Red is a very intelligent and social horse who likes to interact with people and other horses. He told me today that he was feeling neglected. In fact, he insisted - very persistently - that he was being neglected.
Usually, my afternoon routine is that I groom Pie, put him back in his stall, and then groom Red and do something with him - ride, ground work, something. For several days now, I've been putting Red's ice boot on when I get to the barn, then grooming and saddling Pie, putting Pie back in his stall, taking Red out, grooming him, removing his ice boot and slathering on the Taumeel ointment, then putting him back in the stall, figuring he's been getting enough exercise for the the injured ankle already.
But no . . . Red begs to disagree. Today he practically had a tantrum. When I had Pie in the aisle grooming, Red was nickering, and pawing - at least he didn't kick off his ice boot. When I put Pie away after saddling him, and brought Red out to groom, Red seemed happy but restless. When I put him back in his stall, he started nickering and pawing again. When I took Pie out to ride, Red screamed, and screamed, and someone who was in the barn aisle said he was pawing and even banging on his stall door.
He was still at the stall door, demanding attention, when I brought Pie back from his ride.
So Red and I took a hand walk into the arena - when I put his halter on he practically stuffed his head into it. We did a little walking around - just a little - and then we just stood together in the middle, watching the couple of other horses being ridden. He was very clearly satisfied. He stood there without fidgeting, relaxed and happy. After a while, we went back to his stall and he happily dug into his hay.
Guess he needs a bit more attention, and to feel like he's doing something with me, even if it isn't much . . .