It's cold outside, and inside isn't too much warmer. The ice in the metal water trough has turned from a giant slushy, (after our son broke up the ice with a hatchet) back to one big, solid ice cube. Inside, the water doesn't freeze, so we are doing okay.
Sitting on my bed, I look over and see the guys. Honey Bandit munches quietly away, and DaBubbles,Chino (the shepherd mix), and Bear are lying in the deep straw. It is supposed to be about 14 degrees tonight, so we filled the stalls with fresh rice straw. The boys fluffed it up so the horses could be warm and cozy.
Patches is in his own stall, where he slept before. As Honey Bandit was still getting cast, we decided to check and see if it was a space issue. Alas, it is not, and he continues to randomly get cast. There is still no real pattern as to where or why, (he sleeps in different places all the time), so we are going to try and "pad" all the sides when we get more straw to keep him further away from the wall. Last night I woke up Dalton in the middle of the night, (and yes, he was so impressed Click Me!) to show him how to help Honey Bandit if he was stuck.
Dalton was going to sleep out with Honey Bandit if Matt and I were both gone. (We need to send out a thank you to our would be "horse sitter". Ross, a friend of the family, has been there time and again in case we needed him. He has horse experience and would be available if Dalton needed help with Honey Bandit). Once again, he was ready to fill in, but Matt is staying home to "watch the fort", instead of going to San Francisco to the court hearing on the Twin Peaks Round up. (Prior home of Honey Bandit and his family)
Hmmmmmmmmmmm - could it be coincidence that he became very ill at the same time as the play offs????. I am just kidding. He got whatever bug is going around. (Bad, bad bug) I am sorry he doesn't feel well, but at the same time it gives me great comfort to know that he will be there with all the guys.
As I listen to the crunch, crunch, crunch of HB contentedly doing what he does best, a fresh sweet aroma fills the air. There is something about the sweet smell of fresh straw that actually smells like brilliant sunshine. I never knew that colors could have a fragrance. But inhaling, you cannot help but think of warm summer days, with soft breezes tickling your skin. It will be very exciting to see Honey Bandit when he has shed out. I wonder how many of his scars will show. He has his "war wound" on the left side of his head, above his eye and down. It almost reminds me of a tear. Like a valiant warrior who beat all odds, he wears his colors proudly.
Every once in awhile he looks up and nickers. Sometimes it is because he wants more food, other times he is just saying hi. He seems to feel completely at peace when we are all together in our little carport. Patches spends the days with DaBubbles and HB, but at night it is more restful for everyone if they sleep in their separate stalls. Honey Bandit likes to sleep alone, and has decided no more "doggy pillows". If he is in the stall next to us, it is somehow acceptable for Bear to be in the stall with him. But like a child who has outgrown his favorite teddy bear, Chino is no longer considered a viable sleeping partner. If Honey Bandit is in the far stall, Chino will be greeted with pinned back ears and possibly a well placed hoof or two. He did this last night, and then stomped away to his corner to eat. Chino looked at me as if to say, "Mom, he isn't playing nice. I want out". So Chino came and laid down with DaBubbles and Bear.
I pray every day that Honey Bandit will live a long and happy life. He still has some issues that are concerning, but looks fabulous and is quite a happy guy. He happens to be the only horse that I have ever met that doesn't want to eat his grain. If I hand feed him, he will eat a handful or two, but after that it just seems to be too much work for him. He would rather eat his hay. Most horses I have known love their grain and will do just about anything to get it. I lie in bed at night and just listen to him breathe. Kind of like when you have a newborn. So much of the time, (but not always), when HB is lying down, he sounds physically stressed. Almost like he is having trouble breathing. Even after the vet checked him out and gave him the "clear lungs" diagnosis, he still makes these weird noises when he is lying down. It almost sounds like he is too heavy for himself, and there is a huge weight on him.
He is on supplements to help any ulcers he might have, and doesn't make those noises when he is up and about. I am probably being overly concerned, but you know how you are with your babies. I guess it is just second nature to notice all these little details when you are "roommates". Sometimes it just seems like everything is such a big effort for him, getting up and down etc. However, maybe it is just that he needs more time to heal and grow strong, yet at the same time, he used to have a lot more energy and loved to play. Now that he is growing so much bigger, he seems to be losing the energy. I cannot explain it for certain, but something is "off" with our beautiful boy.
I wonder, when he got kicked over and over, did it do unknown damage? Does he have fractures, or is he "out of alignment" from all of the injuries? There is no way to know what is happening inside that traumatized little body. On the outside, he looks so so good. As you can see by his pictures, he is a very handsome Honey Bandit. So please say a prayer that he continues to get stronger and feel better. He has been through too much to backslide now. As his auntie Jen said, "he sounds like an old man, and has about that much energy". He did play for a couple of minutes this morning though, just until I got out there with the camera
I guess we just take it day by day, and make sure he has all the love there is to give him. Whether he turns into a great big "pet" for our equine therapy division, or is a great riding horse, he will be loved and cherished always.
Please remember him in your prayers. God bless!
Hugs Honey Bandit and the Gang.
Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang
30027 State Highway 44 East
Shingletown, CA 96088