A wet morning, turning windy, and colder. I would prefer, with a forecast of a hard frost in the night, to have both horses in some kind of horse clothing. But Tigger accepted a cover only last year, briefly, after his accident, when he was badly enough hurt not to resist as usual. As soon as he was better, he would not allow me to put it on. And he survived without it, of course. When I bought Rags, it was already warming up and no need for a blanket or even rain sheet.
But today I decided to see if Rags, temporarily confined in his stall with a couple of flakes of hay so that he couldn’t poach from Tigger and then go eat his private store, would accept the rain sheet. A handsome tan and brown plaid, which had been Kallie’s. Rags was clearly not familiar it, but let me rub him with the folded object and then allowed me to drape it gradually over him, in a somewhat disorganized way…slowly and talking about it, as he munched hay and looked back now and then to see what idiocy his hay-provider had come up with next. And so it went on (and I didn’t have a camera with me) and he went on eating hay until Tigger, not happy with the reappearance of the rain sheet, left the barn, and I let Rags out of his stall. Rags followed Tigger out, apparently undisturbed that the covering, a little long for him, flapped a bit in the wind.
Tigger was aghast! What had happened to his black and white friend? No more black and white but this, this almost monochrome THING on him that flapped and made a little noise and…AGGGGG. It was a horse, certainly, but…WHAT horse? Out of the monochrome was a black head in front, black tail behind, and four white legs. He pulled himself up into full Arab outline: arched neck, tail high, poised for either fight or flight, and approached Rags with great caution…first WHAT are you? And then WHO are you? His nostrils flared, flattened, flared again, fluttering in and out. Is it YOU? Could this possibly be YOU? Rags? My friend? Oh! Oohh, RAGS! There you are!
He had to go all around Rags, warily sniffing at the rain sheet. Both sides, the tail flap, and then forward again. When the two of them were nose to nose, Tigger’s pose of dramatically arched neck and Rags’ lower one was so…adorably cute. But it wasn’t that cold, and when I ran a hand under the rain sheet, Rags was warming up fast (too fast; in another ten minutes he’d have been sweating) so I took the rain sheet off and Rags stayed out in the wind with no sign of distress. Rags eats a LOT of hay, and has a longer winter coat than Tigger. So though he’s shorter, he’s a heat engine. But, since Rags will accept having the rain sheet put on, if we get serious cold again, I know I can put a cover on him. And if I put the rain sheet on and off every day “for practice” maybe Tigger will decide it’s not utterly evil. After all, Tigger spent most of the rainy morning in the barn with Rags. Willingly. Even when the rain was making serious noise inside the barn (metal roof, no insulation.)