Many people have asked me how our horses are doing in light of the upheaval and new boarding situation due to the fire. It’s pretty remarkable how well the horses seem to have adapted. Of course, they have no clue how dire their situation was October 9 when the fire raged just on the other side of the fence from our boarding facility. I did a walk through over the weekend (more pictures and another blog post to follow). It looked like a war zone.
A few days after the wildfire evacuation Knight would not look at me when I approached his stall. He wouldn’t even walk forward when I snapped a carrot in two. He had gas colic. I remember thinking, “You can’t have lived through a wildfire only to die of colic a few days later!” (I lost my last horse to colic so I’m always on edge about that threat.)
The evacuation barn where my trainer was able to relocate us was actually the first barn where I boarded Knight. He is now only a few pipe corrals down from where he used to sleep.
Back to the gas colic–after a call to the vet to see what to do, some electrolytes, Banamine and a little bit of walking, he perked back up and was good as new.
Honestly, I have had some of my best rides I’ve ever had on Knight in the couple of weeks that we have been in our new spot.
For example, Knight and I did a counter canter exercise that we tried before a few months back at our old barn. It was not awesome then. Like he didn’t want to canter “wrong.” And I was completely uncoordinated and not helping matters.
Last week during my lesson we picked up our left lead canter going the “right” way, then crossed the diagonal and kept the bend and counter canter until we reached the spot to cross the diagonal again, on the opposite side of the ring, and return to the correct lead.
In addition, Knight has not been making a big deal out of poles and the small jumps we do. Our greatest challenge over the last year has been that the overachiever Thoroughbred in him makes him want to really exert. Why calmly trot an X when you can canter it? Why take even strides on a line when you can always go faster to the second fence and just rocket over it rather than have nice form? Why go slow and relaxed when you can be animated and give 150%?
Literally, during our last lesson before the fire he leaped over a pole. All he had to do was canter it but he decided it was safer to launch, Grand Prix style. I didn’t appreciate that very much.
I’m surprised at how calm and happy Knight seems at this equestrian center. It’s located in the middle of suburbia, with a storage facility next door and a park that was playing the weirdest Halloween scary music with children’s voices singing. This bizarre music was blasting for a haunted house I assume. Think fingernails on a chalkboard. (That was the night he gas colicked. Maybe it was the grating music.)
There are no beautiful mountain views like our previous home. There are no ancient trees. I haven’t seen any woodpeckers or tiny yellow birds I forgot the name of that would come drink from the spigot.
Perhaps Knight’s just a city-boy at heart and what I think is a more appealing home for him is just my opinion, not his. He also has a new neighbor: a gorgeous bay mare. I’ve heard they stand head to head and are very sweet with each other from over the bars of the pipe corral. I haven’t caught them in the act of being lovey dovey–yet.
Whatever it is that has elicited this present version of Knight the Chillaxed, I am grateful. My horse is happy and healthy and I’m enjoying him. What could be better?
Thank you for reading! I have a few more blog posts I need to write on this barn fire, so come see us again to find out more about the heroes, lessons learned and practical tips to help your barn family plan for a catastrophe such as this.
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Your Turn: Do you think horses are more adaptable than humans? Explain your view in the comments section.