I bundled up and went out with my book, folding chair, and lighted baseball cap in hopes of spending 30 to 60 minutes of undemanding time with the horses. It was 11:30pm when I got to their night turnout and I thought good, I won’t be competing with their dinner. I can just tuck in by that tree and read and we’ll all drowse together.
I didn’t realize I would be competing with the boredom of the midnight pasture. I barely found my dog-eared page when Rock was over chewing on the posts of my chair, whuffling my hair, licking my jacket, and nuzzling my shoulders. I waved my arms around to stop him from chewing the chair, but then it became a game not of “how do I keep her arms still” but rather “how do I make her wave her arms.” Any time I wasn’t flapping, he was chewing. He even lowered his head so he could chew the chair legs when my elbows made it uncomfortable to chew the seat back. I tried projecting driving energy at him but he was behind me and I was not effective.
It was the sit-down equivalent of porcupine game, and waving my arms might as well have been moving my feet.
At the same time, Salsa came up in front and stared. We’ve been working on turn-and-face-is-the-only-safe-place, and I guess he took the lesson to heart. Stare. Stare. Stare. Stare. Stare. Eventually, tentatively, a tiny pony muzzle found its way to my book and blocked my view. I petted it.
Eventually, I gave up on reading — I think I managed two pages the entire time — and scratched Rocky on the face, muzzle, and neck. Then I carried the chair and blanket back outside the gate. I can read standing up and I could lean on the tree…which of course made Rocky start backing up, gently and carefully, for a butt scratch. I spent the last 15 minutes alternating between scratching his buttcrack and scratching Salsa along his crest and shoulders.
I remember a time when Rocky didn’t want to be near me, and when he withdrew inside when I sat down in his pen. This was much better and it warmed my heart, if not my fingers or toes.