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.