Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Happy Summer for Argus & Valentino

I'm writing this from a kitchen table in Mocksville, North Carolina, where humidity hangs in the air like a filmy curtain, and I am hiding inside, avoiding the inevitable and most desperately-needed exercise. Fried chicken, hush puppies, gravy and grits have a way of navigating one's intestines and squishing straight through to the stomach and thighs, and I'm no exception. I swear, I would weigh 400 pounds if I lived here for long.

But I bear happy news, which I'll give first. Valentino, whom I profiled on the last two blog posts, has found an adoptive home, saving his tush from euthanasia. His new owners are Caroline and Patricia, a local couple who saw a flier that led them to Val. It was love at first sight (as someone said, the photo says it all), and now Valentino is happily ensconced at a nearby full-service equine retirement facility where he will live the good life in a large pasture with three other "active retirees" and see his moms weekly. I am deeply grateful to Caroline and Patricia, who are really fine, enlightened human beings, for making Valentino part of their family.

I worried about taking Val away from Argus, who looked up to the big bay horse like a big brother, following him everywhere. Valentino was the kind alpha leader, and all of the horses liked him. He seemed to make them feel safe as he led them around the pasture. Argus especially so.

Argus' twin and Best Friend Forever, Ridge, has been on stall rest again, having severely torn a tendon in his leg. We don't honestly know if he will make it long-term, but Ridge is such a bright spirit and so full of patience for the whole process, that I decided to give it a try. Ridge being my heart horse, my soul mate, and my best friend, it pains me to see him have all these problems. He misses Argus, and Argus misses him. They nuzzle over the fence. If Ridge recovers, he will be retired from riding, and then Argus will at last have a permanent pasture companion again.

Surprisingly, Argus seemed to take Val's leaving in stride, looking wistfully at the trailer as I led Val on, and then going back to munching his hay. Argus has been especially snuggly lately, coming to the fence for a scratch or a quick hug. He's usually a rather standoffish, "businesslike" horse, not very demonstrative, so we're all pleased by his friendliness. He loves his pasture, his "brothers" Odie the Mule and Indy The New Horse. He loves evenings, when we serve him a flake of alfalfa hay. He loves coming in for a good grooming, the girls brushing out his tail until it is like a massive curtain of snow white (Argus has an impossibly thick tail).

Argus never, ever fails to make me smile.

Enjoy your summer, wherever you are. Life is good, isn't it?