After Jackson's escape from his round pen, I thought a lot about his situation from both a medical and a mental health standpoint. He is, of course, a medical mess. His winter coat is particularly heavy this year, directly related to his Cushing's. He turns slowly and painfully, and walks only in straight lines. He is uncomfortable, if not in pain. Some days, definitely in pain. On good days, just uncomfortable. His white line is not improving. I worry about him making it through the winter. I've known for a number of years that his days are numbered; this year I feel that number shrinking before my eyes at a rapid speed.
He can't be cured of anything, except, maybe, the white line. If he stays in his round pen on dry ground for six to nine months, we might beat the white line. He will still be gimpy -- he will still have navicular and laminitis. He will never be sound or completely comfortable.
Being confined to the round pen feels cruel. He hates it. So, I decided to give him time outside, in the open air, on the almost-dry sand in the small arena, every few days. It has made a huge difference in his attitude. It may mean that we don't beat the white line. It may mean his remaining days shrink even more -- but misery is not a life. In the arena, he sweats a bit in his heavy coat even though the weather is not warm. He nibbles on the grass trying to grow through the sand and around the perimeter. He rolls. And he meets me at the gate at the end of the afternoon, his eyes bright and his ears pricked forward, ready to go in for dinner.
He thoroughly enjoyed his photo shoot with Camille. The portrait shots were taken by Kyle's girlfriend, Ana, when she was up visiting a few days after Christmas. She has a very cool portrait setting on her iPhone.