Centering myself behind the horse as he walks away, bent
forward with my hands on my knees, staring his hips for
unevenness. Listening to his footfalls. Knowing he isn’t
quite right, I follow a few steps behind. He’s off but it
doesn’t show every stride. The gelding knows I’m watching
and the awareness changes his gait. He comes slower and
stops. Running my hand slowly down his leg, he pauses but
then offers his hoof, surrendering his first instinct to run.
It’s clean, no nails or sharp rocks. Returning his trust, I
gave his hoof back gently. He placed it carefully under his
shoulder, shifting most of his weight back on it, but not quite
all. There’s no heat in the leg, but he can rest a few days.
The lameness will show itself fully or his confident stride will
return. He arcs his neck to give me his eye, shining black
under a tangled gray forelock, for a long still moment as he
watched my movements; my effort to grow sound for him.
Anna Blake for Relaxed & Forward
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