Thursday, November 13, 2008


I was seriously dreading introducing Eli to Chance, a horse with all the social graces of Jack Nicholson in, As Good As it Gets. However, that day had to come. Here are the cliff notes...

Three hours in the barn with a whip: Tiring
One splintered wood divider: An Annoyed Husband
Peace between a stallion and two geldings: Priceless insight on dealing with irritating individuals

Eli continues to amaze me with his manners and quiet, intelligent way of responding to things. Here are three tips from him on handling uncomfortable confrontations.

1. Always be the picture of grace and humility. Even if your enemy doesn't become a friend, your classy ways will annoy him untill he is eventually worn down by your good example.

Eli seems to have no aggressive bones in his studly body. I'm waiting for the "Big Stallion" attitude to show itself but his overtures to Chance upon introduction were polite and amiable. Chance responded by screaming and striking repeatedly. Eli continued to offer his friendship by stretching his neck over the wood fence dividing my two back paddocks and sniffing at Chance. When his short stature prevented him from taking a chunk out of Eli's neck, Chance responded by turning his rear end toward the fence and kicking it to pieces, literally. Just Eli's presense infuriated him and the little horse frequently shook his head, lips pursed in frustration. I decided the safest way to facilitate the two horses making peace would be for Chance to be stalled next to Eli at night. They could sniff between spaces in the wall and over the tops of their stall doors. Hopefully, in time, Chance would accept Eli.

2. Realize there is a time to stop "casting pearls before swine"(or short furry pintos). This is not only biblical, it just makes sense. Let your example shine when your actions/words aren't appreciated.

At some point, Eli decided to stop offering friendship to Chance. Instead he went about his business, lounging in peace and tranquility, just out of reach of Chance's eager teeth. After two days, Chance began to show signs of accepting Eli. Though protective of his space, he stopped the screaming and striking, choosing instead to ignore the handsome intruder. My repaired fence (thanks Honey) is still standing.

3. It's helpful to be Brad Pitt(particularly if your enemy is Danny Devito). You can't go wrong adding classy behavior to studly good looks.

Perhaps these tips from Eli--at least the first two--can help you survive an encounter with a difficult individual.

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