Thursday, July 06, 2006

A vacation, the in-laws-to-be, and my beautiful colt

Michael and I just got back from a visit with his family. It was an exciting visit.

I got to spend a lot of time with my horse, Panama, who Michael surprised me with after we were unable to save his pregnant mother. He'd been pretty skitish around people last time I'd seen him - most likely because it was the first human contact he'd ever had - so I was worried that our short visit wouldn't be long enough to get to know him. However, apparently the past month has been enough to acclimate Panama to human contact, because he and I hit it off just fine.

I spent several days getting to know my horse - watching him graze, feeding him, seeing him yawn (which looks really funny!), brushing him, and talking to him. He has a wild streak in him still, which offsets his sweet personality perfectly. Sometimes, when I kiss his nose, he'll toss his head and butt his nose against my face, like he's trying to return the kiss.

Panama seems to have grown a lot just in the last month. He may very well be the age that his original owner said - 11 months then, so about a year now - and had just suffered stunted growth because he was malnourished. The way he's growing now, though, he seems to be making a healthy comeback.

The one scare I had was on Tuesday evening, the 4th. I wanted to brush Panama before the fireworks started in earnest, since it would likely be my last chance before we left. I led him out of the pasture to the hitching post, tied him up, and brushed him down. He held pretty still for the brushing - unlike the first time, when he fidgeted a lot - but combing his tail made him a little nervous. I wanted to give him a treat once I finished with his tail, so I walked over to a table fifteen feet away to get the treats.

When I turned around, Panama was standing loose, head high and mane flying. He looked spooked, or wild. Before I could catch him, he took off running. I watched him disappear beyond the neighbor's house, thinking he was gone - I'd lost my horse - and feeling completely helpless.

He came back around, though, and was obviously trying to get into the pasture. By this time my in-laws-to-be were trying to help catch him. He ran right through the neighbor's fence (there's no one living there now, and the wire on the fence was tied loosely, thank goodness). He acted like he was about to jump the fence into his own pasture, but we were able to catch him then by offering him his dinner.

Panama was still spooked, but we were able to hold him still while we checked his wounds. He had two old wounds - one from the same trailer ride that resulted in his mother's death, and another that happened more recently when he ran into a post in the pasture - and both had opened up a little. We cleaned them out, soothed him as much as we could, and then I led him back to the pasture. I checked on him later that night and the next morning before we left, and he seemed to be doing fine.

It was a horrifying experience - to think I'd lost my horse - but everyone assured me it wasn't my fault, that things like that happen.

With exception of that frightening experience, spending time with my horse was heavenly. Michael and I are seriously considering picking up and moving out there. We both love the small town and country atmosphere; he'd be close to his family, our kids could grow up with their cousins, and I'd be able to train and spend time with Panama.

It really would be the perfect place for a writer - even more so than the beautiful house we have now.

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