Friday felt like Christmas eve. Only I knew what my present was.
I woke up Saturday nervous and anxious. I kept thinking about how if I'm this nervous about bringing a 900 lb horse home, what'll it be like with a 9 lb baby?!
I barely choked down a piece of toast and then headed to the barn. The air was silent. I struggled to find words to even keep conversation with my best friend; I struggled with the mix of guilt and joy that went through me. I was leaving her place for the summer, but I was taking my boy home.
|Pony home <3 (And that weird brown patch is where our wedding dance floor was!)|
I gave him a bit of a grooming. Put his shipping boots on. H wanted to load him because she was worried about me getting bumped while pregnant. So I worked the back end. She did amazing with him. At first he was obstinate and kept turning sideways to the trailer door and refusing to budge. But after maybe 5 tries she got his front feet in. Then he touched the roof once, but she got him back in and stepped up nice into the trailer. I was sooo proud <3 I put the bum chain up and closed the door, and was thrilled to see him loaded in my trailer. I worked so hard to refinish it years ago, and this was his first real trip in it!
H told me to drive, so I hopped in the cab, and almost started crying when I unwrapped the little gift she had left me on the steering wheel. "I love you to the MOON and back" read the little sign <3 I love her.
But I had to drive, so I compartmentalized and headed out. It was a slow drive, and I swear I only got up to 80 km/hr once, but we made it. I stopped in front of our house and H unloaded him. He came nicely out of the trailer too. We walked him out back together and I let him loose in a big field of brown grass.
|Paddock A; grass is still brown|
That afternoon we did more work on his shelter, putting the roof sheathing on and adding the support braces. My husband kept laughing because I'd be off gazing at my pony instead of helping with the build lol.
Moon took a few canters and gallops around when I first let him out, and then settled to eating. He pooped, rolled, peed and drank water. Seemed content enough.
That evening I went out with the quad (we have 15 acres that's a 1/2 mile deep; our pasture is the back 5 acres, and the front 10 is all trees...so can't see the horse from the house and it's a five minute walk to get back there). Moon had unfortunately developed Scratches, also known as Mud Fever on one pastern, and his leg was stocked up when I loaded him on the trailer earlier in the day. He also had a bit of a hitch in his step.
So I led him back to the house using the quad!! I couldn't believe how awesome he was about it! Walk and trot!
Then I cold hosed his leg, which had already gone down about 50%. The scratches is a decent patch, and I'm gonna try to get some ointment for it today or tomorrow. The only thing I've done in the past with other horses is furacin sweats, but I'm not even sure where to buy furacin and if it really worked.
I also started treating his bad tooth with the mouth wash, so hopefully that clears up with regular washes. Saturday we also dewormed, so here's to a worm free pony!
I went with my "go to" mixture for injuries for now...Bactine!! And a side of BlueKote since it's anti-fungal :) That covers both infection types!
I'm hoping as well that the dry paddock he's in now will help cure it as well. Where he came from is a lower area, and while they have WAY nicer grass because they get more moisture, it also means the ground is wetter in the spring. There is seriously no winning.
After I treated Moon I put him back out in the field. I couldn't believe the way he walked and trotted around with me without any halter or lead rope. It was amazing. I feel like already, our bond is really coming through. We need each other. I love it.
Sunday morning after breakfast I headed back out to the field with hubs and we finished fencing in around the shelter. Then I put up some temporary cross members to keep him out of my "tack" area. It'll eventually be a proper room.
|Makeshift tack area :)|
For now, I hung up his blanket and his grooming kit :) And a lunge line and while. The essentials.
Then I let him into that area, and fed him from his bucket in the shelter. You could tell that he wasn't totally in love with the new space and a little scared of the shelter. He did enjoy the cool water out of his new big trough that H got us for Christmas <3 We set up the water tote beside it, and I just need to add the eavestrough to the shelter to collect rain water :) I put the trough in the shade behind the shelter so it wouldn't get hot and gross for him hopefully.
|Not quite in love with his shelter yet...love how he's keeping one leg out of it ;)|
Then I lunged him a bit, which was fun. I need to clear some of the rock piles left from our wedding still, and you can totally see where our dance floor was!
|He's almost floating in this picture!! <3 Even with the sore leg.|
|Such a good boy.|
I found three woodticks crawling on him so chucked them off too. Tonight I'm going to try his fly mask, so they're not in his eyes and ears, and to keep his pretty white nose from sunburning again.
I spent probably 30 minutes just watching him. He grazed. He tossed his hay bale around a bit. He went for a roll. Peed. Pooped (I need to buy a muck fork to start cleaning up after him!). Looked off into the distance. He called once when the neighbour's donkey was breying.
|Going for a roll in the "sacrifice paddock"|
Checked on him again this morning and he looked fine. Still alive anyway. Hubs told me to go give him a pet, and he came right up to the fence for me. When I got back in the car, my husband smiled and looked at me. "You two have something special" he said smiling at me with this look in his eyes like he really understood.
We do. <3 6 years. Countless miles. Adventures. Harrowing experiences. Challenges. He's my boy.
Tonight I hope to actually saddle up and go for a ride down the property!! :D I can't wait! To think I could even squeeze it in before supper! :P
|Our beautiful shelter; I even put the sign that hung on our wedding podium up :)|
Okay, so one other thing. A lot less exciting.
I'm feeling guilty. I've had so many people comment on if Moon is "lonely". Why I brought him home when he's a herd animal. If he's scared. Alone. Misses having friends. I honestly spent hours just watching him this weekend, wondering if I made a selfish move.
Moon doesn't know about how much easier it is for me to see him when he's this close. He doesn't really care that I feed him 7 days a week now instead of one. He doesn't understand that this move means I probably get to ride him two or three nights a week. He doesn't understand that it means I'll actually probably see him once our baby is born, and the weeks right before hand.
He just knows that he's somewhere else.
I moved him for me. I guess I appreciate that he's out on pasture a little earlier, but I also know it's not as nice of pasture. He's going from really nice green grass, to my dry uncared for prairie. It's an old cattle field that hasn't seen hooves in years. I really hope to improve it every year, but it's not as nice as where he came from. Though again, I appreciate that he's out of the mud while his scratches heal.
I don't know. I googled "How to tell if a horse alone is stressed", and couldn't believe the number of people who said it was cruel. Selfish. Inhumane. Terrible. Should never be done.
I try not to humanize him, but sometimes I think Moon's an introvert. Just like humans, yes, they're creatures that are social. But I could honestly spend a week puttering around home totally content without seeing another face. Hubs is the same way. Sometimes I think Moon is the same. And every day I'll see him. And in a few weeks we'll add some chickens to the mix. We have deer and birds and squirrels. He's got sunshine and green grass (and brown grass) and cold fresh water. A shelter with shade and rain protection. Dust to roll around in.
He's not running fence lines. He's not calling.
I know when I've moved him before, he's run the fence. I know separated from the herd at H's, he's run and run and run that fence line. He hasn't done that. I can tell he's started to make a track along the fence line, but he seems to wander up and down it as he grazes. He's alert, but he's also in a brand new place. I'd expect him to be alert.
I know that he comes to see when when I walk up to the fence. But he won't come up to anyone else in my family. My dad even tried holding treats out and he couldn't be bothered with him. But when I show up he comes sauntering right over to me for scratches. And I *never* bring him treats.
Is it possible that my horse really does have a personality like me?? I mean, I've been totally content when out with friends, to camp alone in my own little tent. I like my space. My chance to putter and do my own thing and feel free. Am I projecting onto my horse based on what I want, or is there a chance that he really doesn't need a big social circle to be happy? That him and I, we're friends, so he comes to visit, but everyone else? Meh?
He called only when the neighbour's donkey was breying, and I think I told myself that was more like a "What?" when he heard him, then an actual "I miss horses!" scream.
I don't know. The only world says I'm a cruel person. Hubs thinks the horse looks content. I worry if I'm a great big jerk. Everyone else I know went out and got a 2nd (or third) horse as soon as they brought their horse home. Am I mean? Am I making him suffer? Is this torture? Is he falling apart inside??
How do I know?? His poop is normal and plentiful. He's grazing and eating hay. He's drinking water and peeing. He's rolling. He's listening great on a lunge, and behind the quad and seems almost even more easy to work with. He's had a few good gallops to stretch his legs, but then just wanders about. He's not pacing. He's got scratches, but it's not caused by stress here at home (I know stress can weaken immune systems and in turn make them more susceptible). Tonight I'll see what he's like under saddle. He just seems quiet and peaceful and maybe...
I guess he feels a little like an old fellow. 17 next week. He seems 17. Quiet, dependable, does what I want.
Why does that worry me?? Compared to the cranky gelding who was biting the other horses and chasing the boys around and hoarding the mares, and being a total jerk to the other feeders at the other barn? And calling at the rail and screaming, and jumpy?
Seriously, Moon at home seems like a horse with a sedative compared to the charged creature he seemed lately at the barn.
Is the bossy cowsish jerk the happy Moon, and this sedate beast the stressed horse?? Or is he content to be spoiled and not have to look after anyone else? He really did have a hard time when he took over as herd lead at H's when Manwell passed away; maybe he's happy to be retired from that job now? That he did it because someone had to, but now that he doesn't, he's happy to just be a pony in a field, eating and pooping??
I don't know.
I wish like hell he could tell me. I want him to be happy. First and foremost, happy.