Horses, Donkeys and emotions

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In JAM, the emotions between Mary and the horses are an important part of the story. I may have stretched what Mary can do regarding horses and emotions, but there is emotion in horses and all animals.

Horses by nature are social animals. They live in groups and have a pecking order from the most dominant to the least dominant. Horses develop bonds of friendship just as people do. Some horses cannot get along with other horses and will defend their friends fiercely. When a herd member dies, the entire herd grieves. They will spend time with the body before moving on or the body is removed.

I have witnessed this first hand. In the past year and a half, two horses I knew passed on due to colic and old age. When the first when died, it was late at night, so we had to wait until the next morning for the trailer to come pick up the remains for burial. All night, the other two horses and two donkeys kept vigil over the body. The horse, the deceased’s BFF even tried to stand on him and over him to get him up.

A year later, that horse passed away. Even before he passed, my horse would stay close to him and sniff his belly and hind end. Whenever a horse is sick or not feeling well, my horse will stay close to keep them company. I believe horses can sense something that we cannot. They seemed to know and were trying in their own way to say goodbye.

That was only a few months ago. Yesterday, the remaining two horses and both donkeys had their annual vaccations. After the donkeys had their shots, they wanted nothing to do with humans around them for the rest of the day. They were mad at us for making them go through that.

The horses handled the shots better than the donkeys and had no anger towards us. My horse, Blaze needed to have his teeth filed down. Horses teeth continue to grow and domesticated horses need to have dental work done once a year to prevent their teeth from growing and making eating and wearing bits difficult. In order to do it safely, horses are sedated. Just enough to make them drowsy.

Afterwards, Blaze stood around occasionally moving, until the sedation wore off. During that time, one of the donkeys, Husker came over to check on him. (See pics below.)

One night I was there late and a found Blaze and Husker lying down side by side. So I snapped a picture. (See pics below)

So while writing JAM, I used these elements to develop the characters of Ghost and Sampson. Those two horses bonded with each other and Mary. Ghost bonded strongly with Mary and that bond is evident in the story.