When Caligula became emperor of Rome in March AD 37 all of Rome rejoiced. He was 24 and the son of the much loved general Germanicus. After a serious illness his personality changed completely and he became known as one of Rome's evil emperors. Why am I telling you this?

This is a picture of my horse (Kasim- this is not his registered name). I love him dearly. My husband bought him from the racetrack where he led a hard life. Because of all the steroids they gave him his liver is damaged - so he becomes ill quite easily. My husband once said that each time one of the horses are ill it feels as if his whole world collapses - those of you who have pets will understand this sentiment! The thing with animals is that they cannot tell you that they are not feeling well. With Kasim - I constantly watch his behaviour, check his gums and the white of his eyes (this is the first sign that his liver is acting up again!). He is a gentle giant, loves his stable and his huge paddock. He gets extremely irritated with me if I groom him - he just wants to be left alone and enjoy his freedom from the racetrack! He has four white socks and when I wear a dress with flowers on he always nuzzles me. When we approach the stables in the morning he is the first one who greets us by neighing softly. He once saved me from a serious accident when the new young stallion thought it would be fun to run me down and play with me! Kasim calmly turned and came to stand between me and the young stallion (Xavier - you will meet him one of these days!). He swung his head and pawed the ground with his front leg. Xavier snorted, turned and walked away! Kasim is an old darling and I trust him - which brings me back to Caligula. He may very well have been one of Rome's evil emperors who is known for the fact that his favorite racehorse (Incitatus) lived in a marble stall and that he once declared that he would make Incitatus a senator, even consul! See - Caligula may have been crazy but I firmly believe that anyone who loves animals cannot really be evil, can they? I usually watch my animals closely when I introduce someone new to them - they will immediately tell me whether I should be wary of a person or not. Maybe Caligula felt that he could trust Incitatus and not anyone in the Senate! (It was known that his relations with the Senate were deteriorating and that he dismissed both consuls for treachery!). Horses have that influence over mankind. To me there is nothing more beautiful when Kasim arrogantly lifts his head and tail and show of before the others. It makes me think of Robert Browning who said: "If you get simple beauty, and naught else, you get about the best thing God invents." Have a nice day dear reader.

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