Last Monday night, it was dark in my friend's family farm. Samar was eating, her newborn son hiding behind her. She was very aggressive, rising her head as high as it can go and pulling her ears backward, a sign of anger and willingness to start a fight. Prepared to attack her owners? It that the mothers' instinct?
I wasn't sure how she would welcome me, I was afraid of approaching her until the next morning. Her son was still next to her but she wasn't so protective in daylight as she was at night. This time she was... uninterested. She let me touch her but wouldn't eat from my hands, maybe she still remembers what was done to her in my presence last time I visited. Or maybe she doesn't recognize me at all. Her life is so much different now; her mom is dead, she has a son, she's been trained in a club, but then she hasn't been "in the game" for over a year, being pregnant then caring for a newborn son...
Again, having me in the farm encouraged the farm owner to put the reigns and the saddle on at least one of the three grow-up horses and get them in the game again.
I helped him clean the dusty saddle and prepare it for the horses.
"Alright, you've been fed, cleaned and protected, you and your children... Tax is due, now." we marched towards them, the saddle in my hands, the reigns in my friend's father's.
Samar was our first choice. She reacted so violently at the sight of us that we didn't dare try to persuade her. We moved to the one next to her. Still the same reaction, it was too hot to "fight" a stubborn horse to submission when we can move to a friendlier one. The third and last choice was yet another female who has a newborn daughter. She was by far the calmest of the lot but she refused to wear the reigns all the same. She also didn't have a rider for over a year.
Her refusal was not as determined as the others so we decided to take our chances. Now forcing a beast five times your weight isn't an easy task, if not for the ear-grabbing trick.
In theory, if you grab a horse's ear, squeeze it and turn it with your hand as much as you can, the horse will get paralyzed and stop resisting(as long as you can keep your grip). Her owner showed me how to do it then he trusted me to hold the ear as long as it takes to prepare her for the ride.