“Bear … what have you done?”

Somewhere out in Poet’s Paddock (for that is what I lovingly call Shakespeare’s playpen), there is a chunk of skin — about 4″ by 1″ — with my horse’s hair on it.

Alas, a horse is a horse, of course, of course … 😦

I noticed as I was grooming him yesterday afternoon that his right foreleg below the knee was puffy. I felt around with my fingers. He flinched a little.

“What have you done, Bear?” I asked him in as stern a voice as I dare.

He gave me the wooly eyeball and stretched his neck out as he yawned.

I moved around to his left foreleg and crouched behind it to get a backward look at the afflicted right leg.

“Oh, Bear!” I wailed, the stillness of the frigid barn air amplifying my misery. “How did you do that?”

He bobbed his head up and down. Not complaining just … miserable. He’s not used to injury.

I reached out my hand and gently touched the area around an ugly red, but now dry (because of the cold), scrape that stretch from just below his knee to halfway down the inside of his cannon bone and neighbouring tendon and ligaments. It was puffy with inflammation. He flinched again, slightly.

I felt his left leg to compare. It was nice and smooth and tight. I patted it and stood up.

Bear didn’t need to tell me how he’d managed to hurt himself. I had a pretty good idea of  my own.

He and his buddy, Sam, had likely been play fighting to keep warm. I imagine Bear had been rearing at one point and as he was coming back to earth his left foot, with its metal shoe, came scraping down the inside of his right leg, tearing a chunk of his beautiful skin right off.

We’re lucky, I dare say, that the damage isn’t any worse.

I took a deep breath and wondered what to do next. In all the years I’ve had Bear he’s been an incredibly easy keeper. First aid has become fourth aid I use it so rarely. Trouble is now that particular nurturing muscle is, to put it lightly, weak.

I decided to summon Paul, the go-to guy at the barn, who was busy bringing horses in from the cold.

“What do you think I should do?” I asked, slightly bewildered.

He thought a moment. He is a gentle man of few words.

“Wrap him up. The cold weather will help.”

Now, I haven’t applied a stable wrap in years and I wondered, as we stood in the barn braced by the cold, if I would even be able to find my set of bandages. For a moment I felt frozen in time. Then, while Paul mulled where he might find some extras, I strode purposefully to the tack room and dug through the storage bin above my locker.

It didn’t take long to recover the four white cottons and bright red stable wraps neatly packaged and protected in a clear plastic bag at the bottom of the container. Thank goodness! It was like greeting an old friend you hoped never to see again because their presence always spells trouble. I had not looked at them, literally, in seven years, but in that moment I was relieved to have renewed our acquaintance.

But now I had to remember how to use them?

It’s important to wrap a horse’s leg properly so as not to cause any [further] injury. And not just one leg, but two! Both front legs needed to be wrapped to create stability. Horses, beautiful as they are, are full of design flaws. Two much stress on the compensating leg will mess it up too.

With cottons and bandages in hand I crouched down beside Bear’s right front leg. After some basic re-orientation with my tools, I began the unwieldy task of securing a cotton around Bear’s boo-booed leg. Then, carefully, I wound the wrap around it, at an even and firm, but not tight, tension. It should support the leg, not cut off circulation. When I was finished and satisfied with the result, I secured the bandage with masking tape. I surprised myself … the quality of the bandage was, I dare say after so many years, good.

Bear, bless him, was a brave boy. He stood quietly the entire time, only looking at me askance when the intervals between carrots were becoming too long.

When I was finished grooming, (and as is our usual daily routine because, I’ll admit, I spoil him rotten,) I soothed his spirits (and mine) by giving him a lavender aromatherapy facial massage. He loves that. And, once back in his stall, Bear happily indulged in his pile of precious hay and impatiently whinnied for his treat bucket as if nothing was amiss.

For my part, I guess, I shall have to stop by the tack shop on my way to the barn today and pick up some turnout boots. If I can’t trust him not to hurt himself he’ll need to wear suitable armour.

And, I dare say, I shall need to give my little darling a few more days to rest, relax and recuperate.

Truth be told, I have a feeling Bear knows exactly what he’s done … 😉


The miserable quality of the photograph says it all …

Poor Bear

Poor baby …

Nurture what you love …

Horse Mom


Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Peace and a Stable …

Beary Christmas

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

Mother Teresa


One of the things I love about spending time at the stable is its inherent peace.

I walk through the door and the only sound I hear is the contented munching of hay as the horses reverently indulge their favourite pastime.

Bear will spy me as I walk through the door and nicker to me a soft greeting that warms my heart.

“Hi, Mr. Bear!” I’ll respond happily, and while eye-balling me he’ll nod his head up and down a couple of times in acknowledgement and then return to the important task of eating.

Though the stable is cool at this time of year and the horses are all cocooned in their respective blankets and stalls, there’s a peculiar warmth that pervades.

Peace is warm.

There have been times in my life where the only place I could go to get away from the incessant chatter in my head was the peace and quiet of the stable. All troubles and trials seemingly melted into the ether as I turned my attention to whatever horse was put in my charge for my two-hour visit.

Of course, during the past several years it’s been Bear who has worked patiently, as only horses can, to heal and restore my heart, mind and spirit. In his presence I am attentive. I lose myself in caring for his needs — grooming his coat til it shines; picking out his stall if it needs it; spoiling him with carrots and stud muffins, adjusting his blankets, exercising him.

My reward is to be present in his presence.

It’s such a gift.

Sadly, not everyone can, or wants to, spend time in a stable with a horse hoping to find peace.

I’d like to suggest, however, that peace can be found in any moment where we are fully engaged — mind, body, and spirit — with someone or something we love, or, as Mother Teresa so beautifully explained it, with Nature. A walk in the forest, by the ocean, in the park, just listening to the silence that is and finding peace in the experience of being lovingly present.

Peace is born of love. Love warms our hearts. Warm hearts incubate feelings of peace and love which can then be shared with the lives we touch.

Fighting for peace is the ultimate oxymoron. We can only love peace into our lives.

Peace brings stability.

The story of Christmas begins in a peaceful stable. 😉

Warm wishes to you and your loved ones this Christmas season …

Nurture what you love … and in this may you find peace …

Dorothy (and Bear)
Horse Mom


Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2012