Thursday, March 11, 2010

Quiet Rides, Wildlife, and Disappointment

Wednesday, March 10th

Happily, the only thing causing the horses anxiety this morning is that I'm about ten minutes late in bringing them their feed.

It's a beautiful, sunny day with no wind, so I figure it's time for another ride. Murray needs to rebuild some muscle, and Maggie needs to learn the ropes so that Dave can hopefully start to ride her later this spring. That is what we bought her for after all.

I take Murray straight down to the ring, where the footing is now solid enough for a bit of canter-- even with Murray's delicate suspensory ligaments. We do some light work for about twenty minutes, but something just doesn't seem right. He's not lame, not even "off", just not right. He stumbles a bit, but that's not out of the ordinary for him either. I decide we'd better call it a day, and we head off down the road to cool down.

I'm once again amazed by his manners on the road. He leaves the property easily (despite Maggie's ear-splitting protests-- I'm sorry neighbours) and marches purposefully toward the dairy farm a kilometre away. When we get to the "marshmallow-like" bales of haylage, we turn back. Instead of speeding up and prancing, his walk slows to a crawl, and I have to actually urge him forward to get him home. Perhaps he had a brain transplant on the trailer on the way here?

I still think something seems not-quite-right with Murray, but I his legs look and feel fine, so I turn him out and bring Maggie in instead. She's a filthy ball of black fluff, and by the time I finish grooming her, my arms are sore, and I'm pretty sure that there's more hair on me then on her. Down in the ring, she's her old self, plodding and lazy, with only occasional bouts of sassyness. This is the Maggie I know.

5:50 pm
Just like yesterday, the golden hues of the sinking sun bathe the horses in a warm glow as I head to the pasture to bring them in. I MUST remember to bring out my camera one of these evenings. As they see me, the horses meander over to the gate. Thankfully, there's no sign of the anxiety that had them pacing the fence-line with fear last night. Maggie's first in line, and as I shoo Murray back from the gate, he turns his back to us-- clearly offended.

Just as I start down the gravel lane, I catch sight of something moving near the tree-line behind the manure pile. Maggie notices too, and she swings her enormous head around with such insistence that I'm nearly hauled off my feet. This is the exact spot that the horses were fixated on last night. I brace myself for the sight of a scruffy, growling coyote; however, much to my delight, what I see instead are two beautiful, healthy-looking does. They move into the field of weather-beaten grasses, and stretch their necks down in search of food.

By the time Maggie's in her stall, Murray (still outside) has noticed the deer as well. He's as still as a statue-- frozen with his head and neck raised majestically against the backdrop of a golden-blue sky. The camera, why can't I remember to bring my camera! I walk quietly over to him, and we stand shoulder to shoulder, mesmerized by the sight of the delicate creatures picking their way across the fields. They leisurely cross the land, and after two or three minutes, disappear into the woods with a flick of their short, white tails.

Perhaps there were deer in the woods last night, and that's what had the horses spooked? It's possible, but I'm still uneasy. The horses didn't seem at all anxious about the deer tonight, just curious, and as soon as they were out of sight, they seemed also to be out-of-mind.

As I throw some hay into Murray's stall, I notice a swelling the length of my baby finger on his left-front leg, just below the outside of his knee. It's soft, warm, and he flinches when I press on it. Possible check ligament injury? Go figure. His suspensory ligaments on the other hand seem fine. I guess he's just earned himself some time off.


  1. I hope Murray is feeling better. What an adventure you're having.

  2. Okay, I am totally hooked on the ongoing adventures of Mags & Murray! You are such an engaging and talented writer...I am drawn in to these delightful tales. Keep 'em coming!

    Cousin Kim