Thursday, 14 April 2011

Camping out... almost

The horses at our new yard live out during the summer and, thanks to the lovely weather we've had this month, some of them have been living out for a few weeks already. Now, I have never left John out all night and I have no idea if he lived out before he came to me, but one reason for moving yards was so that I could try it. Everybody I've spoken to about it says their horses love it and of course, living outside is natural for horses in the wild.

Nonetheless, for us it was another one of those big steps we seem to encounter regularly, and I was prepared for a night of camping out at the yard with a sleeping bag and flask of coffee to hand, to keep an eye on him.

Except my friends refused to stay with me and as I'm a bit of a baby when it comes to being outside in the dark, on my own, in the middle of nowhere, I bottled it. I went home and worried instead.

When I went to see him the next morning he was a picture - I have never seen a horse look so tired, his eyelids were drooping and his head hung down heavily as if he was about to drop. I guess he hadn't gotten much sleep the night before.

The second night was better - he still looked tired but seemed happier.

The third night I decided to bring him in for his supper and a hay net, and if he seemed content, to leave him in his stable for the night.

I had convinced myself he was unhappy out in the field and preferred the creature comforts of his own space, with soft shavings to sleep on. Well, he polished off his supper no problem, then he started to call for his field neighbours. His calling became more urgent and he began to pace around his stable. At that point I got the message. He didn't want to be in, he wanted to be out.

So I led him back to the field and since then I've stopped fretting about him. He spoke and I listened.

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