One of the benefits of going to California all the damn time this Spring was being able to drop in on Murray a couple of times. The first time I visited he was VERY wary. But after he realized it was me, and that I was delivering many and varied delights in the form of carrots and scratches in all his favourite places, he capitulated and stood still for a photo.
it will shock nobody to hear that he’s still a dweeb
Murray loves living in pasture. Shocking, I know. But he’s still Murray, and he’s not quite living up to his 2019 goals. Namely that he’s not tooootally behaving himself.
First, he was a huge pain in the ass to the farrier. In the beginning he wouldn’t even let the farrier touch him at all. They worked up to doing his front feet just fine, but Murray still had a major problem with the farrier touching his back feet. I tried to help out and manage him during a farrier appointment in May, but he was beyond bribery at that point. The farrier was like “how do you feel about drugs?” and I was like “drugs are great.”
And that little fucker let the farrier give him a light sedative with no complaints, then went right to sleep for a hind trim. He acts up juuust enough to get drugs from the farrier, and then goes right to sleep. He’s basically a junkie.
He’s also a bit of a pain in the ass to my MIL about being caught. When Murray first got to the ranch he was RUDE about EVERYTHING (um…. surprise?). So MIL was doing ground work with him a few times a week to make him a bit more respectful. After which, he would go on a bit of a strike about being caught. Even with a grain bribe he can be a bit iffy for her.
got a mane trim because I couldn’t handle the feral hair situation
Bizarrely enough, the horse now stands in the cross ties. For like, an hour at a time if needed. As feral as he is, apparently cross ties are now acceptable.
Visiting Murray is truly bittersweet. I don’t think I’ve gotten through a visit without having a bit of a cry. When he’s 600+ miles away, it’s easy to just think of his recalcitrant and difficult behavior and conformational (and mental) challenges. But in reality he’s still a cute, sweet, goofy, hilarious horse. He’s not even a bad-looking horse. There are many more hideous horses out there successfully working and competing with their riders. It doesn’t feel fair. But, life’s not fair.
Fortunately, it’s very clear that retirement is what he needs. He’s pasture sound, but he’s not sound sound. He’s perfectly comfortable and happy in doing whatever he wants all day, but his short-stepping behind has become more pronounced. That helps, because it erases all the “what ifs” from my mind.
Next time I visit, I’m going to start teaching him silly tricks like bowing or Spanish walking (or lying down even?!!) for fun. Just because he’s retired doesn’t mean he gets to escape all torture.