If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I have quite a little menagerie here. In my animal loving prime, when I had a lot more energy than I do now, we had 5 Scottish deerhounds, one Brussels Griffon, two cats, two guinea pigs and eight horses, at least one of which I kept a secret from my husband who I feared would think that perhaps things were getting a little bit out of hand. One day at the barn, he spotted a horse that he just KNEW I would love, and he inquired of the trainer whether the horse was for sale. She didn’t quite know how to tell him that I already owned that particular animal.
The zoo has been winding down a bit here, mainly because the kids are gone and I am less prone to temptation without their little voices clamoring for that kitten for sale in the parking lot at the grocery store. The cat with nine lives, eighteen year old Timmy Tom, was put to sleep in August when we could not control his thyroid disease, weight loss and vomiting. Many of the horses have moved on to greener pastures elsewhere, where new children could learn to ride from the safety of their well-trained backs, and some of the best have passed on to that great green pasture in the sky. Stormin’ Norman, the little Lipizzaner who carried my daughter through many a dressage test, left in late June to be leased by a beginning dressage rider. In August she called to say she wanted to extend the lease to six months.
So I was surprised yesterday to get a call from the trainer to say that they would like to send twenty four year old Norman home. She said that no matter how much she fed him, she couldn’t keep weight on him, and besides, an old stifle problem was recurring. Fearing the worst, I went over to the boarding/training facility last night to have a look at him. Now, mind you, this is a horse who has lived in my back yard for the better part of twelve or thirteen years. Always a personable animal, with a beautiful expressive face and eyes, he knew me as well as any horse can know a person. So I was surprised last night when I approached him with a bag of carrots and I heard no welcoming whinny. His head shot up, and if horses can glare, this one positively glared at me. His expression, plain as day, said, “Where the heck have YOU been, and when are you getting me OUT OF HERE?!” And then he munched on his carrots. He looked a little thin, but otherwise fine.
Norman’s coming home to join twenty eight old Dash on Wednesday, and I must say I’m glad. The two old souls deserve a nice retirement, despite the fact that they really don’t like each other. And Labor Day weekend I visited a friend in Albuquerque who had a litter of eight week old deerhound puppies– it was hard to leave without one but they were all spoken for. One day soon, I might be hearing the pitter patter of new little feet around these parts. After all, what’s a new carpet for?