I could blame the spring grass. They broke into some lush green grass in the centre of the paddock the other day; strictly forbidden grass, seeded last summer on ground which was well fertilized by spreading much of the old manure pile. I had been a bit casual about switching on the electric fence and through they went. Of course Ben did not want to be caught then to go to Sandra’s for some hoof trimming. And he has been pacing that now electrified fence since if he sees anyone in there.
At Sandra’s he was rude, there is no other word for it, when requested to hold up his hoof and even kicked out with his back legs. He has thrush after all the mud and has been a grouch about lifting his hooves for treatment each evening. This evening he really pushed it and refused to lift up hooves or tried to snatch them away and generally was as stubborn and resistant as only he can be.
It called for action. We had a fight. Me moving him around, he resisting, even rearing, to which I responded by jumping and generally we both were quite stroppy, uppity and bossy. I won – sort of. He reluctantly lifted his hooves, I could almost hear the sigh. When I produced the buckets of feed, he wanted to barge up to his, so I sent him away. My energy was quite “up” so it only took one straightening of my body. He came straight back. I sent him away. He came back, inching closer. I sent him away. He stayed away. I put his bucket in his stable. He still stayed away. I backed off and gestured him in. He went in.
I shut them into the stables as I filled the big haynets under the trees. I came back, seeing his face looking out of the stable under the lights, his eyes bright, his ears pricked forwards. I let them out and Ben stood by me. I looked at him there in the yard, stocky, four square, coat hairy and caked with mud. “You are Ben”, I thought, “not a nuisance, not a pain, just Ben. How can you be any different? How could I want you to be any different? You are who you are.”
He looked at me and nuzzled my sleeve with his lip. Rosie moved away, walking (with a beautiful, fluid swinging walk – she has recovered well) to the haynets. Ben looked after her wanting to go, but he stayed and looked at me. “You go”, I told him. He went.