During the many years I have been involved in harness racing, I have watched my own horses, as well as those of others, display some remarkable skills away from their regular work. Regardless of their status on the track, Standardbreds are pretty smart animals and often develop skills and abilities that can amaze even the most seasoned horseperson.
When their chores are done and they are put away for the day, the down time in the stall can seem long to them until morning. So I guess it’s only natural for the more imaginative members of the breed to occupy themselves anyway they can. Some like to play with a handle-ball while others enjoy grabbing nearby coolers and dragging them into the stall. But I have a horse that can top all that.
“Superman” (not the late Michigan trotting sire; the name has been changed to protect the innocent) is a very large trotter with a neck like a giraffe. Despite his size, he is even-tempered and easy to work around. When his interest in our barn cat waned, he developed a new skill that simply amazes me. He likes to take down his feed tub.
Right now you’re probably saying “what’s so special about that?” It’s not what he does; it’s how he does it.
First, he breaks the double-end brass snaps in half that secure the bucket; I am assuming with his teeth. (I have never witnessed the actual feat, only the results of his antics). Then when the bucket hits the ground, he un-bends the round end of the screw eyes that are fastened to the wall (Once again, I assume, with his teeth) until they look like squiggly lines rather than circles.
When you think about the persistence and eye-to-mouth co-ordination needed to do this, especially biting onto and un-bending a three-inch screw eye, it’s pretty remarkable. And then account for how long it took him to figure this out because now he pretty much has a handle on it where it doesn’t seem to be a problem for him to do it.
After viewing the outcome of his night’s folly, I really need to see him in action pulling this stunt off. So I plan to rig up a video camera in his stall overnight to try and capture this crafty equine’s feat and then possibly send it along to Letterman for his “Stupid Pet Tricks” segment.
Whereas my Superman may not be faster than a speeding bullet, he can bend steel in his bare mouth. And who, disguised and a racehorse at a quaint metropolitan race track, fights a never ending battle for post, position and the bulk of the purse.
Now having told you about my genius, I thought you might want to tell me about yours. Do you (or did you) have a horse with an unerring skill whose story you would like to share? If so, drop me a line at email@example.com and fill me in on the details. I will in turn share the stories I get with our readers in this column. And please feel free to include you and your horse’s name, or aliases if you are so inclined, too.
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