Kentucky Horse Park – Part 1
|I’ll be in my office if you’re looking for me.
Why do you call her Princess? asks my niece, Morgan.
I look down at Miss Euka. Did I just call her that? I ask.
Ah, I realize that, yes this is indeed true. And giving myself a moment to ponder, it comes to me that our petite puppy even responds to her girly-girl nickname. Heh, guess I should be checking that little habit.
I call her Princess, I say. because she walks around with an air of inflated self-entitlement.
Another Euka truism. We have us here a remarkably confident pup and a girl comfortable in her own skin and coat. She steps into every situation with an attitude of one who grants audience to her people.
Whatever y’all were doing before, says Euka. You can stop. I’m here now.
But before you fully form the thought that I’ve created a monster, I want to say that this is not my fault. Wait, no, what I mean is that as a volunteer puppy raiser I would much rather deal with an confident and dominant pup than one with fear issues to overcome. Our Miss Euka has shown us from the very beginning that she is ready to embrace all that life has to offer, hasn’t she?
Bring it on, says Euka. And keep it coming.
Well, so far we’ve taken on shops, restaurants, grocery stores and countless budget meetings in the office. What’s next on the socialization list for this pup in training?
How ’bout horses and lots of ’em? The nieces and I had packed our gear into the Toyota for our annual road trip to the Kentucky Horse Park. And because things are always more interesting when you include a dog, we toss Euka into the back seat to transport her to her first equinotic encounter.
Now I’ve been making this horse park trip for twelve or thirteen years or so and the nieces have been my cohorts for the past few. Aunt Donna’s only rule for the horse park adventure is you must be at least eight years old. Oh, and it helps if you like horses. That one’s not a hard and fast rule, but it seems like you’d have a much better time since Horse is all you’re gonna see, hear and smell for two entire days.
CCI pups are exempt from these rules, of course.* Despite what Euka thinks, she really doesn’t have a say in the decision. Her participation is mandatory, however I will leave it up to her on whether she enjoys the company of horses. Actually, I was pretty darn curious to see how she takes in these noble beasts. Could it be possible that our princess may get an equine assisted attitude adjustment?
I’m thinking we should start small and build up with this horse exposure experience. Let’s just walk around and soak up some sights and smells and Ack, Euka don’t!, I cry. Road apples, those sweet manure treasures, are sending out their siren’s call in wafting waves of sensory temptations. As I redirect Euka’s attention from a steaming hay brownie, a quarter horse with rider passes by on clomping hooves.
Well, so much for starting small. The horse is close enough to touch in his casual pass by. I see Euka give the fella a once over, from hooves to both heads, and pretty much give the scene a dog shrug as she looks back to the delicacy baking on the pavement. I could take him, she says. With one paw tied behind my back. No fur off her back, our brave girl.
|I see you, dog. says the Titan.
I’m your huckleberry.**
In the covered arena, we take a few minutes to watch a drill team of some very skilled young ladies and their gorgeous horses performing in the ring. Euka gets a second row seat to watch the action with perked ears. By second row seat, I mean she’s in a Down at the end of an aisle to enjoy a dog’s eye view of the drill team. I watch her reaction and wonder just what the heck she’s thinking. Four legs on these things, but two heads? They’re running and playing and yet don’t smell like a dog at all. Too big to chew on, but I bet if I grabbed a leg . . .
Even as the riders approach the front row spectators to allow their horses to be patted on their velvet noses, Euka doesn’t move to break her Down. She loses interest after a bit and closes her eyes for a quick not-a-cat nap.
This is good, I think. Let’s bump it up and check out the stables for the event’s guest horses.
As we cruise about we encounter Tennessee Titan, the miniature donkey in all his tyger-spotted glory. Tennessee Titan is a super star of mini donkeys, so I was hoping to get a photo op, but was told he’s not a big fan of dogs. We respect that, of course. Especially since at this point I couldn’t tell you if Euka was a big fan of mini donkeys. I get a quick click of the OK Corral standoff and we move on.
We come across a second photo op with another delightful, and more dog loving, miniature critter. Johnny Rocket and his handler are gracious to allow us a moment of their time. Euka is still brooding over the stuck up donkey and refuses to look at the mini horse, no matter how kind he is. Nobody out-attitudes the princess, it seems.
Oh, and I have to tell you about our run in with the law. See, I shot the sheriff and . . . sorry, that’s going to be a pun so bad even I can’t finish that sentence.
Ok, I took a photo of Lena, the equine half of a mounted patrol team for the Sheriff’s Department. Lena is sixteen and a half hands of Friesian with an attitude of one who does not gladly tolerate fools. My impression of this lady is she is one of the most rock solid horses you’re ever likely to encounter. A chick it would be unwise to piss off, I would think.
Hmm. Oh Euka, I sing. Let’s go meet the Sheriff’s horse. Maybe I’m taking things too fast here, going from mini whinnies to a hardened Friesian. But never being the kind of girl to shy away from a bad decision, we give this a try.
Horse people may notice Lena’s ear posture in this shot. Right? Now look at Euka. Well, as best you can. Our little girl with the Irish tan has gone super-nova into the background. But I think you can get the general goings on here. Another Friesian has just passed by. Lena is reacting to that horse.
And Euka is not. Her posture is relaxed and she is going about her day like this is nothing much more than being in the office, only without air conditioning.
Alrighty, now check out the next shot. Here’s what happens when cocky meets confidence. Lena leans in to meet her new pale canine admirer. Meanwhile Euka is sure the horse is a new entry into her fan base. Give her one of my CCI bookmarks, says Euka to her people. She can read about me on the internet later.
Again, we have a confident posture exhibited by the pup. Ear flaps relaxed, tail down and paws in a casual stance. In fact, you may notice that she has not even moved from her spot from the first photo. Neither in retreat nor in the interest of an excited greeting. Nice.
|Hail there, my tiny pasty friend, says Lena. Well met.
Of course, it helps quite a bit that the girls are so at ease with both horses and dogs. Morgan has the leash, which is transmitting her positive vibes to Euka. All is well in the world, say the leash vibes. Carry on, y’all.
Hang loose for Part II of our Kentucky Horse Park adventures coming soon. I’ll even throw in a drama-filled story from the hotel. It’s a cautionary tale about why you don’t always want to allow folk to pet your service pup in training. Euka’s not the only one needing life lessons here. Sometimes I need a smack in the back of the head.
**Quote from Tombstone (1993) as said by Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer). Best read with a drawling southern accent of sorts in your head.