As a result, I try to avoid walking for long periods of time. This gets a little problematic though when I have to go searching through the pasture for the horses. The pasture is about 58 acres of rugged terrain and the horses generally like to graze as far away from the feeding area as possible. Last week, while searching for them, they appeared from a stand of trees at the extreme north end of the pasture. I was already limping from the effort to find them. The horses trotted up to me to say hello and then thundered off toward the feeding area as they like to do.
As I contemplated the long uphill walk back to the stables, Duke who was at the rear of the herd, trotted up to me and stopped. It is unusual for a single horse to stay behind when the rest of the herd is galloping away. Nevertheless, Duke stood there quietly as I slipped the halter I was carrying over his head and tied the lead rope around his neck. I then positioned him in a low spot so I could jump on his back, as he is a tall horse and I don't jump as high as I once did. I managed to get aboard easily though as Duke did not move a muscle while I mounted.
Duke was eager to catch up to the herd, but as I had no bridle on him, I requested he walk. He did so obligingly, although he walked swiftly. He sped up when we descended into a gully as horses like to do in order to use their momentum to crest the other side, but otherwise, he remained at a walk for the whole ride of about a half mile. I was greatly appreciative of his assistance as it saved me a lot of discomfort.
It don't know why Duke stopped to give me a lift as he has never done it before. Maybe he just wanted me to bring him in first as he prefers a stall to the pasture. Or maybe he could see I needed a little help and, like a good horse, decided to provide it. The experience was just one of many that caused me to think that animals understand us better than we give them credit for.