May 12, 2005
Buck gets a trim
BUCK As of May 2005 Buck is 26 or 27 years old. That’s about as close as I can get to his age, since he was “15 or 16 years old” according to the guy I bought him from in 1994. In horsey years he’s a grandpa to say the least, and probably the one phrase that describes him best is he’s “a stubborn old fart.” (I say that lovingly though, because he also has the most forgiving heart of any animal I’ve met, and considering his past, it amazes me that he’s at all willing to have anything to do with humans.)
Probably the most noticeable trait Buck shows is his need to reinforce his status as the herd boss; that’s something he’s looking to do EVERY day. Usually he does this in a very cunning and “energy saving” way. For example, he doesn’t waste time chasing the other horses around; it’s too easy for them to foil his plan by separating so he has to choose a single horse to dominate rather than push his whole herd around at once. But don’t worry, Buckman gets his say. I’ve seen this old man lure one of the other two horses into a false sense of ease by letting them share his food or space. He might even let the unsuspecting “sucker” into a small corner, part of his corral, or next to a tree. And then, of course, when they least expect it he turns into a raving “Mr. Hyde/Hulk/Jason” all rolled into one horse. I mean the energy that comes off of Buck when he’s in this mode is so intense I can feel it halfway across the pasture. I actually can feel his physical presence as he does a power thrust of energy. On the receiving end of this I’ve watched Nikki almost scale a chain link fence to get out of Buck’s range. The target horse almost always has a bite mark to show for Buck’s efforts. But this physical “trophy” is hardly Buck’s triumph; it is the total domination and respect that is his true “trophy.”
However, Buck doesn’t always use physical force to get his point across. In fact one of the silliest horse interactions I think I’ve ever seen happened between Buck and BW, and I know Buck left this scenario feeling so proud of himself. It was a sunny day and I had left all 3 horses in the arena to have some fun. It was full of various obstacles like caveletti, jumps, poles, and road cones to name a few. In one particular area there were a couple of barrels and some poles that, next to the fence, had formed a very small space the size of one horse. Of course BW, being the little inquisitive boy that he is, managed to find a way to get between all of this stuff and the fence; he had no room to turn around and was blocked on three sides. Enter the “BUCK-INATOR.”
Normally I’d begin to wander closer to make sure BW wasn’t turned into lunch meat, but on this day Buck didn’t seem to be interested in expending any energy. So instead, he just walked up to BW’s hind end and ever so gently, with his mouth, picked up BW’s tail. I saw Buck maneuver BW’s tail right into the bars (that section of the mouth that doesn’t have teeth.) And there they stood. Then Buck decided to have a little fun and started pulling on BW’s tail, just kind of back and forth. I kept imagining Buck saying; “I’ve got you now you little turkey.” “Why don’t you try backing a couple of steps, uh-oh, I think I’ve changed my mind, now you get to take a step sideways.” “WHAT??!!??” “You don’t mean little ‘ol nice me is hurtin’ your tail do ya?” “I’d never do anything like that!!” Buck carried on leading BW forwards, back, sideways, forwards, back, and sideways for at least 10 minutes. And the funny thing is he had the goofiest look on his face. He had more twinkle in his eye and satisfaction on his face than I think I’ve ever seen from him.
In the meantime we were up on the slope laughing until ours eyes were watering. Poor little Bun Boy was trying like crazy to do the right dance steps until Buck got bored and let him out, which of course happened a few minutes later. Buck dropped BW’s tail and BW slowly backed out of his jail and tiptoed out of there. So there you have a bit of an idea of how Buck thinks. Don’t judge him by this story alone though, because his depth and softness is on an even par with his dominant nature.