Something’s happening... there is something in the air; the horses are acting out all over the place.
Maybe they sense the teetering of spring about to show it’s welcome face, maybe it’s the pull of the moon or maybe it’s just that their as bored and tired of the weather as I am. For the last several weeks, the snow, melt, snow pattern has created layer after layer of ice and frankly, it’s wearing on all our nerves. The horses tip toe around trying to walk on the mounds of snow where it has drifted to avoid the large patches of ice. I can’t blame them if they are going a little stir crazy. Winter in the Flathead is a tough season. Unless you get to the top of Whitefish Mountain to get above the inversion and clouds, we don’t see the sun for months. S.A.D. is real phenomenon here.
So , while I am ready to crawl into a tanning bed and order up a Prozac smoothie, the horses have different ideas about things and giving me their own dose of anti-Seasonal Affective Disorder.
They have recently seen fit to make a gate a new pasture toy. This gate allows access between pasture, water and barns for three of the horses, Rebel, JB and Brego, aka, the Renegades.
Every morning, the gate is closed, and someone is locked out from access to water and shelter. I am not shutting the gate. Not only is the gate closed, it’s latched, which is not an easy thing to do, given the configuration of the gate. This little bit of playfulness was comical in the beginning, but honestly, it’s beginning to grow old when I no sooner go out to re open it and an hour later, it's shut again. At first it seemed like Rebel and JB were always locking themselves in and leaving Brego out, with no access to water or shelter. But I was wrong. It’s been Brego all along. I caught him in the act. He probably does it to be left alone, since he is the low man in the group. Of course, I wonder if he realizes he can’t access the good stuff when he shuts the gate?? Oh well, I guess he’s willing to sacrifice for a few hours of peace. The gate also happens to be a homemade wooden gate, and a nice one at that, at least it was….. Wood doesn’t hold up to horses teeth real well, so the top of the gate is chewed up. Looks like a bunch of beavers got a hold of it. Very LARGE beavers.. This past weekend, I finally had had enough of the antics and got out a drill, drilled a hole in the side of the barn, and tied the gate off, using baling twine of course!! It was all I had handy at that moment… We’ll see how long it takes Rebel now to untie it….
But that’s not all that has been going on. It seems they have also found a new game that they find most amusing; it’s something akin to a treasure hunt for JB’s feed pan. They hide it, I go hunting for it... Repeat....
and it’s rarely ever in the same place.
Every evening, I separate JB into the small corral so he can get his ¼ can of oats with his Farriers formula. Then later at night, I go back out and open the gate (different gate then mentioned above) so he can go back out to join Rebel and Brego in the pasture. Sometimes, I forget to grab the feed pan and put it back in the feed room while I am out there. (it's usually after 10:00 p.m. and I am tired and not thinking by then!!) The next evening's chore, it’s usually a 10 minute hunt for the feed pan.
I swear I can hear the three of them snickering at me as I wander around mumbling to myself, trying to find the feed pan.
On several occasions I have given up and just grabbed another feed pan, knowing the next day I will have a 50/50 shot of finding at least one of them. I will give them credit, they are very creative with their game. I have found the pan in some very strange places, like on the roof of the small run-in shed, (guess their working on their spiral throw or something) in the neighbor’s yard (going for distance there or trying to kill their Shepard possibly) in our ditch, buried in a corner of the barn under a pile of manure, and their most favorite..... at the bottom of the water tank…. Nothing I like to do better than go fishing in 40 degree water…
During one of the more recent sub zero days, I came home to find that they did some “remodeling” of things.... again… There is a wire gate that blocks the aisle way of the corrals from the north pasture. It’s not the best set up but its electrified wire and the fencer is working... They don’t ever touch it. Well, I have a feeling they were romping around, and judging from the hoof skid marks, bumped into it, and popped the whole thing apart. They have done this before. They have 3 acres to run, but they have to rush up to the gate …Luckily since its smooth wire and not a heavy gauge, it broke easily and there were no injuries. I was happy to see that. Of course, it is an aisle way, which means a long narrow passage. It’s about 10 feet wide, enough to get a skid steer through; but pile three rambunctious horses into that?? I am sure you can imagine. In all the commotion, someone must have gotten crowded a bit and managed to kick one of the lower rails and make it look like matchsticks. Fine job they did. No fixing that easily… So with frozen fingers, in the dark (just out of where the barn light shines of course) I set to work with my fencing bucket to reattach the wire gate…( note to self: First Spring project, get a new tall metal gate to put in place of the wire gate). Do you know how well wire bends in 10 below weather?? In my efforts to repair it to a somewhat workable condition, the new wire snapped 3 times trying to get it around the insulator, before I finally got something patched together enough. It would have to wait for a better job of it for a warmer day. I was thankful for the aisle way that day, because it has yet another gate, which is a metal gate that kept them from getting loose and running through the neighborhood.
Just noticed the daylight poking through the back of the large loafing pen as I pulled in the drive yesterday afternoon, in the shape of a perfect little hoof….
(deep sigh) Add it to the list of repairs…..Hope there’s something left standing of this place by the time spring does actually roll around…