A Walk With Julian
Julian has been with us for over half a year now and is doing very well. He loves all the space and his social group, and actually grazing fulltime! He also loves discovering new things in this world. That's why he is always looking around at this and that, and going up the tracks a fair way by himself, and further if his friends come along.
It's also why he followed Sunsmart and me up the central sand track a few weeks ago when we were riding - with Chasseur in tow. A noise at the end of our track startled them so they ran back that time. Ongoing readers of this journal will know that he followed me up the track recently when I was going to the horse graves with flower seeds: https://www.horseforum.com/member-jo...post1970562513
He's constantly coming up to us to check out what we are doing when we are outdoors. Here, the donkey girls decided to join in:
So this is a photo of an ambidextrous, simultaneous ear scratch for Julian and Mary Lou, with Sparkle saying, "I'm here, what about me?" and the dog hovering jealously in the background - sometimes you'd have to be an octopus...
We have a long weekend this week, and this lovely sunny morning, Brett and I were embarking on a walk around the farm trails with our dog, when Julian intercepted us with interest and exchanged pleasantries. On the spur of the moment, we decided to take him with us. I just clipped him onto the dog lead and off we all went, up the central sand track into our bushland reserve, and I was explaining to him that today he'd get to see the very end of the track, and the secret meadow there near the gates, and then we'd take him around the swamp track, which he'd never seen before, and then he'd know where these tracks led and how to get back to the pasture, for any private jaunts around the place he might be planning.
The donkeys do it all the time, but the horses haven't gone right around to the back of the property and around the swamp since my Arabian mare died. Julian, however, has been very interested in the tracks, and on several occasions has led at least one friend nearly to the back gate before coming back the same way, presumably because his best friend Chasseur is too chicken to want to explore where all these bogeymen surely live in the bush.
Julian himself was an unflappable yearling, and when he was a young horse in racehorse training, the first time he saw an emu, he tried to race it down the training track (where it happened to be running too) instead of spooking away from it, and that was always his standard reaction. I co-educated him in long-reining and cart breaking, and later strapped him for races, when back visiting at my parents' place on holidays or weekends. I even picked out his name, simply because it was such a logical suggestion that it just stuck: Classic Juliet's son, and Romeo's nephew, simply had to be Classic Julian. And after all, Julian Lennon's Salt Water
was getting a fair bit of airplay back then, so that kept this lovely name floating in the foreground of the names memory.
Names had been a bit of a sore point. My parents had named a mare Teen Force, for goodness' sake, like some kind of 1970s adolescent superhero gang, or a teenage boy band. And ridiculously, their most successful horse, a lovely chestnut stallion whom I refer to as Chip, they registered as More Chips. But then, Australian Standardbred names are often nothing to write home about; they are frequently mis-spelt homophones or weak puns, like Hezavillain, or, from a current race programme, Tellmetoattack, Ella Gant Player, Gotta Xcellerate, and Hy Leexciting - have you ever heard so much tripe not coming from a parliament? Has it never occurred to these people that horses are beautiful creatures and shouldn't be stuck with such tacky monikers? That they deserve real
names, not the best efforts of a drunk Scrabble party for people who failed spelling?
So anyway, Julian came walking with us today, and he's such a good horse - walked along exactly next to me, no pressure on the lead at any point, calm and companionable and very interested in his surroundings. It reminded me of the times I led him around the warm-up track at the races, which is what I used to do when he came off the horse float and needed to stretch his legs for a bit before tacking up for the race. I was there the weekend he won his first race, at his second start. I actually am not a fan of horse racing in general, I like more complex and communicating equestrian pursuits rather than just going around a track as fast as possible, which seems such a hamster wheel to me. But I love the horses, and Julian was and is no exception.
Julian is just such a pleasure to work with, and so interested in working, so we have decided to take him along regularly now, twice a week at least, when we walk the dog. He enjoyed his discovery tour today, and when we came out on the Middle Meadow from the swamp track, and he knew where he was again, I unclipped him, and he was aware that I had, but he just kept walking with us, dropping his head to graze every now and then while we waited in the sunshine keeping him company. That's what he does, if there are people he doesn't run straight back to the herd, even though he is herd leader and really loves his best buddy, and likes all the others in the horse-donkey group.
I'm playing with the idea of saddle training him; that's no big deal with an ex-harness horse who's been there, done that, and I think he would enjoy the outings. Only thing is, I don't have time/energy to ride two horses really. Maybe I could if I got up earlier. Anyway, taking him on regular walking tours of the surrounding areas will be an excellent start.
I'm so glad he is not alone in this sand hole anymore:
Now he's got grass and space and friends all the time.
And I'm so glad about that.
I don't know if many people understand the sheer pleasure of just having horses around
, that's not dependent on riding them or winning prizes. I do love to ride, but love having them around even more, sharing our space.