When you have a new and visually abnormal symptom, but when you're sound and comfortable, there can arise a situation where your human finds you less ready for a ride than, in truth, you are. There may come a day when you feel fit and eager, but when your human wants to cold-hose and hand-walk you. For the sound mount with the new cosmetic blemish, such as me with my thoroughpin, I offer these five strategies:
1. Gamboling and cavorting. This can involve galloping, if you are a horse of cheetah-like quickness, or trantering, if you are a mule who likes to err on the gentle side of things. It should involve things like propping and turning, leaping and jumping, and fast acceleration and braking, so as to demonstrate by hard use the suitability of your joints to their purpose.
2. Baleful braying. A plaintive cry at other-than-feeding-time will convey to your human the message that you want her company for more than just meal service and nursing . . . that you miss the companionable adventures you ought to have been having. Bray loudly, and bray often. When she walks away after a nice grooming and some flyspray, bray like your heart is breaking. She will see the hole in your heart where a ride should have been.
3. Shining. Few humans can resist the urge to tack up a rippling, glistening panther like me, Fenway Bartholomule, in my incoming summer coat. When your human arrives to groom you and to palpate your injury, stand firm for her examination and be unflinchingly glossy.
4. Being plump. There is a place in the human mind for thoughts such as these: "His fitness will suffer with too much time off. He's getting fat on air and cutting back on exercise will just make it worse. Joint strain isn't helped by extra pounds." If you're really eager to get back to work, steal the goats' hay, graze at every opportunity, and think fatty thoughts.
5. Compromising. If you cannot convince your human to take you trotting on the gravel roads or to take you cantering on the pipeline trail, and when she will not be swayed to let you summit precipitous slopes, be willing to meet in the middle. Ground-driving is my favorite compromise activity, because it is new enough to be intellectually stimulating without being physically strenuous. It's no endurance ride, but it beats hanging about like an invalid!
Now, having suffered the humiliation of an ice wrap for half an hour this morning, I'm ready to negotiate. I'm off for a bit of frolicking, followed by an hour or two of being chubby. In the meantime, FarmWife has been on the phone with her very reasonable vet who assures her that I am probably going to be fine.
Your SOUND AND HEALTHY friend,