onies. The Napoleons of the horse world. We squeal and squee at them, but there’s mischief between those adorable little ears.
I recently went to my friend Zeb Fry’s Little Kentucky Farm in Georgia to do a photoshoot for a Noëlle Floyd article. The challenge: capture an engaging photo of a horse eating hay. Sounds simple right? All we needed was sunshine, a halter, and a mouthful of hay. Zeb’s big gray gelding Louis wasn’t showing the enthusiasm for his snack that we hoped for, so we thought how clever we were to grab the pony, Whinny. Surely he would give us the gusto we sought. He did indeed, but he channeled his energy in the wrong direction.
Zeb found Whinny at Save the Horses, a rescue organization in Cherokee County, Georgia. She got him as a companion animal, and he soon ruled the roost, bossing the big horses around, stamping out his demands for a second breakfast (and make it snappy!), and sneering at passersby when they produce no treats. He’s a little sentinel. I could just see him standing at the gates of a great castle bravely interrogating mounted knights towering above him. “What’s the password?” he’d insist, knowing full well there wasn’t one.
Outside the barn, we looped a lead rope around Whinny’s neck, offered him a heaping handful of delicious, pungent alfalfa, and I started snapping away with my camera. But the images weren’t coming out like I hoped.
In his glee, Whinny flung his head up and down, sending bits of hay floating away on the wind. His antics made it impossible to focus the camera, and Zeb’s body blurred in the frame as she tried to wrangle the pony. All you have to do is eat hay, Whinny! Just stand there and eat hay!
But it was no use. Tired of the game, Whinny, with long strands of roughage clinched in his teeth, turned tail, drug Zeb a few feet down the fenceline, and was off.
"I'm bored. I'm leaving."
"Best day everrr!"
She turned and looked at me, laughing. “And that’s why I installed a second gate. Last time he did this, he put hoof prints in the lawn by the house.” We continued giggling as we walked after Whinny, who would trot a few steps, snag a mouthful of grass, and be off again.
"I only let you catch me. This isn't the last you'll see of Whinny!"
We ended up using Louis’s snapshots after all.
Read this next: Should I Be Worried About a Hay Shortage?
Photography by Leslie Threlkeld for NoelleFloyd.com.