I met Monsue in 1975 or thereabouts, years before I got to know her. I was looking out my kitchen window and to my surprise, I saw a loose horse roaming around in my back yard. I had yet to own a horse of my own so was unfamiliar with their ways. She surveyed my garden, walked straight to my one and only watermelon, bit it open and scooped the contents into her mouth. At first I was not at all happy about the watermelon but I loved watching horses and learning about their behavior. Indeed, I soon found myself thinking that a watermelon was actually a small price to pay for the pleasure of watching this handsome and graceful mare. I called the neighbor who bred Morgan horses, one of which was Monsue, and they came and got her.
Nearly twenty years later - how much changes in twenty years - the neighbors who had bred Morgan horses had gotten a divorce and the horses were dispersed. The lovely young lady who had cared for them had died and Monsue now belonged to the woman who managed our horse farm.
Breeding had become a source of income for our farm and we had four young colts, our “baby boys”. These youngsters thought they were kings of both barn and pasture. A wise horseperson suggested turning an old mare out with them; hence Monsue was “elected” to be their teacher. The first day, the “boys” decided to have some fun with Monsue and started making her move every time she settled down to graze. She avoided them as best she could and went to the far corner of the paddock. Their next move was to gang up on her and start chasing her across the paddock. She was not into running, especially away from raucous “boys”, so she came to a halt, buckled her knees and lay down. She not only lay down but sprawled out like she was dead. The “boys” gathered ‘round, looking at her with HUGE eyes. Gradually, first one and then the other three, got the “it wasn’t me” look and took turns eyeing first her then each other. Soon, one by one, they slunk away looking around as if they were worried someone would see them and they would be in trouble.
Monsue waited a LONG time before she got herself back up and returned to grazing as if nothing had happened.
At the end of the day when all came in for the night and for feed, the “boys” were one, two, three, four, crowded around the door to come in. When I appeared to start bringing them in, however, Monsue hustled over to the door and the “boys” parted a very wide path letting her enter unobstructed. They never offered to chase, bother or get in front of her again.
What a lovely lesson Monsue taught me about passive resistance and its incredible influence on the behavior of those around us. Thank you, Monsue, for your teaching and your kind countenance.