The good news is that Cornelius is doing wonderfully under saddle again. Mary came and rode him on both Tuesday and today and he did great. He's hardly been ridden in over a year (much to my shame), but she said that he was eager to go and loving getting out and about. On Tuesday she only rode him in the arena and the neighbor's property, but today, after a bit of a warm-up, they took off down the road. She walked him down the drive, over the culvert and past lots of things he'd never seen.
Things like a small black and white pig that saw him from across a pasture and then squealed with joy to see his equine long-lost cousin. He hurtled towards him as fast as his little piggy trotters would take him. Corny was a bit startled, and did some snorting and backing up as the pig galloped towards him. However, once the porker stopped at the fence, Corny was cool. He walked up to the fence and he and the pig put their noses together and Mary says they had a conversation. The pig seemed absolutely delighted to meet the horse -- he grunted and schnuffled with joy. Then the other neighbor's dogs came running up (one is a huge spotted Great Dane). Corny did the meet and greet thing with them too and everyone was happy.
Mary is so rational and amused by things like this. I'm doing my best to drink in her calm, assertive energy so that I can react like she does to things like enthusiastic pigs and Great Danes. Corny really is a good boy. I'll be having my first Western lesson on him this weekend -- after riding on a tiny dressage saddle for several years, I'm looking forward to being back on a solid piece of leather with a horn in front. Just in case.
I'll take pictures!