I went out intending to ride, and Keil Bay came right in when he heard me come through the gate, so it felt like he wanted to ride too. But after I fed Salina, checked her in the midst of abscessing hoof, and let Keil Bay into a stall so I could tack him up I saw that he, and all the geldings, had been out rolling and all three were covered in dried mud.
Salina left a bit of her meal, so I added some to it and fed it to Keil Bay. He wishes he needed an extra wet tub a day. He doesn't really, but every now and then I give him one just to show him that I will if in fact he ever DOES need it to keep his weight and nutrition balanced.
He was thrilled with his midday "senior" meal, and I started working on his mud while he ate.
It was cool and windy today and I decided to let the other geldings come into stalls and have some hay out of the wind. They all seemed happy to have some quiet and some individual hay. I realized as I got busy grooming Keil that it was probably one of those days when it felt right to spend a long grooming session than to try and squeeze in a ride. He was enjoying the brushing, and the barn was peaceful with the late afternoon sun coming in the windows, the horses all munching, and the rhythm of the brush felt good to me as well as Keil.
Keil started banging his feed tub around in the manger so I stepped up to take it and let him lick it out. This is a favorite ritual he and I have, and as I lifted Salina's red tub I realized Keil's blue tub had been left in the manger at breakfast and he was banging because some of the midday meal had managed to spill between the red tub and the blue tub but they were stuck together and he couldn't get to the "trapped" portion. I separated the tubs and held them both up side by side so he could lick.
I suspect Keil Bay has never had two feed tubs both with feed in them in front of him inside his stall before. He seemed surprised but not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak, and he set forth to lick both, taking turns between one and the other. I could literally feel his pleasure. If horses purred like cats, Keil Bay was purring.
I've been doing ground work with him most of this week, and since I'd decided not to ride, I took him out in halter and lead rope to do a repeat of our work. The first day he needed a little urging to keep up with me but the past two days he has been sharp and perfectly focused. Today he was even more focused - clearly trying to anticipate my requests by watching my body. We were walking, trotting, halting, turning, backing w/o any cue passing between us. Keil is big and has a big stride, but he matched me step for step in every transition. It was impressive.
While we were working, Salina came out of the barn and began to graze in the big barnyard. She's moving, but still carefully, and this is the first day she's wanted to graze in about 4. The donkeys both asked to come into the arena, so, as it tends to go around here, my work with Keil Bay ended and some similar work with the donkeys began. Even the pony, who was in his stall with hay, came to his door to watch.
Everyone got groomed and worked and they're back in stalls with hay until dinner time, when they'll eat, get their blankets for the first freeze of the year, and head out to enjoy the cold, clear night.
Might I add that we noticed the sure sign of fall and winter on its way: flies sitting motionless, as if they were frozen in place. It's about time!