A few weeks ago, I noticed that Slick was once again showing signs of having sand in his gut.
After the last bout, I put ample minerals in his paddock – but I think his favorite pastime, hoovering the ground of his pasture, is his downfall…
Anyway, I know I have to keep on top of it so when I saw the tell-tale signs, I immediately put him in the barn with Tess. I figured he could keep her company while I fed him soaked beet pulp pellets, psyllium, tapioca pearls (my old-tyme vet remedy) and Chia seeds for a few days.
SLICK WAS HAPPY!
Slick was more than fine with being in the barn. He could keep an eagle eye on the feed room at all times. And, he had his harem of 1. No other males. Just the little King and Tess, his Queen.
Besides, he was being fed ‘treat’ food (his slosh of sand cures) 3 times a day! Slick was in pony heaven!
But, Dodger wasn’t happy. No, he wasn’t happy at all.
DODGER, THE TRUE PONY KING
Dodger is the head of the Motley Crew of Shetlands and Donkey. He is their benevolent leader.
Dodger protects his band and makes sound decisions… (Slick, being the hothead, always makes the wrong decisions.)
It never occurred to me to worry about Dodger if I took Slick away.
I was too busy worrying about Slick.
But I was wrong.
Dodger was very, very upset that I had moved Slick to where he couldn’t see him.
I was so concerned about Slick and settling him into the barn, I didn’t notice that Dodger refused to eat his dinner (never happens). He had retreated into their shelter.
When I emerged from the barn and saw that Norma was eating alone, I became alarmed.
Where in the heck was Dodger?
And then I saw him. He was holed-up in the shelter.
Clearly, something was very wrong.
I walked over to him and asked him what was up…?
He looked at me and I just knew –
He was fearing for his buddy. He was upset because he couldn’t see his best frenemy of 18 years.
How naive of me to think I could just take him away.
OK, I’LL FIX IT
So, not wanting Dodger to colic (he sucks air and puts himself into fits when things change around him), I grabbed a tiny halter and led him to the barn.
As soon as he knew where he was going, he nickered to Slick.
His longtime companion nickered back.
Dodger picked up the pace and practically dragged me into the barn. He marched right up to Slick’s stall and raked the gate with his hoof.
DODGER: “LEMME IN THERE!”
ME: Hold on, wait a minute.
TESS: “You’re bringing in the other one?! Oh lordy. I won’t get any sleep tonight.”
ME: Tessa, be kind, OK? Dodger was going to make himself sick without Slick and we cannot have any more sick horses.
TESS: “Oh awlright. You’re not gonna bring in the donkey are you? You cannot bring in that loudmouth. I put my hoof down on that.”
ME: No donkey – yet. Let’s see how this goes…
As soon as I led Dodger into Slick’s stall, I could feel a blanket of peace and calm fall over the both of them.
I guess I never really knew how bonded they were.
I’ve put Dodger in the barn without Slick and Slick was fine. But, when recollecting it, Dodger had always been in the aisle so he could see Slick.
Now I know that if anything happened to Slick, not only would I be devastated, but Dodger would be inconsolable.
Realizing this about Dodger made me love him even more. He is so quiet, honest, noble and kind.
And he loves his friend…
What a great pony indeed.