The "meal truck" hadn't moved yet, but Harley saw me walking out of the barn and greeted me with enthusiastic neighing. I am not naive about my horse's priorities. I know that he is really excited about dinner and the possibility that I might be
Once through the gate, Harley's enthusiasm was bubbling over. He walked next to me, but he had so much pep in his step that his back muscles rippled on either side of his spine and his long, uncombed mane bounced against his neck. I love how he walks straight and not on top of me, like some horses when they forget that their human is there. I know that he would have also loved to walk even faster to the barn, but he stayed next to me even with a drape in the lead line. His spunk made me laugh out loud. Someone was very happy to be coming inside.
Once in the barn, I prepared his snack of hay cubes. His actual dinner was fast approaching, but the nice thing about forage is that you can give it anytime and it helps keep horses warm in the winter. I broke the cubes into small sections and poured them into his trough. Then I added Harley to the stall and joined him with the my brush.
Harley was in complete heaven. He munched his cubes industriously as I knocked the dry mud from his coat. I fluffed and preened his thick, winter fur and worked at the mud stuck to the long hairs on his legs. I marveled at how gentle my giant pet can be. While I was brushing a foot that had some stubborn dirt at the hair line of his hoof, he wanted to move over to reach some food at the far end of his trough. Rather then raise the foot I was working on, he leaned over to the food and kept the toe of the foot I was working on touching the ground like a dancer. He did not want to move it away from me until I was finished. Was this an act of respect? Obedience? Was it in appreciation for the cleaning I was doing? Either way it was very sweet. His gentleness was contrasted by his obvious strength and power when he shoved his feed trough over with a push of his nose. That trough is pretty heavy as I have trouble carrying it by myself. Apparently my horse can be careful with the position of his foot at the same time that he violently shoves his foot bin. This was interesting to me.
Needless to say, I was very happy that I made the time to visit Harley yesterday, even if riding was not possible. I enjoyed spending the time with him and in that short time he managed to make me laugh and to make me think.