Gabe is a thoroughbred and ex-racehorse. He came to the ranch with a stifle injury that ended his racing career. But Gabe still loves to run. Maybe its the wind in his mane, or the feel of this tail streaming out behind him. Whatever the reason, it’s fun to see him gallop around.
Gabe didn’t always run. When he first came to the ranch, his injury kept him to a lame walk. The first time I saw him running, was about a year after he arrived. He ran in with the herd at that time, but used only 3 legs to do it. Since then, I have seen him running more and more often, and his gait has slowly improved.
In spring, he made my day by showing me some of the old Gabe. There was a storm rolling in; the sky was cloudy and the wind was up. It called to the horses, in the way storms do, and they all started running in a big loop around the flat pasture above the creek. It looked like they were having some fun. Gabe cantered easily with them as they looped around once, and then again. As the other horses in the herd settled back down to a walk, Gabe responded to some inner call that only he could hear; he wanted to run some more. He trotted away from the herd, with a big floating trot, to the beginning of a sloping flat field that extended from the windmill to the treeline. There, at the windmill he let himself go. His hind legs reached deep under his belly, and dug into the spring grass as he let himself run. His head stretched out in front and he let his tail stream behind him. His front legs reached out to cover as much ground as possible. He flew. All alone, he raced over the pasture to the far end. When he approached the far tree line he finally came to a beautiful dancing stop. His head was high and his nostrils flared as he blew his air out in a big huff. Then he turned and walked back to the herd. As he walked he had a little hitch in his stride. It was not the free and loose walk he had recently been enjoying, but he looked high and happy. The run had cost him a little bit in his stifle, but I think he might have considered it a fair trade. Gabe loves to run.