When pears ripen in the fall, I am reminded of a clever grey mare of mine, who had a fondness for the fruit. Gidget and four other horses shared a pasture that was bordered on one side by pear trees. The property had been part of an orchard in the 1920s and by the 1980s, the lofty pear trees had branches that reached far above roadside utility cables.
Gidget and her pasture mates helped themselves to fruit from low-hanging branches and what they found lying on the ground. But one day, when I called them to the barn, Gidget stayed out under the pear trees. She was up and walking and not in distress, but kept looking skyward. When she finally stopped, she raised her head even higher and stretched her neck and back, as if she were standing on tiptoe. Then she grabbed the end of a large branch and pulled it toward the ground.
When she let go, she unleashed a catapult. The branch flew up with such force that pears rained to the ground, where Gidget eagerly awaited the windfall. When she finished that round, she repeated the process. This time I noticed that when she let go of the branch, she kept her head raised high enough to watch the pears fall. By the third time around, I had grabbed my camera and documented the whole procedure.
Now that I have a chance to share the story, I can’t find the photos. It’s the shoemaker and his barefooted family’s syndrome. I have thousands of photos of other people’s horses and few of my own. I did find a shot of Gidget and her filly Good Fortune, however, taken at the same time as the photo I adapted for my logo.
If you have stories and/or photos of your own “clever” horses that you would like to share, you can send them to me at email@example.com