observations from 5am…still dark with amazing stars …and very quiet/still…only the start of day 5
as i come out of the trailer there is a gentle nicker…the first time any of the four nickered to greet me..all are standing patiently at the fence…four bunched together silhouttes in the moon/star light…there is a quiet gentle nicker…there it is again…it’s Sampson..what a nice greeting and the start of using their voices..
as i walk to the fence am wondering if Sally the Mustang/youngest/greenest will stay..she does..that’s a first..before she would leave quickly…in stroking the others first not to scare her, i make my way down the line to Sally..she stays..offering my hand to her cheek she turns her head away from me but stays..i pull my hand back..try and back off, pressure, release, offering my hand to her shoulder she leans in..i scratch her shoulder gently..she leans in again..”more”..stroking her a few times i pull my hand back and do it again..she stays..
it’s a morning of “firsts”..Sally at the fence (who on day 1/2 we couldn’t even catch) and waiting to be petted, Sampson talking (he asked again last night to have his fly mask off to sleep..the way he asks is comes to the fence, hangs his head over and stares at you..”take it off please”..)…so far he has asked for fly spray (stomping his feet to get a fly off and then looking at you), and his flymask (squinting his eyes in the sun and putting his head down)…could this be just what they do ..sure..but from having almost lived in the herd for many years now have seen this over and over..often horses that make similiar requests..my friend says “you just see what they need”…i like to believe it’s their way of asking…they all draw you in but Sampson has a special place..he knew he was losing ground physically by his loss of weight and his hock injury and would have been the first to succumb to the elements or predators … his stoic nature was trying to overcome everything..
Bella and Jade are being very polite..in throwing the hay am spreading it far apart..Sally is the first to go to the farthest flake (also last night she was the last to come in from the pasture out by the pond.. she also asked for some alone time.asking by.standing back, looking around and then wandering around by herself exploring the chicken coop and the turkeys and finally being coaxed in to go to bed)..could she have slept off by herself..sure..but my guess is in the middle of the night she would change her mind..baby steps..will try that another day..
Sampson being a little ribby is getting pellets daily…he looks forward to his alfalfa pellets soaked in some water..the old healed over cut on his hind leg at the hock is being cleaned daily…the proud flesh is reducing and he is flexing better..moving more/ trotting more…we’re gaining on it..
today is the first feeding that each horse ate right away from a separate flake (instead of two horses on one flake or three on one) ..i always think…these changes are so small but 1 or 2 small things a day is 365 or 730 things a year..quite a tally…
off to turn everyone out..
day 6 of the rescue horse adventure…
Mustang Sally is continually exploring off by herself unless something scary happens..like the turkey fluffing his large grey tail feathers up in a fan and shaking them at his girl friend turkey..or a chicken chasing another chicken who sat on the wrong nest..although Lucy the little fluffy Maltese dog has walked under Sally’s legs many times with no reaction on the horses part…
today was the first day Sally came up and took a small bite of the handful of alfalfa offered to her..she is more comfortable with my back slightly turned toward her..when i face her she turns her backside to me..often this can be interperted as “she’s going to kick!” but Sally is serene and when offering her backside she rests her back foot..the good part though is in still getting to know her the green panel is between us..if i mistake the gesture hopefully the steel panel will take the brunt of a quick hind kick and not my knee..but she is sure of her move..i reach up slowly and scratch her hip and the top of her tail..she leans in ..”more”..and in moving the palm of my hand around in a large circle over her rump she gently starts to sway..ever so slightly..back and forth..relaxing..
Sampson the tall high withered black gentlemanly gelding ate serenely with Prince the little miniature grey donkey..serenely until Jade the tall black saddlebred looking mare took a small bite of Prince’s hay..it appeared she didn’t think that little short fat donkey would mind and the next thing i see is Jade running as fast as she can and Prince in hot pursuit in his head down donkey hop super speed run..never underestimate a little short fat donkey was Jade’s morning lesson!
after breakfast , which was mostly calm and happy the four were asking to be let out to the pasture area..asking by leaning their collective heads over the green panels and all staring in the direction of the pond and trees..in trying to mix it up and have a different experience i let them out to the arena which has the barrels for practice and the poles for pole bending..Sampson went immediately to the left over small pile of fresh bermuda and began to nibble while Bella, Jade and Sally went exploring..walking the perimeter fence and checking out any stray manure piles from the horses that slept there last night..
the property on that side is divided in half with green hw panels criss/crossing the area to be more sturdy..the front half arena, dirt with the poles/barrels and the back half a two acre mesquite grove with areas of scrub pasture in amongst the trees..natural growing bermuda not planted..the desert broom is in bloom and the white fluffy tufts of dandelion like blossoms are drifting everywhere making some spots look as if dusted with snow….the horses are slowly making their way to the mesquite grove which the kids call the “park”..in the park is a road that winds around and thru the tall trees that are like big green branchy umbrellas..great places to stand in the shade..it’s cool there and quiet..another new experience..we call it the “road to no-where” as it winds down and around and then it comes back again..
so there they go ..coats softer than the day before..eyes brighter..each day i can see they are settling in more..still hesitant to trust that this is home and not a pit stop to the next bad life..that they have good food and clean fresh water and room to run and play and people that love them ..who see to their needs..that they don’t have to be looking over their shoulders and do everything like a cluster of grapes for safety..
it appears after seven days the horses are getting more comfortable..settling in..not wondering if this is a lay-over or a pit stop and that looking over their shoulders every ten seconds isn’t necessary..
every morning now they ask to be let out to the pasture/hill/pond area..
the large stall/pen area with open gates to the big back yard could accomodate many more horses..it’sbig enough for them but apparently very boring..it’s a good area though for feeding as the various size/color chickens wander under foot and occasionally “Flower the rabbit” eats with them testing out their response to small quick moving animals..Flower is a beautiful white rabbit with pink ears and pink eyes..the gift of a very young girl whose home the rabbit had outgrown..
Missy the little grey chicken that looks like a walking powder puff scratches the hay covered ground near the horses ..taking care of any small bug that may be near them she moves in and out of their feet and on to the next bug buffet..
the turkeys test out the horses response to large fanned out big feathered birds..there is really no reaction to either..it’s sort of a “there’s always room for one more at our table” attitude or maybe they think they are still guests and not sure who to send away from the table..i prefer to think it’s “there’s always room for one more”..”join us..we have plenty to share..
am watching Sampson closely..he prefers to not go explore with the others..either that or he is reluctant to leave the food source since his weight showed his previous lack of a food source..his hock wound is improving daily..am hoping the Monday foot trimming will help go well and help him be more comfortable..he seems to be saying “i’m not as young as i thought i was”..his body shows the signs of many various situations he’s either gotten himself into or been put in..what an amazing animal..
in looking out the large glass window as daylight is creeping about the horses silhouttes are a few feet from the house..and they are also more spaced out than they have been..the cluster of grapes is expanding it’s distance between grapes..having so far always moved in a “cluster” so to speak..it’s nice to see them more comfortable with the space..a day at a time..a step at a time..