Rudy has enriched my life in countless, unimaginable ways. As a result of owning him, I have made many wonderful, kind-hearted friends.
I was injured a few weeks ago while trail riding on vacation. The end result was that I wound up under the horse, a place you never want to be. As I lay on the ground half curled into a ball, I braced as I waited for the impact. First, I felt a hoof graze my right side above my hip, and then the full weight of a hoof landed on the inside of my left leg.
The doctor said I was lucky. I would not dispute this for one minute. In fact, I thanked all my angels and lucky stars multiple times since the accident. The verdict was a severe contusion, but nothing broken or torn. His prognosis was that in two to three weeks, the leg would be at eighty percent. I felt as though a ton of bricks was lifted off of me.
After three weeks had passed, the leg was twenty percent improved, and the mobility in the leg was still limited. Between being on vacation and this injury, I had spent five hours with Rudy in twenty-three days.
This was causing me angst. Angst because I love being with Rudy, angst because Rudy was sensitive, and changes in our routine had proven to be stress-inducing for him.
I worked hard to ensure that the time we spent together was balanced. By that, I mean half of the time is spent doing things Rudy cares about.
Anyone that has a horse knows that grazing is at the top of the list of activities. This is especially true for horses with limited or no access to pasture. The case for Rudy. I recognized this scenario was suboptimal for his physical and mental health. To compensate for this deficiency, I did what I could to provide him with frequent graze time.
On the way back from vacation, with a swollen, bruised, and throbbing leg, I swung through the barn. I was both anxious to see him and needed to have a chat with him. I wanted to explain the situation and provide reassurance that despite the recent change in my schedule he was still loved.
Perhaps this sounds crazy, but Rudy often seems to understand what I say to him. Sometimes I say words out loud, sometimes I communicate silently with him. His actions frequently indicated he got the message.
Either one of us can initiate these conversations. When he communicates something important, he usually puts his face right up to mine, a couple of inches away, and stares deeply into my eyes. He holds the stare for seemingly long durations, and the experience is mesmerizing.
From his actions on this day, it seemed he had an understanding of the problem. He responded by being extremely loving. He groomed me many times over and did the deep eye stare with me at least three times.
It was wonderful to see him. But as I drove away, I felt guilty I wasn't unable to bring him outside after so many days of being gone.
I did something I rarely do, ask for help. I reached out to a horse friend of mine. She had a similar approach to horse ownership as I had, so I knew she would understand my request. I asked her if she would be willing to meet me at the barn sometime and take Rudy out to graze.
Not only did she say yes to my request, but she also picked me up and drove me to the barn that day! She allowed him to graze for about forty minutes before bringing him into the barn. I thought he might protest when he was asked to go in, but he didn't. He willingly walked into the barn and into his stall.
His demeanor was one of contentment. His eyes were soft, and he was loving. Rudy groomed her as she stroked his face and neck. The whole scene warmed my heart. He seemed to be saying thank-you to her over and over. Meanwhile, I was filled with gratitude for her willingness to go out of her way for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you my friend.