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Winter is hard on old horses.
They use their calories for warmth or weight. It’s either/or, and the main reason we keep Miss Pepper blanketed most of the time. She can take a lot of heat. I think she gave up sweating long ago.
But when the weather gets warm, we remove her red blanket and let her old bones soak up the sun. We hope she revels in the heat.
Let me tell you though, when that blanket comes off, so does our denial.
It’s when we really see our bony old girl. It always surprises me. Somewhere in the recesses of my memory, she remains the strong, muscular alpha mare of the herd, the horse she used to be.
I remember her in her glory days.
It’s much the way I think of myself–though I was never an alpha.
I’ve had many conversations lately with my companion baby boomers about how we don’t think of ourselves as old. We still remember our glory days, when we were taking on the world. In our minds we haven’t changed, and are often shocked when we catch sight of ourselves in a mirror.
“Who is that person?” We wonder. “Surely it isn’t me. Where did those wrinkles come from? And that tummy?”
Like Pepper, my body has changed with my ever-increasing journeys round the sun. I’m not suggesting I’m ready to cash in my chips.
Far from it.
But like Miss P. I am learning to accept (with a modicum of grumbling) the adjustments my body is making.
How about you?
Isn’t it time we open this conversation?
The caller was anonymous and said something to the effect that three sorrel horses and a bay (that would be our girl) don’t look so good. They’re too thin, and haven’t weathered the winter very well.
My first response was, “well, duh!” I realize it isn’t the most mature of responses.
Interestingly Bud wasn’t included in the mix even though we think he’s had the roughest time, and is by far one of the most identifiable horses in the pasture. Those appaloosa spots are like a billboard.
An official contacted the owner of the boarding facility, telling her there had been a complaint lodged. She followed up right away, explained our daily feeding routine, regular vet check-ups, farrier care and overall TLC that we provide, and added that the Herd of Oldsters are, well, old. Apparently her explanation satisfied the investigator and the case was closed.
In the pasture, we look out for each other’s horses.
It’s just what we do. And I appreciate that other boarders keep an eye on our two old sweeties.
But this felt different.
It felt like a direct attack on the owner of the boarding facility. It had to be someone who’s boarding their animals there too, because the horses are no longer visible from the road.
Seems to me if you have a concern about an animal, the first thing you do is go to the person in charge.
We’ve done that on a couple of occasions. You ask a few questions. Make it known that you see something of concern. Maybe follow up with the owners.
That is unless you have a different agenda.
Like trying to make trouble.
Overall, I’m not a fan of anonymity, though I understand there are times it’s important. But mostly I believe if you have something to say, have the courage to identify yourself. If people are worried about our animals, I want them to tell me.
I’d love to hear what you think. Am I over-reacting?
As for Pepper, she thinks it’s kind of cool that at almost thirty years old she now has a rap sheet!
And is getting extra feed. Okay, maybe she likes that best…