I visit my two horses every week: one is the Old Appaloosa, Buddy, and the other, younger black and white Paint, Reo. They are amazingly different in body type, behavior, age, movement, and their attitude towards me. I truly love them both, as I have stated before. I worry about them, but because of Buddy’s recent move to my friend’s farm, I have found myself less stressed if I don’t see them daily. That is a good feeling. It also allows me to spend time doing this….blogging.
Buddy was shedding so much hair yesterday that my blue jersey was enveloped in white hair. He behavior was much better in the cross-tie, but I think only because he could see his pasture mate, the young Thoroughbred gelding, being lunged outside the barn. But wait, his legs are very swollen above the knee. I felt, prodded, and examined both legs. While the forearms were filled with edema, he was not in pain and did not appear ill in any manner. We sent a picture of the swelling to the veterinarian, and he believes the swelling is from trauma. There are no marks or scrapes, no hair loss, just swelling. Nothing to do for him at this time but worry. He doesn’t appear to be affected at all, especially when we put him back in the pasture with his beloved Bella, the bay Dutch Warmblood mare. I personally think she let him have a good swift kick when he moved his body too close to her, but yet, no marks to indicate that happened.
Buddy has now asserted himself with Bella, and she is moving over when he requests it, that is, ears back, teeth bared, attitude showing. It’s an interesting dynamic to watch. The Old Horse has become the boss. I think the other two have just accepted that the grouchy old white horse is a part of life now, and they’d better listen to him. Perhaps that is how he ended up with swollen forearms.
Reo is, and always has been, in control of his space and been number one in the gelding field. He doesn’t bite, he simply looks at the other geldings and they back off, and if they don’t, his hind end swirls around to let them know enough already. Reo loves food beyond all else. I carry treats in my vest pocket and his goal is to nudge me to dig in that pocket and give him a treat. He low snickers, nudges gently — at first — then pushes. That’s when I have to tell him to behave himself, the treats will come when I’m darn good and ready to give them to him.
Reo appears to be a docile fellow, but he is very reactive to his environment. Yesterday, while lunging him in the indoor arena, another horse walked by the open doors. Reo thought the world was going to attack him, as he backed up, snorted, raised his tail, and showed the whites of his eyes. Of course, the big thoroughbred was wearing an orange, red and yellow striped blanket and looked very “scary.” I laughed out loud at Reo. Afraid of a pretty blanket. (Buddy would simply have looked curiously, and gone about his business.) That is why Reo is so unpredictable. I never know what he’s going to think about his surroundings.
These horses are a major part of my life, but I am trying to allow other aspects of my world to enter. It’s impossible to forget that I’m not young anymore, as my body isn’t as flexible nor agile as it once was. Grooming and simply handling horses takes a toll on my physical being, but my mental state always improves when I’m with them. I can forget the world’s turmoil and simply love. I think horse people get that.