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.

2 Comment(s):
Anne Lindsay said...
What a beautiful story about Honey, and despite her hard early life, the Grace that brought you two together, and enabled her to flourish in her own way, at her own pace. And whilst she made it quite clear that being a biological mother herself was not on her agenda, not if she could help it! ... the tender, nurturing way she instinctively knew how to 'take over' and sweetly shepherd that vulnerable little foal back to safety and its 'mum' to me shows her tender practicality, her ability to know just what to do in a maternal, protective way. I gather from your reaction that this must not have been a typical way for a horse to behave! Esp. I guess towards a non-biological infant, of a slightly different variety of equine creature too?! [being a donkey foal I mean]. Thanks for sharing this event, and of course your love for Honey and all the creatures, both past and present. xx Anne.
October 1, 2009 11:14 PM
Leonora said...
Dear Ann, you are truly a wonderful writer and friend of the animals. Thank you for quoting me in your book regards to Cilla. As you know, I love talking to the animals as much as you love them. Great success to you. Leonora (Pet Medium)
September 10, 2009 9:56 PM
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