I regularly halter one of our equines for a stroll up our road less traveled. The traffic is minimal to non-existent, except when a cumbersome water hauling contraption slowly passes, giving wide berth to human and horse. Yesterday, I haltered Chief for our walk. He put his massive head down and in his rhythmic, work mode gait, we started up the road. I was in tandem beside him, absorbing the emanation of his calm discipline. We were in reverie together.
This was abruptly shattered by a tiny, zippy scooter zoom-zooming offensively close. To put this in context, an event like this would be analogous to a hairy tarantula falling from the sky onto your nose, obscuring your vision and jumpstarting a heart attack. It was a rude and horrid shock to Chief.
Eyes rolling back in abject terror, he threw his head and danced on his back legs, striking the air with his front hooves (very undignified mule behavior that is usually reserved for “horse hysteria”). This is the same mule who calmly watches our resident cougar stalk the fence line. Chief stares her down with his look of don’t even think about sly feline crouching-lunging moves. She ignores his intense vibe and slinks along her route, tracking deer. She knows Chief is watching, he knows she knows, and the uneasy status quo stays buttoned-down and tidy. Chief is our Protective Sentinel. We all go blithely about our day, knowing Chief always knows where she is.