I always let him out of his stall last. I've started putting some hay for him and Jessie (his long-time pasture mate), and I knew if he hung around in the run in too long a certain someone (i.e., Jessie) would eat the hay.
"So I patted him on the rump and told him to go outside, which is always his cue to walk out to the pasture," he continued. "Nothing."
"I start cleaning the stalls (a section of the barn makes up the run in) and keep talking to him; I could tell he was listening by watching his ears," he continued. "I kept saying 'Go on,' and 'go outside,' etc., but he just stood there.
"I finally say 'Taz, there is hay outside, Jessie is an Appy, and you know what that means...she's going to eat all the hay!" He instantly took off out of the run in. I was in hysterics... I swear he understands English!"
We all firmly believe Taz has a sense of humor and, while it sometimes comes back to haunt us, we wouldn't have it any other way.
Does your senior horse have a sense of humor? What tricks or jokes has he pulled on you? Share your stories below!