I take my elderly mother shopping once a week. She finds the weekly shop quite difficult now, but still likes to be there to make her own choices rather than have me do it for her. We used to shop in our local 'village' but she started to find that too demanding this year - having to dodge in and out of several shops to get all we need - so we now go to a big supermarket where we can get everything. Lately we've been going early and having breakfast there before starting our shopping.
This morning we were just getting to the end of our meal when I had a call from my yard manager. It was about Dee. She'd had an altercation with another mare and the vet had been called. The other mare involved is 17hh - considerably larger than Dee - and shod on all four feet, whereas Dee is only shod on her front feet, so inevitably Dee had come off worse. It is possible that Dee started it - we shall never know - but certainly the other mare finished it.
The vet was due to arrive at any time, so we left doing our shopping and went straight over to the yard. Dee has a number of cuts on her hind legs, haunches and round her tail. She is clearly very bruised and in pain. The yard manager was concerned that she had been hurt under her tail as she had been bleeding there a lot. I made mum a cup of tea and found her somewhere comfortable to sit and went to talk to Dee.
Dee is not a demonstrative horse. She does not like to be fussed over and I've never really found a spot that she really likes me to rub, although she does like having her forelock combed. This morning however she was happy to receive some attention. I stroked her head and neck and she rested her head on my shoulder, relaxing so that I could feel the full weight of it. I stood with her in this position for quite a long time, feeling her hot, damp breath through my clothing, enjoying this quiet period of closeness. The bond between us is strong even though she doesn't often show it. I found it moving to sense how glad she was that I was there.
Eventually the vet arrived. A couple of the cuts are quite deep, but the vet decided not to stitch them, as they are on her legs where there is not much skin to stitch. There was nothing serious under her tail fortunately. I have medication to give her over the next few days and will be keeping her in of course. My poor mare. I'm sure she will be fine in a few days, but it is horrible to see her so uncomfortable.
At last we returned to the supermarket to begin our shopping again, a couple of hours behind schedule. Life will be busy for the next few days while Dee needs more attention than usual. Suddenly the regular routine of my life is disrupted and I am forced to be more present in the moment to flex with the needs of the current situation. As always, living with horses offers endless opportunities to remember to live with life as it actually is, and savour the present moment, rather than trying to live the life I might wish for.