You can see how she's not putting weight on her sore leg.

When we drove down the road to the pasture on Sunday, we noticed that Bud and the rest of his little herd of oldsters were at the gate, waiting patiently for lunch and/or treats. Pepper was standing away from the group, by herself.

It didn’t seem quite right.

As we pulled up to the gate and unloaded feed pans, Bud did the usual happy dance, jostling everyone until he could get a clear shot out the gate to his food.

Miss P. started to walk toward us.

She was moving slow.

And limping.

Rick said his first thought when he saw her standing alone was, “She’s hurt.”

He’s got good instincts.

It’s hard enough when we aren’t feeling well, but when animals or babies are sick, they can’t tell you where it hurts. And you can’t reassure them it will be all right – that you’ll take care of them and help them feel better.

I was worried as I watched Pepper make her way out the gate to her food.

It was obvious she was hurting.

There was definitely something going on with her right front leg.

We couldn’t see anything outright.

There was no wound or heat in the muscle. Maybe she pulled something or strained a ligament. She’s done that before. And, come to think of it, it’s been the same leg.

She ate about half of her food, dosed with Bute (which we hoped would ease the pain a bit) and stood so that she put no weight on the leg that hurt. Rick ended up holding the pan so she wouldn’t have to bend down so far.

When Bud finished eating, we put him into the pasture.

That seemed to be the sign Pepper was waiting for. She turned, limped to the gate and nearly put herself in. All we had to do was open the gate. It was as if she said, “I just want to go back to bed.”

Poor baby.

We decided to give it a day before calling our vet. Sometimes these things work themselves out. We’ll see.

I’m not as hopeful as Rick.

Here we are coming up on Christmas, when everyone is either out of town or hunkered down with friends and family. Why is it that kids and animals always seem to get sick on weekends and holidays?

If you’ve had kids, you know what I’m talking about.

When my son was young, he had frequent ear infections. And I’m telling you, it almost always started in the middle of the night on a Friday. And this was before urgent care centers and 24/7 access to some kind of medical care. It was a big deal to get to the doctor for antibiotics.

I thought we’d left that scramble behind us, but now Bud and Pepper are giving us the chance to re-live the worry that comes from having sick kids.

Gee thanks!

As for Pepper, I’ll keep you informed.

In the meantime, please send your healing thoughts her way.

With old horses, you never know…