Meet Rama: a horse who gives everything he has

The gray horse on the right is Rama, a 24-year-old Arabian gelding and member of the resident herd at All Xena’s Horses.

Rama is bred of generations of champion carriage horses.  Started under saddle at approximately 5 years old by a trainer who beat him severely, Rama still bears scars where he attempted to jump out of a round pen to get away from her.  Following this incident he was deemed “unworkable” and spent several years serving as a best friend to an elderly gentleman before arriving here.

When I met him, Rama had what I delicately call “the crazy.”  He was terrified of women; sudden movements; dogs, cats, and birds; and anything that happened during dawn, dusk, or when the sun or moon were shining.  Turned out all day and most nights, when brought in for food he would slam his body against the stalls, refused to allow a human being near him, and employed a rapid fire, Arabian kick when he felt threatened, which was often.
Over the years a healthy diet that included plenty of B-vitamins from alfalfa and supplements, and the growth of a stable herd around him have enabled Rama to lead a happy life.  He gradually grew into the role of “chief babysitter” to the youngest members of the herd, a position he still holds as he tries valiantly to keep Xena in line.

To this day Rama does not like women, and does not trust easily.  It took me eight weeks of spending at least two hours a day in his company during feedings and barn work, sometimes more, before he allowed me to be within a few feet of him.  Then something happened – what, I can’t say, but one night last week when I opened his stall door, he stood there for a second.  I reached out a cautious hand, and… pet him!

With a single moment of allowance, Rama changed everything.  Now I touch him gently, briefly, every day.  A few days ago he let me hug him, which was such a joyful occasion that I smile every time I think of it, and am sharing the story with you now.

Horses do that, don’t they?  They do not allow instant intimacy, a foreign concept to us in our social media-saturated world.  They do not trust easily, because more often than not, they haven’t always been treated well.   The images of competitors jumping great heights or cowboys exploring beautiful trails are breathtaking and what draw many of us to a horsey life.  But what you don’t yet know when you look at glossy photos, is that when a horse gives, they give everything they have.  Your perfect moment may be full of accolades, or it may be when an old horse lets you touch his ear.  Either way, both ways, every which way – time with a horse is quite an honor.  Enjoy it.  Ride with joy.

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Categories: Horse-Rider Relationship

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