Thursday, May 22, 2014

celebrating with Big Bay

I've been focusing on the anniversary of Salina's death this month, and missing her, and getting stuck a little bit in my obsessing over Keil Bay (who is 25 now) and fretting over him on a near-daily basis.

Keil is sound and healthy but he has white hairs around his eyes, silver hairs in his mane, tail, and forelock, and he has an off day now and then. Under saddle we warm up more slowly and for a longer time. And I'm discovering I can make fretting a full-time occupation if that's what I choose to do.

Yesterday it was Keil Bay's turn to get his hooves trimmed. My husband and I are doing it now, minimally, since the areas of stone and hard ground and our arena serve as huge trimming tools and I am seeing how healthy the hooves are when they trim naturally. No soreness after the trims, no flat soles. I certainly won't hesitate to call our trimmer if I feel we need her, but for now, this is working really well.

We do clean up the rough edges, though, and this week it seems like the summer hoof growing season kicked in because all the big boys and even the donkeys to a lesser degree, were self-trimming like crazy and the hoof walls were looking a bit too ragged for my taste. 

Husband and I went to the grass paddock and started working on Keil Bay. We were immediately surrounded by the pony and the donkeys, to the degree that trimming was nearly impossible, so we moved with Keil to the front field. 

He fussed about the hoof stand so we moved it to the side and did the trimming with his feet propped on husband's leg. By the third hoof he was licking and chewing. I don't know if it was the attention, the trimming itself, or just pure contentment, but it was lovely. The sun was low in the sky, the heat was fading, and although we were sweating a bit, it was a shared moment of love and affection and cooperation.

When he was done with his trims I pulled his Summer Whinnys up (these are wonderful white leggings that keep the flies off - he loves wearing them this time of year) and spritzed him with the fly spray concoction I mix up (no chemicals, smells good, seems to feel good to him when I spray it on) and removed his halter. 

My husband opened the gate back to the grass paddock and barn and I watched as Keil Bay turned, power trotted through, then broke into a gorgeous canter which he did right through the barn aisle to the barnyard on the other side.

Husband asked, "Was that good or bad?"

And I said "Great."

These moments when Keil shows me that he is 25 years young are priceless. I seize onto them and feel like baking a cake and lighting candles and saying happy day! Happy day with the Big Handsome Bay!

My challenge with him is to celebrate the good days and not focus on the number of years old he is. To listen to him if he needs special care but to also listen to him when he says "I'm 25 and I'm sound and I'm still powerful and brilliant and perfectly capable of behaving like a 5-year old!"

I hear you, Bay, I do.


Anonymous said...

Celebrate - don't worry - that's the message - a good one for us to carry into every day.

billie said...

Kate, so true. Of course, I went to the barn awhile ago and he has a bunch of little bumps (some kind of bug bite, I'm almost positive) and I started to freak. Daughter said, mom he looks FINE, and she's right, he isn't bothered by them. I guess I shouldn't be either!!

Lori Skoog said...

I had 6 horses for almost 30 years and am now down to two. One is 15 and the other is 29 and still ridable. Her back has sunken but she is full of beans and has no trouble moving. Our oldest lived to 36. Just enjoy everyday with your big bay and don't dwell on the worry don't want him to catch the vibes!

billie said...

Hi, Lori - wonderful that yours live such long, healthy lives!! Keil Bay is not likely to accept any vibes that aren't focused on how amazing he is, so no worries there. :) If anything he will lead the way, like he did last night, in showing me that all is well.

Matthew said...

Thank you for sharing that. Such a beautiful description of the Big Bay on that wonderful magical run through the barn aisle. Prosetry!

billie said...

Thanks, M. He was brilliant, as usual. :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

The Big Bay is a healthy happy horse and I'm sure he'll be with you for a very long time. He seems to be telling you he feels great and loves his life. Each day with these special animals is a gift, enjoy them.

billie said...

A, thank you for the terrific reminder. He has no problem telling me what is what. :) I'm lucky to have him here and every single day is a gift, that's for sure!

Victoria Cummings said...

It's your terrific care that makes KB such a happy healthy horse. May you enjoy many many more years with this beautiful boy!

billie said...

Thanks, V - he has been a lucky horse to be beloved from early on and treated well from the very beginning. I think that has a lot to do with how healthy he is and how expressive and confident.

I've recently been in touch with his previous owner and the young woman who gave me my first ride on him as a "just come have a fun ride on a great horse" trial and it's a tribute to how amazing he is that they were both thrilled to hear that he is 25, happy and sound and healthy, and still very much a beloved boy.

I wish every horse could have such a great and kind and well-done start!

Its Time to Live said...

"celebrate the good days" Good words to live by!

billie said...

Its Time to Live, absolutely! He teaches me that on a daily basis. :)