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Posted By Ann

Whenever I hear a person described as ‘behaving like an animal’ I remember Honey who, in spite of suffering the most appalling treatment at the hands of humans always behaved ‘like an animal’ That is with sweetness and gentleness.

This photo was taken when I first bought her and still thought I could train this pretty pony I had fallen for at a horse auction for my children to ride.

It is symptomatic of our colossal superiority complex that we use the expression ‘behaving like an animal’ when a human being behaves extremely badly. Animals simply do not behave like that.

Remembering afterwards how Honey placed each hoof with extreme care, I realised how heavily she must have been doped to get her into the sale ring at all. It was a long time before I realised just some of the brutality this sweet and gentle pony had been subjected to.

I never did get her trained to ride because she freaked out in total panic at any hint of pressure. Whatever her fear and terror she never once did anything to try and hurt another creature. I would look at her sadly in the paddock; she was so pretty with her honey gold and white coat. I thought I would breed a foal from her. And booked her into a stallion. She turned herself over in the horse float and never did get in foal.
She had a slight indentation in her forehead, I wondered how she had got such a dent then one day a year or so after I bought her a visitor was looking round my ponies and donkeys, she stopped when she saw Honey and told me that she knew her and where she came from, and explained the dent, Her breeder, she told me, tied his young ponies behind a moving vehicle to teach them to lead. Some learned and others simply freaked out and got injured. God alone knew what other horrors she had endured before being filled with dope and sent into a horse sale. What a tragedy, what a wonderful pony she could have been given a fair go.


When we gave up the idea of either training her or breeding from her I simply turned her out in the paddock with a group of donkeys. She always liked donkeys, no doubt feeling the healing power of their gentle natures.


I was standing at my kitchen window looking towards this paddock when a sudden and violent Spring storm erupted. Honey and the donkeys were at the other end of the paddock; they came down at high speed to the shelter of the dense macrocarpa hedge. As I looked out I saw to my horror that alone at the far end was a donkey foal, looking miserable in the rain and quite alone. Her mother was in shelter along with the other occupants of the paddock. I was just thinking I would have to don waterproof clothing and see if I could get it in when out from the hedge appeared, not the donkey mother but Honey. She trotted briskly up the paddock to the foal, nudged it with her muzzle and brought it back through the sheets of rain to shelter and its own mother. It was one of the most amazing things I ever saw. Honey was behaving as we like to think humans behave.

Posted By Ann

When I bought a little black and white pony mare with a foal at foot Honey and Magpie became inseparable friends. Each afternoon Magpie would leave her foal in the care of Honey and go off by herself to the far end of the paddock for an hour or so of respite from a demanding foal. Eventually I bought a pony stallion and Honey and Magpie had foals within a week of each other.

Everything seemed to be going well for Honey who was ecstatically happy with her own lovely foal; then she died suddenly of an aneurism.

This was when I witnessed another act of animal caring and love. Magpie stayed by her dying friend and only when she saw she was dead turned away, but when she did she called Honey’s eight-week-old foal and took it with her. From that moment on she treated it as her own, even suckled it. The vet expressed my feelings when he next visited and saw the trio.

‘That little mare is a bloody marvel. ‘ He said, adding thoughtfully  - .how many humans would do that?’

With our supreme egoism we could say that Honey and Magpie both behaved like humans. I think they behaved like animals.

I am sure many of you must have experienced instance of unselfish behaviour in animals, please share them on the blog.

THE POWER OF THE CAT made publication day, Sept. 1st. Available wherever good books are sold or direct from Rec/Ret  $24.95 A wonderful Christmas Gift for cat loving friends or relations – or even yourself!




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