The cold has settled in, I'm still stuck horizontal in bed with nerve pain, and Owen is still feeding horses for me. This mandatory time-out is hard on everyone, but especially those of us required to behave out of our elements.
Owen loves the great indoors. He thrives on sleeping in, staying in a heated house with a computer and comfy office chair. This necessary nonsense of getting up with the sun to let the dogs out to do business, followed by emerging from the house squinting in the cold air to break ice out of water tanks is not his preferred lifestyle.
I am having the opposite problem. Remaining motionless, cloistered in sweatpants and old t shirts has become just cause for my brain to go into overdrive. Usually I quiet the rabble in my mind by functioning in high gear, moving and lifting, walking and riding. Now I find myself repetitively tapping my fingernails, compulsively wishing my body would just cooperate already.
My barn dogs are weathering the impromptu vacation fairly well. Mahzi has finally grown up enough to embrace her true lab temperament, so she is enjoying helping Owen with the twice daily feeding and watering, and then she is pretty content to return to her crate and kibble in the heated garage. Miles the border collie is turning eight this year, and being down to three legs he has gotten used to helping in the morning, then lying down to supervise in the afternoons.
Highboy is having the same problem I am. He wants to GO PLAY! Whenever Owen goes into the paddock to feed, Highboy tries to engage Owen in WWF horse wrestling. It's impressive enough when seventy-five pound Mahzi the dog charges you wanting to play, it's entirely another thing when the invitation is issued by a 17.1 hand, 1200 lb dog-like horse charging at Owen at full speed.
Owen has been briefed on how to respond to such requests, and so when he sees Highboy lurking suspiciously he doesn't go into the paddock without a dressage whip. Once wielding a long stick, Owen proceeds to whisk it through the air making a swooshing noise.
Highboy stares at him, astonished that someone told Owen how to gain points and win this game of intended physical exertion. According to the rules, Highboy then bolts to the far end of the paddock where he waits politely for the mash to be deposited in the feed tub. After Owen is safely out of the way Highboy knows he's allowed to go eat.
I had a well-meaning but ill-equipped friend offer to take Highboy this weekend to the round pen to let him play. I generally don't have anyone else handle Highboy because he is so ridiculously large and boisterous. He doesn't intend to hurt anyone and is not malicious at heart, but because of his sheer size and energy level he can do serious damage to a puny human unless his handler really makes him toe the line. It takes some amount of chutzpah on the part of the human to safely take him from his paddock to the round pen. Since his paddock is huge and well shaped for frolicking up and down the hill contained within it, I'm electing to leave him there until I can handle him myself.
After dealing with ridiculous huge young horse antics for a week and a half now, in response to my kind friend's offer to take Highboy out to the round pen this weekend Owen replied:
"Go ahead, you FLY that kite! I don't think he'll have come back to earth by the time you get to the round pen, and good luck getting the halter on him..."
We decided Highboy will just have to wait out my recovery like I'm doing, stuck in one place. At least he has a hill to run up and down.