THE MANUAL OF APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR (for your horse)
1 – CHEWING. Make a contribution to the architectural industry … chew on your stall wall, the fence, or any other wooden item.
2 – CHILDREN: Human children require much nurturing in order to develop a health self-ego. Never offer your right-lead canter to an adult rider. However, permit the child the honor of the right lead. Older children may be denied the first one or two canter cues, to prepare them for adulthood. Very young children MUST be given the right lead on the very first try.
3 – DEATH. When one of your best turn-out buddies has gone to the Great Pasture in the Sky, your human attendant will require much comforting, as they fear they will go next. Humans are instinctively afraid of death. Offer your comfort by making deep hacking and wheezing coughs, producing voluminous amounts of phlegm. Your human will be greatly comforted, knowing that he’s not the next to go.
4 – DINING ETIQUETTE. Always pull all of your hay out of the hay rack, especially right after your stall has been cleaned, so you can mix the hay with your fresh bedding. This challenges your human the next time they clean your stall – and we all know how humans love a challenge. (That’s what they said when they bought you as a two-year-old, right?)
5 – DOORS. Any door, even partially open, is always an invitation for you and your human to exercise. Bolt out of the door and trot around, just out of reach of your human, who will frantically run after you. The longer it goes on, the more fun it is for all involved.
6 – FARRIER. The farrier is an object on which you can take out your frustration without danger of limiting your food supply.
7 – FRESH BEDDING. It is perfectly permissible to use the bathroom in the middle of your freshly bedded stall, letting your humans know how much you appreciate their hard work.
8 – GOING FOR TRAIL RIDES. Rules of the road – When out on a trail ride with your owner, never relieve yourself on your own lawn.
9 – GROUND MANNERS. Ground manners are very important to humans. Therefore, break as much of the ground in and around the barn as possible. This lets the ground know who’s boss and impresses your human.
10 – HOLES. Rather than pawing and digging a BIG hole in the middle of the paddock or stall and upsetting your human, dig a bunch of smaller holes all over so they won’t notice. If you arrange a little pile of dirt on one side of each hole, they might think it’s gophers. There are never enough holes in the ground. Strive daily to do your part to correct this problem.
11 – IMPROPER SHOES. Your human attendant will often risk his safety by wearing shoes that might not provide full protection from hazardous ranch situations. You can correct (not punish) this behavior by applying pressure to the unprotected foot. Humans are known to move away from pressure, but only after making loud noises. Keep the pressure applied until your human responds correctly to this cue.
12 – MARRIAGE. Your personal human attendant may also have a spouse, who professes nonequinity. Whenever your attendant brings the non-equus spouse to visit, you are to lavish unimaginable amounts of charm on the non-equus spouse, and more importantly, you must act fearful of your personal human attendant. This process must continue until such time as the non-equus spouse converts to full equinity.
13 – NEIGHING. Because you are a horse, you are expected to neigh. So neigh – a lot. Your owners will be very happy to hear you protecting the barn and communicating with other horses. Especially late at night while they are sleeping safely in their beds. There is no more secure feeling for a human than to keep waking up in the middle of the night and hearing you, “Neigh, neigh, neigh …”
14 – NUZZLING. Always take a BIG drink from your water trough immediately before nuzzling your human. Humans prefer clean muzzles. Be ready to rub your head on the area of your human you just nuzzled to dry it off, as well.
15 – PLAYING. If you lose your footing while frolicking in the paddock, use one of the other horses to absorb your fall, so you don’t injure yourself. Then the other horse will get a visit from the mean ole’ vet, not you!
16 – RAIN. Humans are generally little busy bodies, like beavers, who need to constantly build and modify. During the rain, stick either your head or your hindquarters beyond the reach of your roof. Your human will instinctively (being the stimulus / response creatures that they are) move you to a new stall, and make a new roof for you later.
17 – SHOEING. Humans are creatures driven by instant gratification. After a good foot trimming or shoeing, trot smartly around to show your human how nicely the shoes fit. The next day, drag one foot when you walk, to provide your little busy body with yet another project to work on.
18 – SHOTS. Humans are characteristically nervous when providing veterinary care for you. In order to soothe your human, raise your head, immediately after the injection, turning the lead rope into a handy tool with which you can swing your human. Genetically predisposed, humans are comforted by swinging back and forth on the lead rope, while screaming primeval noises.
19 – STOMPING CATS. When standing on cross-ties, make sure you never – quite – stomp on the barn cat’s tail. It spoils all the fun.
20 – SNORTING. Humans like to be snorted on. Everywhere. It is your duty, as the family horse, to accommodate them.
21 – VISITORS. Quickly determine which guest is afraid of horses. Rock back and forth on the cross-ties, neighing loudly and pawing playfully at this person. If the human back away and starts crying, swish your tail, stamp your feet, and nicker gently to show your concern.