A Tank Update

February 18, 2019

Today is my horse Tank’s 24th birthday! As a registered American Quarter Horse, he “officially” turns a year older on Jan. 1, but I still celebrate his actual birthday—or foal date, as it’s known in the horse world.

As you may remember, back in November I moved him to a new boarding barn. This was wrenching for me, and I was worried about how he’d handle the change. We’d been at our old boarding barn for all of our 15 years together. Happily, he’s done very well overall.

The new barn was still under construction when we moved, but it was completed enough for the horses to move in about a week ago. It’s a big, airy space (and smells like new wood). Tank seems to really like his new stall.

Especially the way it tastes. (Face palm.)

We’ve faced a few challenges since the move—he developed a case of hives, and then a painful hoof abscess—both things have happened before and aren’t related to his new home. I’m also still trying to develop a routine of care and exercise for him. Most recently, though, he spooked one day while I was riding him and threw me. I pulled muscles I didn’t know I had trying to stay on, but I wasn’t seriously hurt. (Apparently there were horse-eating monsters in the woods bordering the field in which we were riding!)

Tank’s new schedule will involve being stalled part of the time and being turned out into various paddocks the rest of the time. He’s still getting used to being turned out in different areas with different horses nearby—he makes it clear he DOES NOT like being the first one turned out or brought in!

All this adjustment to different conditions can be hard on a horse, just like change can be hard for most people, myself included. I try to help him by going to see him as often as possible and not making any other changes in his management.

And while it may feel uncomfortable at first, change can also be beneficial. For horses, it can provide new stimulation and learning opportunities. For humans, change helps us be more flexible and creative. And, really, we’d become bored if nothing ever changed.

I’m trying to make the best of the recent changes in my life, and Tank is, too (I assume. He seems like he’s trying to understand what’s happening, and communicate his feelings about it!) Eventually, these changes will become the new normal…and then any further changes may feel uncomfortable! 

What changes have you experienced recently? How have you been coping?

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  1. I’m so glad you weren’t seriously hurt when you fell off of Tank. That must have been pretty scary as it was happening. One change we’re looking forward to is our son and his family are planning on moving back to Oklahoma this summer. It will be so wonderful having them so much closer.

    1. Cheryl--It was more embarrassing than scary, to tell you the truth. I was thinking, "You must be kidding me" as I fell, seemingly in slow motion, because I haven't come off in a very long time. It was when I stood up that I realized I'd hurt myself!

      That's so great that your son and his family are moving closer to you! It's very hard being away from parents, as I can attest.

  2. I LOVE your horse!! "Dear Tank, I love you. "
    You are a caring human, I'll bet he appreciates that. I'm glad you weren't hurt. I actually don't have a lot of changes happening at the moment, it's very nice. I'll take a new "Color Class" in March, I guess that will be a change...

    1. Aw, Rita, I'll tell Tank you love him!

      I do so much enjoy those times in life when things are stable (haha--no pun intended)--I breathe a big sigh of relief!

  3. Kathy really happy that you were not hurt badly when Tank got spooked. He is beautiful. Animals are really good at adjusting - in some ways I think they are better at this than folks :)!

    1. I agree, Debbie--I think I stressed a whole lot more about Tank's move than he did.