If you want to understand how animals flow in and out of the place where I live, you have to pay close attention.
In the past few months, our entourage has expanded, which puts us up to nine four-footed beings under the care of four humans, not always a great ratio.
The newest addition is a matronly Tennessee walking horse named Anna Grace.
She’s tall and proud and moves with that elegant gait that sets apart her breed. She is almost entirely black, with some small white spots on her back that I wouldn’t swear aren’t age-generated rather than genetics.
She is, after all, about 26 years old — or pretty darned old in human years.
When she arrived at Little Bit O’ Farm this spring, Anna Grace didn’t seem so tall and proud.
She was emaciated, her ribs showing in that manner that indicates sad neglect, and she seemed to drag along with a sadness that made you wonder if her next step might be into a grave.
Anna Grace was placed with us by those kind miracle workers at Red Dog Farm in Summerfield. They had rescued her from the neglectful owners, and she needed to be nursed to health.
Where better than at a home where adopted animals roam?
So she arrived with a regimen. We put her in a 2-acre paddock that gave her lots of grass and room to roam, and she was put on a diet that contained enough vitamins and calories to propel a race horse or an Olympic weight lifter.
Twice a day, in addition to all she grass she wanted to eat, Anna Grace was served a concoction of high-protein grain geared for senior horses mixed with something called beet pulp, about 5 pounds in all, and then that was saturated with fresh water before being served to her.
And she quickly became used to that diet.
Each morning and evening she made it a habit when she saw humans around to jog up the fence along the driveway to just across from the garage. She would neigh loudly and sometimes even sprint back and forth like a dog wanting his bowl refilled.
When she saw the mixing bucket come out and her personal caterer headed for the hose and feed bucket, she would sprint back in that direction, then spin and sprint back and forth a couple of times, again bucking and sometimes expelling some gas. Did I say she acted like a dog?
Now Anna Grace is a sweet and lovable horse who is used to being around humans, but don’t you go trying to pet her head while she is starting to eat. She wants to concentrate on her primary role in life, and if you touch her, she yanks up her head as if to rid it of marauding horse flies. Read more…