Argo and I are working on a bond, slow as it may be. In the evenings while Argo is eating, I usually sit and watch him. I have been sitting near a panel of the pen and then each day slowly closing the distance between He and I. Well, Monday night, when I brought his evening hay out and placed it in his normal spot, I sat next to the tree which is about a foot away from his hay. Now keep in mind, when I say “I sat” it was more like a crouch down using the tree to brace my back. I have really bad knees, two surgeries on my right knee and one on my left knee. Needless to say, my knees are unreliable at times.
I was hesitant to sit all the way down. Several thoughts were running through my head as Argo was eyeballing me waiting for me to leave so that he could come and eat. Argo was standing about 10 feet away from me “blowing” quite loudly telling me to leave so that he could eat. Good grief what was I doing?
The thought passed through my brain, that he could take my not leaving, as a form of aggression on my part. Again back to the bad knees, if he were to say “charge me”, I would have no chance of getting out of the way if I would have sat down all the way, so there I was crouched down with my back against the tree, making sure my knees were in the most comfortable position, but yet easily (as well as could be expected) be able to get out of the way with out killing myself. Thinking to myself, this is crazy, I should just let him be and sit where I normally do. Then I looked at him, looking at me and his head was down to my level about six feet away. He was still “blowing” but not as loud, and his ears were forward. So he made a decision (hunger) and crept in to get a bite of hay. He took a bite and jumped backwards three steps. I didn’t move, nor did I look at him. I just ignored him. He came back for another bite, reached down took it and only took one step back.
I could see him out of the corner of my eye, studying me. His ears always stayed forward. His eyes were full of expression. The curiosity in him is amazing to me for a horse his age.
I continued to ignore him as he continued to eat his hay. He kept “blowing” very softly, still not totally comfortable with my being so close. I talked to him quietly, saying his name, telling him about my day. He watched me as he chewed his hay, as if he understood my babbling words. I looked at him as he ate and longed to brush him, he let out a large sigh as I was watching him.
I sat like that with Argo for some time until my knees could no longer hold up to the pressure. I finally gave in and just sat on the ground next to Argo’s hay. He looked at me as if to say “I was wondering when your knees would give out.” He never moved while I adjusted my body to a more comfortable position. I was turned kind of sideways to him, still in my somewhat “ignoring him” position, and that’s when it happened. Argo reached towards me and I felt his breath on my arm. Not a sniff, but an exhale. I looked at his eyes and they were warm and every so curious. No fear in them, just desire to figure me out. It took every fiber in me not to reach out to him, to touch his soft nose. I held back he is not ready yet. This is what the BLM people meant when they said let him come to me.
I just continued to sit there and get my emotions under control. I felt tears roll down my cheeks. If someone would have said to me that I would have gotten emotional over a horse breathing on my arm a year ago, I would have looked at them like they had grown a third head. Argo is a very spiritual experience; he is working his way into my soul.