My husband and I live with a mule, a Navajo pony, and a cattle dog. Coyotes, bobcats, deer and bear also live on our land, all of us existing together in a motley crew of varied species. We coalesce relatively peacefully on our shared piece of Earth.
Chief, the mule is our omniscient eye.
Geronimo, the Navajo pony, is our mystic juvenile delinquent.
Lucky, the cattle dog, is our sensitive princess.
All of us are from questionable heritage.
My husband, Paul, and I consider ourselves members of this gang of mismatched characters. We are all fiercely loyal to each other and tightly connected. In particular, the equines are teaching us a form of emotional intelligence that tends towards subtle refinement.
The Emotional Quotient of equines is integrated and sky-high.
Chief, the mule, looks after Geronimo. Chief is a stoic sage. I suspect he is testing me constantly and I’m probably not up to par. But with Geronimo, he becomes a maestro Marine drill instructor. The princely pony and the stately mule met only 5 months ago, and have become unlikely blood brothers. They have nothing in common from our human point of view. Biologically, they are the same genus, but different species. Chronologically, one is older, the other still a youngster. Emotionally, one is set in his staid ways, the other is a petulant prankster.
In the equine world, they have everything in common. They run with wild joy when they feel good. They rear, bite and kick each other. They eat together after the initial fanfare of Geronimo pinning his ears menacingly at Chief, who ignores him. They stand beneath the stars in alert reverie, side by side, every night. They know they are here and now with each other. They are content and live in real time, savoring the company of the other. Paul and I bask in their orbit.
Hard rains this Spring have made it muddy and wet compared to the usual crystalline air of the arid southwest. Geronimo’s highly-held Arabesque head and raised tail have slumped into wretchedness. Dejected, his nose and tail touch the ground as the rain pelts his hide. Chief, twice his size, stands beside him as a protective wall, his massive body taking the force of the lashing rain. Finally, Chief gently nudges Geronimo’s flank and getting no response, swiftly bites. This effectively mobilizes the sad-sack to be herded up the hill to the shelter. They nestle up quietly beneath the small enclosure, eyes closed and heads bobbing in drowsiness. The only thing constantly moving is one of Chief’s ears, swiveling in auditory awareness. He has a job to do, and he is always on task. He protects Geronimo. His ear is his sword.
We all need a Chief. Paul and I are in awe of his constance and patience. He is our Marine drill instructor of steadfast love and friendship.
Emotional Quotient = E.Q.
Horse (Geronimo) = (G.) Equus (S.) Caballus
Mule (Chief) = (G.) Equus (S.) Asinus
It gets complicated. But who cares? This is Homo Sapiens (B.S.) drivel.