In one sense, it doesn't take much to throw Tonka's digestion out of whack. When I got home last night I could see that he was walking gingerly, and a quick examination found heat in both his front hooves and a bounding digital pulse above his front fetlocks. Although he's moving better today, these are typical signs of a mild laminitic episode. Chances are that Raven abandoned her beet pulp to him yesterday morning, and that they both spent the afternoon browsing the tiny shoots of sweet spring grass popping up in the (small) dirt area of the paddock. A neighbor also tells me that she and her toddler had stopped by to feed them some carrots. I fear this perfect storm of simple carbohydrates was enough to mess with Tonka's hind gut and that grazing in the muzzle I recently purchased simply won't be safe for him. Beet pulp will be off Raven's menu until we get a feeding enclosure built, and I think that I will hang a bucket of alfalfa cubes on our fence with a sign asking passersby not to feed the white horse anything else. It makes me really happy that our neighbors love our horses, but I also prefer to know what's going down Tonka's totally indiscriminate gullet.
In another sense, it doesn't take much to get Raven galloping. We headed out for a couple of solo hours this morning and found a nice dirt road where she could let loose. What fun! She is such a fantastic, willing little horse and I feel so lucky to have found her. Even when she's afraid she will try anything that I ask of her with enthusiasm and forward momentum. My only complaint thus far is that she tends to wander out of a "whoa" when she wants to go, but I never let her get away with it, and I suspect she'll stop trying as we get to know each other better. After a week of settling in her personality is shining through and I love it.