Well our prince is at an all time low. I don’t think he knows why he is miserable and out of sorts, but he sure is miserable and out of sorts.
After Waldo left, we tried Solo with a new buddy. Cloudy, a kind and gentle herd-mate of Waldo’s youth who has the same happy attitude to life in general. Poor Cloudy, by day three he wasn’t allowed in the shelter and he wasn’t allowed to eat anything. We had to rescue Cloudy and give him a more accommodating turnout buddy.
For the past four days Solo has been turned out on his own. He is eating well, looks great and is as miserable as hell. He has always been a sweet horse in the barn. Even when he was giving us lots of opinions under saddle, he has never been anything other than a gentleman indoors. After spending a week standing at the back of his stall with his head down when he is in, and being turned out on his own, yesterday he bit someone over the top of his door. An absolutely unheard of thing here at Hawkridge, and not something we would EVER have expected of Solo under any circumstances.. This is the horse that was being petted by hordes of schoolchildren at the Royal Winter Fair and putting his head down lower so that they could all reach. He has always been a bit of a cuddler.
It is not that he has suddenly become vicious, he is just desperately unhappy. This is an instance of a time in the life of a very sweet and gentle horse, where he could have ended up being misunderstood, treated as vicious, and perhaps staying that way. If he had been the one changing barns instead of Waldo, the same thing might have occurred at his new barn with people who didn’t know his past behavior, they would have assumed that he just had a rotten personality. I am sure he will get over this but I hate to see him so grumpy and down in the dumps.
His well ordered life has changed with a wallop and he is a very intelligent and aware animal. We are going to try him with another friend today. A young horse called Flanders who is not aggressive but is not likely to let Solo tell him he can’t have any hay. We will watch them for a long time when we turn them out, after associating them beforehand by placing them in a little two stall barn we have, that has bars between the horses. This way, they can both become comfortable with eating in a small space and are dependent on each other for company. Hopefully this time Solo will bond with his new companion. If this doesn’t work he will have to accustom himself to individual turnout. I hate introducing new turnout buddies, it’s very stressful for everyone concerned.
The other thing that will have to happen is that Solo must go back into work. We worked him for the few days before and after Waldo’s departure, but stopped because Selena has gone to the UK to have lessons (it’s a rough life….) with Carl Hester and other famous types, and I am riding everyone while she is away. The Florida horses will work right through Christmas and New Year so we decided that they could be the ones to have time off while Selena was away. Poor Solo, he is not enjoying time off without a buddy and I think he will be happier if he can look forward to throwing me around the arena for an hour or so a day. I can’t start him back under saddle until Friday, this week is already spoken for, in the meantime, I hope he can start getting over his despair by accepting a new buddy.
You know what’s really sad, he has stopped singing for his dinner, although he is eating well. He has always sung a ridiculous song of high pitched squeaks and squawks at dinner time, in the same way that some horses kick the door or whinny. I was going to video it and put it up on YouTube but he has not done it all week, I hope he doesn’t forget how to sing.