Thursday 12 May 2011

An adventure with some cows

Titch (horse) dislikes cows. I've no idea why, but there it is. Some people are afraid of spiders. It's one of those things.

So there were were, yesterday, moseying along, dreaming (Titch) writing stories (me) when we came to a gate. On the other side of the gate were cows (to the left) and sheep (to the right). So I thought we'd go through the gate and turn rignt. So far, so good.

We got through the gate, and then disaster struck. The cows - young and curious - decided to come and investigate, as cows do. Things proceeded as follows:

Titch: I'm out of here! (Doing his plunging and leaping thing)
Me: They're only cows.
Titch: Yeah. Right. I'm still out of here.
Me: But they're much smaller than you. (They were only heifers.)
Titch: But there are more of them. (True)
Me: But we haven't closed the gate!
Titch: Ooooooh no. Not going near that gate again. It's surrounded by cows. (More plunging and leaping.)
Me: But they'll get out!
Titch: So?

The cows came closer.

Titch: Well, you can come with me if you like, or I'll drop you off on the way, but I'm off!

And we were. We careered up the hill, leaving the gate open, with me praying that horses are faster than cows (they are. Much). I phoned the yard to tell them what had happened, and they sent someone to close the gate (mercifully, the cows were still on the right side, the grass being greener etc etc). Titch was sweating and frightened, all his worse fears having been fully justified, and trembled his way home with an "I told you so" expression on his face.

Meanwhile, I have a problem. There are a lot of cows around here. Hitherto, Titch has tolerated them. Just.

But not any more. So - does anyone know how to cure a horse of an irrational fear of cows? Because with things as they are, we won't be going anwhere far for a long time. Horses have very long memories.


  1. Could he be kept in a field next to a field of cows, so he got used to them?

  2. Cows and horses do not mix well. I'm not sure why but I know my Grandpa would never pasture them together. But Titch's fear is a bit irriational. He just needs to see them more often to realize how much smarter he is. If kept a fence apart, they would get used to each other and Titch would become less afraid. Right now my bother has his two horses in the barnyard with the cattle with a fence between them, just until the pasture has grown. I think they're all getting out to their respective fields today.

    Fun post, Frances.

  3. That was quite funny Frances - thank you. (Though not funny for Titch). I wonder if curing an irrational fear for horses is the same as for us humans - by facing your fears???? Though I can see the problems in trying to convince Titch of the logic in that. Good luck with that one!

  4. Poor Titch! I wonder why he's so scared of cows? Perhaps he had some bad experience as a young foal? HRH Theodora got locked out in a thunderstorm as a kitten (my fault, I still feel awful about it) and now, despite her venerable age, cowers in absolute terror at the first sign of a storm. Hope you can get Titch through that gate again!
    Judy, South Africa

  5. We had a pony who disliked cows, but only those who were the same colour as him. He became very suspicious of them indeed. So we had no problems with black and white cows, but got into difficulties with brown/chestnut ones! It involved some very convoluted planning before setting off.

  6. Diane, sadly Titch doesn't want to face his fears. His is very much a flight rather than fight (or face) approach.

    Judy, I'm sure he had a very happy childhood, not least because great things were expected of him (never to be realised). The bottom line is that horses don't like cows, but he was prepared to tolerate them. Just. Until last week.

    Joanna, I suppose I could paint the cows dark bay (or the horse black and white). Hmmm.

  7. Thanks for that vivid account, Frances - I guess you can say you got your story! Poor Titch - wonder why he dislikes the cows so much? Now there's a story you have to write!

  8. Not sure anyone would buy it , Rosemary!

  9. Hi Frances. Loved the post. I have a Tibetan Spaniel, Lotte, who is fearless. She doesn't understand that at 4.5kg she really is smaller than all the other animals. Her best friend is an Afghan hound.
    So when she escaped one day and ran into a field of cows she thought they were new playmates. Until that it, they started running towards her at which time, she turned and ran back to me.
    Haven't had her near any other cows for a while - wonder if she remembers.

  10. Hi, Judith (I hope you don't mind - I looked up your name as GYED is a bit cumbersome!).

    I think Titch has the opposite problem to your Lotte's; he doesn't realise that he's biggger than most anmials (and at nearly 17 hands, he's pretty big). Inside, he's a shivering little mouse of an animal.