Saturday, August 18, 2012

Keep walking! he says

How’s Commander doing with short ventures outside?

Amazingly well. Today, twice at midday I walked him away from the barn and along the driveway half the length of the nearby red pole barn, probably 60 feet, and he marched along, head high, drinking it all in. At suppertime I led him its full length once, walking briskly, and if it weren’t for the mosquitoes annoying us both I think he’d have liked to keep going instead of turning back.

Commander moved well, long-strided, head up, clearly enjoying himself; again chose to step down every time onto his right foot; again had no trouble stepping back up into the barn; while still more straight-legged in his walking than I’d like (and perhaps some of that is due to maneuvering those thick salad-plate-size pads strapped to his feet), was moving with more vigor and freedom than one would have thought possible less than a week ago.

The mighty Morgan got to spend the entire afternoon in Counterpoint’s airy, bright (even on a cloudy day like today) and two-windowed stall, while Ben got to have the afternoon out, the first hour of it on the grassed paddock where he grazed the nubbins single-mindedly. When I brought Ben his midday beet-pulp mash I thought it best to lock him off the grass, let his system adjust to the greenery slowly, so for the rest of his time out he had to content himself with demolishing a well-stuffed haybag’s worth of hay.

Commander appears to like his afternoon stall very much. He spent some of his time arranging the place to his liking, trudging ruts in shavings here, establishing his toilet there, and mowing through an armload of hay; he also rubbernecked at both windows, the one overlooking his buddies in the run-in and the other looking out over the fields.

This is good. This new routine will be healthier physically and mentally for both boys, and I will try to expand the walking as long as Commander tolerates it.

Monday Commander gets his feet checked, his pads rewrapped, and measurements taken for the Soft-Ride boots. Will we be able to move him on to turnout? The hard surfaces of the run-in and environs remain a concern, but there are possibilities for fencing off most of the paddock while leaving a corridor to a soft-dirt-floored room in the back of the run-in structure; we’ll worry about doing that when it’s time.

I begin to nourish tiny buds of hope.

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