I sometimes wonder, if something happened and I wasn’t able to go see my horses for 6 months or a year, would they remember me?
A Standardbred named Lady had boarded at the barn for years with daily outdoor turnout in the same pasture as Az and was housed nightly in a stall across the aisle from him. About a year and a half ago, she moved to a different facility. A couple of weeks ago, she came back to High Country.
The day Lady came back, she walked out of the barn toward the pastures and gave a single neigh. All of the free grazing horses kept eating except for Az. He lifted his head, stared at her for about 30 seconds, and then walked over to her. There were a couple of squeaks and squeals in greeting and that was all. She was turned into her new pasture but became quite upset when she realized that Az wasn’t with her. He was free grazing on the other side of the fence – torn between staying close to Raspberry or comforting Lady.
The decision was made to turn Az and Lady into the pasture together to help her with the transition back. It was amazing to watch her completely relax when he was with her. For the first week they were joined at the hip, shoulder, and cheek in the field. Eventually, Lady began to find her place within her new herd and make some new friends. As she did, Az started to extend the distance he was able to graze from Lady without her getting upset.
Now that Lady is comfortable with her new herd mates in her new pasture, relationship status “complicated” is resolved: Lady still appreciates having Az with her but she no longer needs him glued to her side. This has allowed him to split his time between grazing the pasture with her, grazing the property with Raspberry, and spending his nights in his stall next to Angie. It’s a story of the importance horses place on their relationships with each other (and their humans).
Now I know. My horses would not forget me.