I peered inside the cavernous stock trailer. It was large enough to hold several head of cattle which made the tiny mare tied inside seem all the smaller as she stood looking at me, a curious expression on her face. Having come from northern Illinois, the mare still held on to her shaggy winter coat while the horses here in central Kentucky had already let go of much of theirs. She was soaking wet from the rain splashing through the ventilation slats on the upper portion of the trailer. Dirt and grime stuck to the mare’s wet coat creating tiny rivulets of muddy water, resulting in dark streaks of filth running down her spindly legs.
I stepped cautiously into the trailer, talking to the little mare. Her eyes widened as she looked at me but she did not show fear. I spoke softly to her as I slowly approached her left side and placed my hand on her neck. The mare pushed her muzzle toward me and I let her sniff my hands. Seemingly satisfied I was a friend rather than a foe, she took a half step back and waited for me to untie her. Together we turned and stepped off the trailer into the cold wind and driving rain.
“What do you think?” I asked him.
“Aaahroooooo-woooo!” Dief answered, wagging his stump tail slowly from side to side.
“I think so too.”
Together we walked to a small paddock with a run-in shed. There was a pile of fresh hay in the corner of the small, three-sided building and the little mare went right to it, eagerly lowering her head to have a taste. I could see her ribs under her wet coat. I suspected winter had been tough on her. Her shoulders and hindquarters were slab-sided and underdeveloped. After eating a few mouthfuls of hay she walked over to me, stretching her neck while lifting her muzzle up toward my face. I blew softly into her nostril; she breathed in my scent before returning to her hay, daintily selecting a few long stems, chewing and swallowing them before taking a bit more.
“Aahrooo-ooo!” He yodeled at me.
“Yeah, I’m ready,” I said. “Let’s go.” I went through the paddock gate securing it behind me. Dief fell in line at my heels as we walked across the barn yard to my truck.
“Oooo-oooo” Dief yodeled softly.
“I agree,” I said with a smile.