Have I ever mentioned that I love my horse? Well, I do. And today, love was put to the test. In a conflict between his best interests and my own selfish temptation, my love for him won, but it was a tough choice.
Today was an absolutely beautiful spring day. Yeah, I know the calendar says it’s still winter, and we may yet get some more winter weather, but today was spring. Arthur seemed to have made a good recovery from the mysterious liver ailment which knocked him out of commission for a couple of weeks. Last week, Dr. Bain theorized that we could be dealing with a bacterial infection in the bile ducts, and threw some antibiotics into his mix of medications. Maybe that was the trick, or maybe we just got lucky, but my boy seems like his old self.
In spite of his healthy appearance, full-throttle hunting so soon after an illness didn’t seem advisable. But a pleasant afternoon of hilltopping would provide just the kind of moderate workout he needed to ease himself back into action. And it would be better than not riding at all, or so I thought.
Arriving at the hunt, and quickly assessing who was riding where, I realized that putting Arthur’s interests first was going to take more willpower than I expected. And Arthur’s eager attitude, while certainly encouraging and refreshing, certainly didn’t make staying behind any easier.
It might almost have been an easier choice to stay home than to hang back and watch the first field leave us behind. More than once, I was sorely tempted to bid adieu to the hilltopping field and fly over a coop in pursuit of my hunting buddies. It would have been so easy to convince myself that Arthur would like that better too. And he probably would have. But he deserves more in return for his loyalty than larking around without a thought for his long-term well-being.
In spite of the fact that we would rather have been up front, we had a pretty good day. We had a couple of good views of hounds running a coyote. At the pace the first field was moving, we probably would have had to drop out at some point, as Arthur definitely wasn’t ready to keep that up. Instead, we finished the afternoon at a moderate pace and returned to the trailer safe and sound, once again demonstrating that sometimes long and slow is better than short and fast. And, by the way, I love my horse.