Genes & Personalities

by kfrego

We had a neighbor who kept a shetland pony behind our rental house in Winthrop. Our cousin Cheryl also had one at our grandparents in Raymondville. The horses always drew a lot of attention when there were kids around. Both of these shetland ponies must have inherited some donkey genes from their ancestors. If you had something they could eat they could be very friendly. They could also be very stubborn and mean. Nobody could get along with the neighbors miserable little horse. It would kick, bite, refuse to move, or run away if it had a place to go. Cheryl was able to handle her shetland pretty well, but it often tried her patience too. Most of us kids disliked that little horse as much as he disliked us. We kept our distance and let him have his space.

We moved to a rental farm house. It was owned by a family named Munson who had a large dairy. They had a pinto horse named Queenie. Queenie had a pasture close to our house and we would ride her bareback around the old farm. Two or three of us would ride at once. Queenie would take it all in stride. She was the complete opposite of those shetland ponies. She was always great with small children. She had limits with the older kids. She would veer under a low hanging branch or try to rub your legs up against a tree if she was ready to go home. It wasn’t done maliciously, just a reminder to tell you it was time to go home.

We had a pet goat named Daisy. If anything Daisy had some lamb genes. She would follow us like a little puppy. Regardless of what we were doing outside she would be right in the middle of it. We milked her late every afternoon. When she saw us with the milk pan she would jump on the old outside picnic table and stand patiently while we milked her. Her milk always went straight to the refrigerator. Our whole family enjoyed having her for a pet. We let her run when we played outside, but kept her penned otherwise. She looked too much like a deer and we feared she would get shot.

Munson’s also had a huge angus bull with a bad disposition. He didn’t need any other genes. He had a large ring through his nostrils with a six foot logging chain attached to it. If he ran the chain would get under his front feet and trip him up. It was the only way to control the bull. His pasture was secluded and surrounded by stone walls. We would sneak up to the stone wall and watch him from a distance. He was a magnificent animal. We felt sorry for him. We respected him too.

Animals have personalities and traits inherited from generations of breeding………….like people, they have no control over their genes.