YOUR HORSE LIFE
grass to rejuvenate.
Sam, at 35 years old, has always
loved to roll in the muddiest spot he
can find, and if he’s out in the pasture, he will paw at the grass to create
a dust bowl, almost sighing with
pleasure as he wiggles and squirms
while rolling, scraping both sides of
his face into the dirt.
Sam’s sight is very limited in his
remaining eye due to all his past eye
issues, but he has a good memory and
the ability to see light and dark, so he
manages to go in and out of his stall,
find his water and feed buckets, and
locate anyone who is holding a carrot.
With the aid of Ali, Sam wanders
around their pasture finding the
choicest of grasses without walking
into the fence, and follows her in
when I call them.
It’s a match made in heaven that
may go on “forever”—whether my
husband likes it or not!
Freelance writer VIRGINIA CLEMENS is a
dressage rider and longtime horse owner.
who asked, “I ride him twice a year whether he likes it or not!”
/ Finding a Friend /
Ali, who had been shown in dressage and was now retired, had always been the
“low man on the totem pole.” But she met her match with Sam. He had equally
as many (if not more) scars on his legs and flanks as she did, the result of numer-
ous kicks and bites from their more aggressive pasture mates from the past.
After her rescue, she was destined to be turned out alone—until she met Sam.
For the first several weeks after Ali arrived to board with us, I kept them in sep-
arate pastures, but they were stall neighbors. They sniffed each other through the
bars separating them in the stalls, but ignored each other when out grazing, even
though they could have easily interacted over the fence.
Finally, I decided to try them together in the small paddock at the back of the
barn. With a hose attached to the spigot, ready to help separate them if things
got out of hand, I first led Sam from his stall to the small, fenced-in grassy area
and then brought Ali to join him. They took one look at each other and promptly
put their heads down to chow down on the rich grass, neither one at all interested in the other. Ali kept one ear warily cocked toward Sam, but when nothing
happened, she relaxed, and they actually moved closer together and were soon
grazing side by side.
/ A Breath of Fresh Air /
I’m a firm believer in older horses being allowed as much outside time as possible to move around so their joints don’t stiffen up. As with older people, most
equine senior citizens suffer from various degrees of arthritis. Since Sam and Ali
seemed to accept one another without any problems, I put them together and
alternated them between our two pastures every couple of weeks to allow the