When your used to seeing something everyday, you don't notice the gradual changes. Day by day littles thing happen, and they slide under your radar, maybe you notice but are oblivious to the whole picture changing, until some big event occurs to make you sit back,think and realize how big some changes have really been.
Last night I was unloading a small chestnut horse in the moonlight. The little horse just calmly backed himself out of the trailer and quietly walked back to the paddock with me. I took the halter off and he just stood there for a while as I scratched his neck and said goodnight.
This little horse takes everything in his stride, nothing to get upset about, calm, quiet and stoic, seems to be his motto. He's not stupid either but seems more to think about what's going on, weigh up the situation and react in a way that seems most logical to him. This scrawny little pony, who is still a baby at two and half, manages to bring this calm attitude and comfort to the horses he's around as well. So much so that he quite often is used as the baby sitter for the more brainless or highly strung horses on the property, despite his young age.
Over summer we have had School holiday horse camps on the farm, meaning each week a gaggle of giggling girls descend on us with their horses, for a week of riding, horsemanship and fun. One activity has always been to give some of the horses on the place a makeover. Washing, shampooing, brushing, hair spraying, plaiting, makeup (on the horse) and shining, the whole nine yards. Generally I don't use young horses for this, due to their unpredictability. But the little chestnut was different, and even though he's only ever had one person handle him before, stood quietly while a group of girls worked on him with brushes from all angles. He even seemed to enjoy it standing quietly and delicately sniffing the tops of the girls head as they crouched down scrubbing his white socks.
The reason though that I was unloading a horse with only the moon for illumination near the midnight. Is the little chestnut pony, is baby sitter to my colt, they are the same age, but the chestnut seems infinitely more calm and wise. So when the young stallion had to go on his very first ride in a truck to visit some girls, the pony went with him for support. While the colt trembled and worried about getting in the truck, the pony walked on and stood quietly waiting. Because of the pony the colt traveled beautifully, not even breaking a sweat. Arriving at the new place the huge young stallion at almost twice his size clung to the pony's side for security, and together they got to meet the girls, who completely intimidated the colt but not the pony.
We waited a few hours until the colt settled in his new surrounding. Loaded up the pony, and drove home again.
It was unloading in the dark that I really thought about it. This little chestnut pony, less than a year ago was a colt running wild. Eight months ago he was mustered off the mountains, put on a cattle truck and arrived on my doorstep. Six months ago he was still recovering from a massive head wound. Now he's the most trusted horse on the property, who is fussed over by little girls, babysits stallions, and goes on moonlit rides in horse trucks.
I never noticed before but little Oscar has come a long way.