He's doing great! Had an off-and-on ouchy winter but now Commander’s bounced back and for the last several weeks has been thriving. His turnout has grown from a low of just an hour a day when he was sore in front, to a stretch from midday to 7:00 p.m., then expanding a couple of weeks ago to all day, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and yesterday the vet okayed 24/7 turnout. So in the evening, instead of bringing the boys into their stalls for the night, they were fed supper outside and left there. I’ll be looking for any sign that this is too much, but the mighty mite’s been doing really well lately.
The boys have free access to the square paddock off the run-in all the time now and I plan to keep it that way as spring advances so that the grass never has a chance to get established, let alone lush; let them keep it nibbled down to pathetic nubbins and hopefully it will be safe for Commander while giving him and Ben the illusion of grazing. I’m resigned to their not going onto the fields at all this year; it’s just not worth the risk of another laminitis flareup, and they have plenty of room to putter about and be happy.
The boys also have a pet teenage girl now; a 13-year old from across the street (with supervising mother in tow) has begun visiting them on Sundays, to groom and pamper them. The vet has okayed riding Commander (within obvious limits, of course), so I’ll be puttering around a bit on him and letting Faith get on him also – on a leadline to begin with since she’s only been riding for a year, taking lessons at a nearby hunter/jumper barn on their schoolies.
Faith is a tiny little thing, still really a child rather than an adolescent, needs the mounting block to reach the boys’ backs when she grooms them, and no way would she be able to stop Mr. Test-The-Limits Smartypants from taking advantage of her, right? Especially given the ring at Alprilla has no fence around it, and the surface is crushed clamshells with much sprouting of grass scattered through it. So we will start her riding sessions with me leading Commander, and if I decide it’s safe to let her go solo I will probably put an overcheck on the mighty Morgan to prevent him from yanking the reins away from her when he decides to dive for grass. But we’ll see how that works out. Ben and Commander certainly have enjoyed their pampering sessions, and Faith adores them both.
Commander’s already almost shed out and all shiny and sassy. Ben's not far behind. Life is springtime good.