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Thursday, 20 August 2015

Horses I've loved: Possum.

I bought Possum because I loved her face from the moment I saw her.  She looked so sweet, cheesed off and tired.

I do not recommend this as a good reason to buy a horse!  Still, as a keen studier of Linda Tellington-Jones's book on telling horse character from facial features, I must say there was nothing about this head that I didn't love.

And, I did love her.  She was everything this gorgeous head promised she would be: Sweet, intelligent, sensitive, sensible.  She did have a white sclera on her other eye, and this added a note of quirkiness and naughtiness to her temperament that always gave her an interesting complexity too.  One side sweet and soft, the other naughty and impish!

Soft eye:

Naughty eye:

Same horse different sides.  :)

I didn't get her vet-checked, and I should have.  She'd been playing polocrosse for five of her eight years of life, and it had worn her body out.  By the time she was thirteen I had to make the hard decision to let her go due to a bone spur in her knee that no longer allowed her to lock her leg straight (horses need to lock their legs to rest standing up) and for most of her time with me, she wasn't really sound enough for steady riding.

Still, don't you think that sometimes animals (and people) come into your life for their sake, not for yours? Possum had a lovely five years with me, I think. She arrived a standoffish, sore, tired little horse, but she soon cheered up into the most friendly, funny little character you can imagine.

A large part of her conversion to friendliness was due to 'booby scratches'. I'd go out and just hang around with her and give her scritchies, the recommended way to bond with a horse, and her fave was getting the area all round her nipples and inner thighs scratched.  Makes sense when you think about it. They can't reach that area themselves. Must drive them crazy.  

This is Poss having a scritchy.  Check out that top lip wobbling when I get to the booby scratch at the end.  :) 

I did ride her a bit more often at the beginning. First we had to work on lowering her head and stretching her very tight neck muscles to help her learn to relax under saddle.

Clicker training helped with that a lot!

Later, we did some very nice work in a more dressagey frame, but not for long.  A bad combo of a dicky knee that couldn't do much work plus stifle issues that needed her to be fit to stop them being painful, didn't make for a horse you could ride much.

She was a fantastic  little horse to have around the place, though. Safe and gentle.  She got to roam the property here and graze everything, and never did the dogs or herself any harm.

Like a lot of polocrosse horses, she'd spent a lot of time in big paddocks and herds, and I've never known a horse with the herd social skills she had. She loved to be out with other horses, and while no boss horse herself, she would always buddy up with a boss horse so that she was protected and got all the best stuff.  Clever!  Anyway she did love it so much, so I tried to give her lots of time out in paddocks, though when she was here she lived alone. Once she'd been mine for a little while, she always came when I called her, no matter how big the paddock was.

How happy does she look in that second photo?  And check her expression in this pic as opposed to those top pics taken the day I went to see her.

I loved her to bits, even her backside.  :)

The day I sent her to the bridge, it was just me and the vet here at home in her favorite snoozing place. I just couldn't handle having to deal with anyone else that day, or even to have to seem strong for anyone. It was ok and awful, peaceful and terrible at the same time. Worse than dogs and cats, though that's bad enough. I don't think I want to have to do that to a horse again.  Maybe that's one reason why I don't have horses any more.  

Still, I'm glad she was in my life for five years.  She was really special.   My funny, bright, quirky little Poss.




  1. Replies
    1. Thank you very much. These aren't easy to write but it's nice to have somewhere to commemorate my furry loved ones.


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