Officer Mack on Horses…
I’ve had a bunch of horses that I’ve gone through. My favorite one is always the one that I’m on now…but Speedy was my first horse, and you always remember your first horse. He was a great little horse. We used to have quarterhorses, now we have draft horses. The quarterhorses were much more agile and would get out and away from ya…I fell off a lot more than I do now. I can remember on Speedy, in Waterfront Park, I was pretty new, and I can remember cantering and looking out at the river because we were cantering sideways, and just thinking, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” But he was a great little horse, and he taught me a lot. They all teach you something.
Horses are like people: they all have different personalities. The most difficult horses we have are ones that may have been spoiled in their past lives, and they’re stubborn, and you ask them to do something and they don’t want to do it and they throw a temper tantrum. They get to be like a three-year-old mentality, and you have to have enough tact to say, ‘we need to fix this, we can’t do this, this is unacceptable.’ But you’re doing it in a way that isn’t going to be harmful to them. They’re emotional animals, that’s what they are—big bundles of emotions on four legs that like to eat.
It’s really weird with a horse—you can be walking down the street, and everything’s fine most days, but today, a little piece of paper flies by and he goes, “that’s gonna eat me.” And certain horses, they’re very much into order.
In the training, we expose them to all sorts of things that they’re not gonna see in the real world. It gets them accustomed to seeing novel items and not having reactions to them. He may not have to ever walk through a plastic curtain, but it’s something that he went through, and nothing happened, and nothing bad came from the experience.