This afternoon I went over to the corral to let Geronimo out. He had been working for over four hours to eat his two-bucket ration of senior horse feed, something that’s so full of nutrition it makes him look like a real horse. He has all his incisors so he can bite things off, but the few molars he still has don’t match up. Chewing is not possible, so swallowing lots of pellets and ground-up grains works to keep him healthy. He still acts like he’s chewing, though, probably just a habit.
A few days ago I had sprayed him with fly repellent which is effective for several days. There is a species of smallish black flies that land in hordes, covering parts of the horse and making it look black. His normal brown coat is nice and shiny, but the flies can change that quickly. It’s funny—when he shiver-shakes, as only a horse can do, the flies take off and he’s a brown horse for a few seconds. Today I noticed that some new flies, very large yellow ones, were bothering him. I was familiar with the really nasty black “regular” horse flies which are about an inch (2.5 cm) long, but these big yellow ones were new to me. We have had smaller yellow flies before, and they pack a painful bite. I went to the barn and grabbed the big bottle of repellent and started to spray his back and belly. Flies flew off in clouds. The yellow ones were especially bothered by the spray and were very angry that I had made their meal ticket off limits to them. So what did they do? They came after me! I, with a bald pate, a thin t-shirt, and shorts and sandals made a very tempting target. I tossed the repellent into the barn, slammed the door, and took off running back to the house.
Felt good. I hadn’t run in months.