Anne and I have 4 horses, all of whom we love to pieces.
There’s Slate, the Big Black 16-year-old Thoroughbred we’ve had since he was a yearling.
There’s Miata, the Very Big 7-year-old Appendix Quarter Horse Anne rides, whom we’ve had since he was a two year old.
There’s Jeb Stuart, the HUGE 8-year-old Painted Quarter Horse I ride, whom we’ve had since he was three years old.
And then there’s Mini-Me, the 10-year-old Painted Pony we rescued from a very abusive situation 2 1/2 years ago.
It’s fascinating to watch this equine family react amongst each other. Miata is the herd clown who loves to mix things up and get the other horses going. For a horse, he’s a veritable genius.
Miata is always into something. He watches everything, and does his best not to let anything pass his eye. And he’s always pushing the envelope.
Besides being really smart for a horse, Miata’s also a delight. He’s happiest when he’s being rubbed, patted, brushed or just close to his people.
Jeb Stuart isn’t a genius. He’s not dumb by any stretch, not even for a horse, but he’s pretty laid back, always waiting for Miata to take the lead. However, on a riding trail, Jeb Stuart is second to none.
He’s extremely strong, very brave, very trusting, and not quick to panic or spook. He prefers not to be cuddled and pampered the way Miata does. But in his own way, he is a magnificent animal.
Then there’s Mini-Me, who spent most of his life in serious misery, fighting with other horses for his survival in the junkyard that passed for their paddock. When Mini-Me was rescued, it took the better part of a year before we were able to really approach him.
And it took longer than a year before he would even look at either Anne or myself in the eye. He had a nervous condition called Stringhalt that made the movements in his back legs very jerky and exaggerated.
But, now that Mini-Me has been with us for a little more than two years, not only does he look us both in the eye, he also demands horse cookies, wants to be hugged, cuddled and kissed. And comes to us the same way you’d expect from a loving dog.
As for the Stringhalt, it’s a thing of the past. For the first time in his being starting 2 ½ years ago, where there was chaos in his life, there is now order.
Slate’s a very special case. He’s not as heavy as Miata or Jeb Stuart, and subsequently doesn’t look as big, but he’s just as tall and VERY formidable.
Slate is the TYPE-A of horses. He’s never relaxed. He’s always focused on something. He constantly paces in his stall, and when the neighbors’ horses are turned out, Slate goes nuts trying to figure how he could incorporate them into HIS herd.
Slate isn’t as smart as Miata. Nor is he as brave and reliable as Jeb Stuart. And other than for his unbridled attachment to Mini-Me, he’s pretty much a cold fish.
But, for any and all of his shortcomings, Slate is probably the most important horse in the herd. He keeps all the horses together and in-line.
Even though the horses are all very companionable, they still compete for everything.
There’s an unmistakable pecking order over which horse gets to dive into the hay first, or take the first, second, third or fourth drink of water, or the first horse-cookie. Or which one gets to be turned out or brought in first, second, third, or last.
And when they compete, it’s not as simple as one pushing the other out of the way. It comes down to kicking and biting where they can and will inflict serious injuries upon each other if they are uncontrolled.
That’s where Slate comes-in.
This little heard of four horses is HIS herd of four horses. He is the uncontested BOSS. He WILL kick and bite any of the other horses, even his beloved Painted Pony Mini-Me, if Mini-Me steps out of line.
None of the horses mess with Slate, because at one time or another when they tried, they paid the price. So, because of Slate, we enjoy a magnificent peace amongst the horses whether they are in the barn, the dirt paddock or several of the pastures.
Everyone in Slate’s herd knows what he can, and cannot get away with. And because of this unequivocal understanding based on the guarantee of swift justice and punishment, the herd gets along in absolute safety and security.
Without Slate, there would be pandemonium. There would be hurt horses, fear and pain within the herd because that’s the way it is when no one is in charge.
I write this story because that’s the way it is with people as well. Without CLEAR rules and people to ENFORCE those rules, we too would live in pandemonium, fear and pain.
That’s what has happened in the Middle East between Israel and Israel’s Arab neighbors.
When Israel’s leadership was under men such as Begin and Shamir, no one messed with Israel. Everyone grudgingly got along. The Palestinians went about their business, staying outside of Israel’s business, and as a result, they did better under Israeli management than any other Arabs in the Middle East.
But all of that changed when Israel decided not to be an enforcer.
It changed in 1993 with Oslo, when the TERRORIST Arafat was resurrected by Clinton and an Israeli peacenik by the name of Yitzchak Rabin, who wanted to be loved by his enemies and the rest of the world, rather than to be feared by his enemies and respected by the rest of the world.
The Middle East lost its enforcer and everything broke down.
Today is a new day for the Middle East because of Avigdor Lieberman, a Russian Immigrant to Israel who is indeed a tough guy. It is Lieberman who holds the balance of power; meaning that whoever wants his support must be willing and ready to be an enforcer.
Every society needs an enforcer. The world needs an enforcer. People need to understand where their parameters begin and end, and the consequences of stepping out of line.
Where Israel has once again found its enforcer, the United States found its conciliator.
Where Israel has found its Slate to keep their paddock safe, the USA no longer has anyone in the paddock to keep its herd safe.
Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov.