Yesterday I visited the Old Horse, Buddy. He finally acknowledged my whistle, and I was pleased to see him begin walking up the small hill to come to the barn. Of course, he only came because the other two horses started up towards the barn, too. By the time Buddy arrived at the gate, he was a slightly winded. I think being on hilly land is good for him, as he must expend more energy and muscle than he did at the boarding facility. His only problem is his anxiety when Bella is not with him. I tried to bring him in to the barn for grooming and pampering, but when he realized Bella was not coming too, he became way too agitated to work with. You’d think after 30 years of me taking care of him, he’d be happy to see me. Apparently not. So, the solution was to bring Bella and Toby in to their stalls, too.
I grabbed their halters from the stall doors, and approached the pasture gate. I am amazed at how much larger they are than Buddy; Bella is of Warmblood breeding, and Toby is a young Thoroughbred. I suppose if people are used to being around those big guys, they don’t get nervous. I assume, over time, I will feel more comfortable handling them. Just reaching up to their very high heads is a stretch for me, and I am not a small woman. Fortunately, they seem to have good manners and do not pull away or drag their handler. However, their size means they take up more room when passing through the gate, and I need to remember to move out of their way. With Buddy, who is not a midget by any means, standing at 15 hands, it’s quite easy to swivel away. Bella, however, takes up a lot of space and I was not prepared to move out of her way quickly enough. I did not get squeezed, but felt a pang of fear as she walked by. I admit, my nerves were not the best at that time, as it was the first time I have taken them out of the field, and my confidence level is not what it was when I was a younger woman. All was well, however, as I did lead them to their stalls without any problems.
Buddy relaxed once Bella was in her stall next to his, and I was able to remove his blanket and start brushing. My gosh, the hair! White hair swirled in the air, into my eyes, stuck on my clothes and my body, and covered the stall floor. (Now I could see how I would look with white hair!) I checked for cuts, tried to remove the dried mud covering his pasterns and lower legs (with some success), and admired how he has gained his weight back and looks so fine for a 32 year old Appaloosa. But then…
He decided he was done being in, and I knew it was time to move them back out to the pasture. He was done with me and my pampering. He was ready to be just a horse again. And I was ready to head out to the other barn to care for my paint horse, Reo.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about Reo.