The stall next to me wasn’t empty for long. A day or two after the Spanish horses left for their new home in Nova Scotia (see November 9th post), Louis, our Canadian horse, appeared next door. He likes to live outside in the big pasture, so I hadn’t seen him for a while. He was looking exceptionally grumpy.
“Merde,” I heard him curse under his breath. He was avoiding me, trying to get to the far side of his stall, but every time he put his left front foot on the ground his leg buckled from pain. I pretended not to notice, and stuck my head in my feed bucket. There’s nothing a tough guy like Louis hates more than letting his vulnerability show.
As I chewed my dinner, I considered – not for the first time – how unfair it was that Louis could swear in a different language. French no less. They’re descended from French horses, the Canadians (although it looks suspiciously like some Friesians managed to dive into the gene pool as well), and they’ve hung onto their language through the centuries. Smart critters. Most of the Friesians I know who were born in North America like me don’t know a lick of Dutch, and those who were born in Holland (like Wilby) don't take advantage of it much. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve begged him to teach me some Dutch swear-words. But goody-two-shoes won’t do it. Claims he doesn’t know any. Ha! I don’t believe him. But Louis? It’s crisse de calisse this and tabarnak that. I have no idea what it means, but it all just sounds so awesome!
It’s a good thing humans can’t understand him, though, because Louis likes to use those mellifluous cuss words of his, and that could be a problem since he works in Lil’s therapeutic riding lessons. We don’t need any little kids taking interesting new words with them to school the day after their ride!
Louis’s a tough guy. Undisputed boss of the herd he usually lives with, and never mind that all the other horses are a hand or two taller. But he should have remembered there’s one horse he can’t mess with. When Lil put him out with us once his leg got better (she still wanted him in at night until he was 100%), the fool tried to challenge Wilby for some hay first morning out with us, and now he’s limping on his right front, way more than he’d been limping on his left. Lil’s losing her mind. Evidently his macho got the better of his intellect. And he’s back on stall rest, which makes him extra angry. Doesn’t Lil realize he’s meant to live outdoors like his ancestors? The little horses who worked the farm, pulled the family carriage to church on Sunday and even did a little racing, dragged logs out of the bush, and got turned loose in that bush to fend for themselves for months on end when they weren’t needed? Is she trying to make him soft by sticking him in a stall?
But at least he’s starting to talk to me a little after we’ve had our dinner every night. I like his stories. I’ll share some with you. And maybe, just maybe, I can get him to teach me some French.