“He’s a really nice guy,” she said. “No, I mean really – his name is Nice Guy, and he really is a nice guy.” Pat was talking about a chestnut gelding she had in the field. He needed a home. He had an injured foreleg from a pasture kick, but was sound. He was purchased off the track for resale, but because of the injury, Pat had to hang on to him a bit longer than she normally does when she sells Thoroughbred racehorses off the track. Unfortunately, Pat also discovered that Nice Guy was coming down off something — racetrack parlance is “crashing” — from a medication or some kind of treatment. She took his blanket off one day and most of his hair came with it, and the ribs were showing. Typically, this is anemia. But he was so sweet, so big and careful, and so congenial. In the pasture he was the bottom of the pecking order — and quite unconcerned about anything, even when the white salt block dumped over the fence near the shed terrified all the other occupants, Nice Guy didn’t give it a second look.
We were standing out in the field, talking. The herd leisurely walked up to us. Pat loves to chat about what she does – find quality Thoroughbreds off the track and resell them. It’s an art she loves to practice. Nice Guy very quietly circled the herd and came around to me, and nudged me for a pet; I very absently started to pet his head and scratch his forehead, and Pat stopped – “He’s picked you,” she said. And he sort of did. When she brought him out of the barn today he looked at the trailer and the ramp and walked right in, grabbed a mouthful of hay from the haybag and knew he was going on a trip.
So here Nice Guy landed. He ate grass in the backyard while we called Mom and wished her a happy birthday, and while we did some chores, while we kept the curious Jack Russells away (if he is to be a hunt horse I don’t want them bugging him quite yet) and while we discussed what to call him for a barn name. He liked the grass. He thought he was to race I think and looked around for the track and barns….he whinnied after a fashion….and of course all of ours whinnied back. He was happy then. He ate some more. Finally I put him in his own paddock for the night and made sure the fence was turned on. He was a bit afraid of the electric. I pushed a feed tub out away from the fence for him and gave him some grain. He ate deliberately, and picked at the hay. He went down the field and grazed. He looked around as he went. Nice Guy, you are home.