Bob would enjoy eating like a horse

Bob would enjoy eating like a horse by Bob Karolevitz Our miniature horses � Foxy and Matty � like mulberries.

When we let them out of their corral in the evening for a free run of the farmyard, they immediately head for their favorite tree.

Deftly they feed on the ripe berries which the South Dakota wind has shaken loose during the day. They pick each one up individually, and I think they savor the taste.

It's their dessert, I guess, after a meal of dry oats and a daily clump of hay. They don't worry about the purple stains which mar my fingers when I pick my annual bowlful.

Admittedly, I'm not a horse-lover like Phyllis is, but there is one thing about them that fascinates me.

I love to watch them eat!

I can stand for hours � at least it seems that way ��mesmerized by the way they pick things up with their velvety muzzles. You'd think that with a big head like that their eating habits would be less than delicate, but they are not.

Elephants with their monstrous trunks do the same thing, they tell me.

When our tiny steeds graze in the yard or pasture, they only take the good stuff. I watch them reject a weed which must taste bad while they nip a mouthful of clover. If they do accidentally pick up something they don't like, they just spit it out with no fuss or grimace.

Horses are not like cows who can ingest nails, bolts and bits of barbed wire as they gobble up grass in the fencelines. That's why some of them are made to swallow tiny magnets which concentrate all that ferrous junk in one of their stomachs.

I'll bet you didn't know that!

In late summer I feed our horses windfall apples from our little orchard, and once again I stand in amazement as they bite into each one like some sort of ambrosia.

They take their time, like they were dining out. I sometimes think they would like a glass of wine to go with their meal � but I haven't stooped to that yet. Besides that, I don't know whether it should be red or white.

They don't gulp down their food like Maggie, our dog, does. You can almost see in their big brown eyes that eating is a treat to be enjoyed. They don't seem to be bolting their victuals just to satisfy health needs, but to relish them.

It's fun to watch our horses eat corn on the cob. They pick off the kernels and leave the cob untouched. Oh, they spill a little bit in the process, but then they pick up each grain like they do mulberries.

I try not to let Phyllis see me as I am spellbound by their gustatory antics. She might get the wrong idea and think that I REALLY like them.

I wouldn't want to change my image � but then horses are kind of cute if you don't have to ride them.

© 2002 Robert F. Karolevitz

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