I thought I'd easily be able to work over the holiday because I love writing fiction so much... but it turned out to be harder than I thought. We visited Michael's family, and I'm not sorry to say that I ended up visiting with my horse a lot more than I worked on my novel.
Michael's brother recently got a new horse - a colt named Sundance. Although Sundance is only 7 months old - a good 6 months younger than Panama - he's already bigger than Panama. He is a mix of draft horse and some type of show horse; the show horse blood is quite evident, especially when Sundance trots, picking his legs high up in the front. He's a beautiful horse, and very sweet-tempered - but I prefer my fiery Panama.
Panama is still a little bit on the wild side, but I think I was able to connect with him a lot better this time than last time. The first couple of days I was there, he didn't have a halter on - they had had to take it off because it was getting too small on him. It was difficult, because I had no way to keep him with me once he decided to leave, but I was able to give him a little bit of attention here and there.
On Saturday, with four of us helping, we managed to corner Panama and put a halter on him. It took some work, but once we got it on him he was like a different horse - much gentler and tamer, though still slightly skittish. He just doesn't get enough attention, poor guy - but the more he gets of it, the more he wants. By the time we left this morning, he came right up to me when I stood at the fence to say goodbye.
Panama has gotten rather plump, which is good to see - he had been so underfed when we first saw him in May, and it took a long time for him to gain enough weight to cover his ribs. He is now almost 13 1/2 hands tall (a hand is four inches, and a horse's height is measured at the shoulders). He's tall enough so that I can lean my forehead against his neck and smell his horsey smell.
I don't regret for the moment all the time I was able to spend with Panama. It seemed to do him a lot of good. I was able to write a little, reaching a measely 35,080 total words. With only three full days left of NaNoWriMo, I'm hoping I'll be able to devote some time in the next few days to working on my novel. I want to make sure I "win" (i.e. reach 50,000 words) my first go round!