I finally brought The Old Horse, Buddy, back with me, where I can care for him and take pleasure knowing he is close by. I am happy and feeling as if this life change we recently made is complete. We are all here now: Chuck, me, our three dogs and both horses. It is a good feeling.
I made arrangements for Buddy to be picked up and felt excited but totally in control of my emotions, that is until the trailer pulled up and The Old Horse began acting up. Imagine this…a 32 year old horse prancing and neighing because I was leading him away from his girl, Bella! His last week at his Lexington home had been pretty dramatic. Another mare came in to share the pasture with Bella and him. It was more than his maleness could handle. He tried his best to keep the new mare away from Bella, while at the same time he was intrigued with the new female entering his life. What to do?
So he ran around as he had when he was two years old, forgetting that his 32 year old horse legs were full of arthritis, and managed to keep both mares separated. He kept Bella to himself, and still eyed the new mare, deciding if she was to become part of his herd or was a true interloper. For seven days he carried on, losing weight and inflaming his arthritic knees. A rescue was in order.
After arriving at the barn, and enticing him into the barn, I attempted to calm him and wrap his legs for traveling. He was having none of that. He ran circles around me, he neighed loudly, threw his head around, and ignored my presence by pulling on the lead line and testing my muscle strength! I am not as strong as I once was, being old like him, and did not want to fight him, since he would have won by sheer size and strength. I determined that Bella had to be brought in to the barn with Buddy to calm him. Once she was in her stall next to him, he began to relax and allowed me to apply the shipping wraps on his legs.
I remained steady throughout, although I must admit I began to realize my nerves were quite reactive. I was not going to allow this situation to get away from me. Calmness was called for, and calmness was what I brought forth from within. When the trailer arrived, I attached the lead line to his halter and thought to myself that I needed more control. Rather than just the lead line I ran a stud chain over his nose for better control. In the 30 years Buddy has been with me, I may have used the stud chain three times, but I believed for my safety and his mental state, it was necessary now. We walked, kind of, down the lane to the trailer and the van driver took the Old Horse from me and led him into the very spacious trailer. Buddy followed his years of training and went in to the trailer properly with no problems. His journey to his new, and last, home began.
Now my calmness was beginning to waiver as I traveled the one and half hour drive to StoneRidge Stables. Was Buddy’s old body going to handle all this trauma; would he survive another change in his life; would he be able to get over the loss of Bella? Those questions are yet to be answered.
Upon arriving at his new home, he unloaded quietly and immediately began eating grass. He appeared to be okay as we put him in his new stall, eating the hay offered and looking out over the stall door. I relaxed.
By the next morning his week of studly behavior, and the trailer ride, showed their dramatic effects upon him. His arthritic knees and hocks were inflamed, stiff, and locked up. He could barely stand, was definitely in pain, and also experiencing gut pains, probably an ulcer brought on by his frantic behavior last week. The only thing we could do for him was give him Bute, and turn him out in the grassy field to walk about. It was the right decision, as the next day his appetite appeared and he enjoyed his grain, drank lots of water, and did not show gut pains. Of course, the arthritis did not disappear. He walked stiff legged, but he did not hesitate to go out in the pasture with Reo. What happened upon their greeting is another story. Nothing is as simple as we like.