Thanks for all the concern, Bentley is going to be just fine. Vet says its either a cold or respiratory infection. He has given us antibiotics and cough syrup, and did a blood test just to be sure.
Because of the meds, Bentley has been started on a tiny bit of grain. The cough syrup tastes terrible, there was no way we would be able to syringe it into him, but he just seems so darn happy to be getting grain, he doesn’t seem to notice that it is laced with foul tasting meds. Gobbles it down and licks the bucket clean every time.
He is also not allowed to have round bales in the meantime, so he has been introduced into a new clique of horses: Sterling and Tinkerbell owned by Caitlin and Emily Taylor. Bentley is already familiar with these horses as we frequently ride at the same time, and Sterling has never been subtle with his man-crush on Bentley, so we had high expectations.
When we introduced them, Sterling, who is very vocal, would trumpet squeal several times and raise his front leg, but would never strike Bentley.
They chased each other around the paddock, playfully bucking and squealing for a while, then settle into the play where they stand still and nip at each others faces, whacking each other with their heads like giraffes. Then they would run around again for a while and continue this pattern.
After about 20 minutes, they decided it was love and started mutual grooming each other. So cute, it lasted about 2 minutes.
There is a shelter in this new paddock, which made for great hide and seek. Sterling would go around the far side, then you would see Bentley get that gleam in his eye, arch his neck, and trot around to the other side to surprise sterling. They would both take off galloping around the paddock happily. Tinkerbell was added at a later time, but I am told she instantly loved Bentley too, while wasn’t playful, they happily enjoyed each others company.
It is a good arrangement. Apparently Sterling was a lot more sane in his next lesson too. He just needed to get some of that extra energy out. Its good for Bentley too, I would always feel bad when he was out in the other paddock, I would see him playfully nip at the other horses, but they would just pin their ears, not wanting to play. So it was really nice to see him being a young silly horse again.