Monday, December 16. 2019
In the chilly and clear afternoon, I walked my horses down the street, almost a quarter-mile, and they grazed on a neighbor’s pasture for a couple of hours.
For days I’d worried about the best way to lead the horses along our neighborhood street. It’s not very busy but does have traffic. I’ve driven my horses on these streets, but without harness and blinkers, would they experience the area differently? Around here, too, what if one or more deer leap from seemingly-nowhere and cross the road, surprising the horses?
My elderly mare, Rosie, is at least 10-times bigger than me. She becomes anxious and challenging to handle in brand-new experiences. The still-standing snow had prevented practicing to walk on the street. Rosie also dislikes separations from her equine family but taking her separately would let me focus on leading her. Otherwise, by first taking Sunni and Pimmy, Rosie would snort, scream, and pace nervously until I could return for her. It seemed wise to start the marching with Rosie.
Who’d have anticipated that, as if we were in a dreamscape, Rosie was easy, and in fact, a smooth companion the entire way. Upon a release in the pasture and free, she chewed grass and peered intentently toward home.
As I waited and watched she was quiet, but I needed to get the others. When I began walking away, she bombshelled into action–full-bore galloping (a beautiful sight!) from one end of the field to another–aiming toward leaping the four-foot fence, a feat she’s not in condition to accomplish. Nonetheless and hopefully, she’d not crash into the vinyl railing and bust it apart to become free on the streets. As I headed home, she screamed for the others.
Sunni is easy to handle, and usually, so is Pimmy donkey. Now, Pimmy became difficult. She disliked the newly-added, ongoing strips of highly-visible asphalt-patch. Donkeys tend to stop, look, think, and decide about moving on. I didn’t have time and pulled hard on Pimmy’s lead rope until she had me worn out. I couldn’t help considering the irony of this: Rosie easy, Pimmy problematic.
Rosie was waiting and screamed hellos as we approached. Once Sunni and Pimmy were free in the pasture, the trio began grazing happily.
They had only two hours before the sun would begin setting. Then, about getting them home–all at once or separately? Maybe this time have Rosie and Sunni go together, and take slow-Pimmy separately?
Back at home, now relieved and happy, I suddenly could feel the stress of constantly having worried about how to move the three safely. I felt a sort of worry residue, my neck and shoulders were tight with nearly painful muscle-knots.
Later, after returning to the horses and making an “aw shucks” decision, all did travel home home together–slow-going with lots of tugging on Pimmy. Rosie and Sunni were patient, and the instant I could point us into my neighbor’s driveway, I released Pimmy. She’d follow us home. That back way though still was covered in deep crusty snow. The big horses were calm and willing to pause as I stepped carefully.
Once in their space and the gate closed, each got an apple.
I love my horses, and still too, that donkey.
Dear Friends: A tendency to over-worry means loss of sleep and mega-stress. Diana