Duke is responding so well to the treatment. Last Friday I took him for a little walk in one of the indoor arena's at the facility. He was so glad to get out of his area and stretch his legs, but I could tell what he really wanted to do was find a nice clean place in the dirt so he could roll around. For a brief moment I almost let him, but decided against it for safety's sake since he might get tangled up in the halter or lead rope, and then might panic. So instead we walked, nice and slow. He was a bit excited but I kept moving his feet. Then, Sunday morning Sam and I took him for another walk in that same indoor arena, and in the arena is a round pen, about 40 feet in diameter. I walked him into the round pen, slipped off his halter and watched as the spark lit in a fiery frolic of horse and hooves. I quickly stepped outside the round pen and watched him be a horse again. Kicking, bucking, running, snorting...and free. He threw dirt on Sam and me but we didn't care. Duke is back to being Duke again. :) Within seconds he was kneeling, then flopping onto his belly before pushing himself over onto his back. Sam laughed and said, "Duke, you're too fat to roll over." And for a few seconds it seemed that he was...but then I watched with a huge grin as Duke's momentum froze momentarily, his front leg curled against his stomach and his back legs sticking straight up toward the roof, kicking and twisting...and then he rolled completely over. He was so happy he rolled several times before getting back to his feet, and then taking off running around the perimeter of the pen. And then, a couple of minutes later he settled down and stood quietly as I reentered the round pen, slipped his halter back on and we continued on our walk. I really enjoyed that, and look forward to the next walk I plan to take him on tomorrow night.
He was such a trooper during the treatment. He didn't fight us when we had to give him the bute. And as for soaking his hooves in the ice water, he absolutely amazed me and everyone else at the stable. Every evening Sam and I would bring a large bag of ice, and gently ask Duke to step into the tub we purchased for this purpose. At first he didn't quite understand what we wanted him to do, and he'd step out of the tub after a few minutes. But then he figured it out. It must have felt good to him, because he'd stand in that tub of freezing ice water for a half an hour. Every now and then he'd shift his weight and try to step out, but I'd press against his shoulder and he'd stop. One of the other horse owners who has the stall next to Duke's stood with us during a session and couldn't believe he stood so patiently and quietly for so long. At one point she remarked that her next horse is definitely going to be a Morgan. :)
And, in the next few days we're expecting two foals to hit the ground. One of the mares at the stable, named Texas, is due any day. And so is one of the mares owned by my friends who have the Morgan farm. They are expecting Martina to give birth either tonight or the next. Then next month another mare of theirs, Coalette, is expecting her second foal. When it happens is anyone's guess, but I will get photo's of Texas' baby because her stall and run is just across the hall from Duke's. Exciting times are ahead.
And best of all, my 30 day waiting period is almost over. Saturday, June 21st is the day I'll finally be able to take Duke for a little ride. I've watched him when he sees other horses being rode just outside his area. He always watches the other horse and rider intently, and whinneys. Then he'll look at me, and back at the horse and rider again. Last time I watched him, toward the end I could swear he let out a deep sigh. Duke thrives on interaction, and I think on some level he misses that. My friend Barb took a lot of photos the day we picked up Duke and I finally got copies of those pics from her. She got several really good ones.
Duke giving me a good sniff and a quick nuzzle.
Looking good enough to grace a magazine cover.
In the moment...big smile inside and out.
At Duke's new home, he's making new friends...
Duke's lady friend, Painted Lady.
Another friend, a two year old jenny mule.
Does this tail make my butt look big?