Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Horse Antics - The likes of which may be the death of us

I sit here, heart still pounding and fingers shaking, not even knowing how to begin this entry.

It started just about 10 pm when the doorbell rang. This causes our dogs to go into a total frenzy, Ginger and I were both in bed, and Dave was nowhere to be found I discovered. Not exactly the state you want to be answering the door in. Got to the door and the girl apologized for getting us up, but our horse was loose. Talk about deja-vu. I just stared at her shocked. "Which one?" I asked her. I'm not sure why this always seems to be the most important thing to ask in this situation. She shrugged, but then said he had white flecks on his butt. Romeo! She said he'd been on the road side of the pond, outside of the fence. She was very specific about him being on the other side of the pond, so we figure she must be a local. I thanked her profusely and promptly shut the door in her face. (gotta stop doing that!)

Ginger and I got dressed, and I noticed the light in the barn was on so I called Dave. I told him we were heading down to the road. Opting not to stop by the barn, we grabbed the dog leashes and flashlights and jumped in the car. At the end of the driveway we confirmed that the gate by the road was still padlocked. Just after we moved in a co-worker told me a story about when she was growing up with horses that some kids were out joyriding and opened all the gates on the road to let the horses out - for fun. We promptly padlocked that gate and the lock was still in place.

We drove along the road keeping our eye out, and went about half a mile down the road and turned around with no sign of the fugitive. Coming back we debated driving down the road in the other direction when we figured he'd not want to leave the herd and probably went back up our driveway or our neighbor Tom's driveway. So we pulled in and parked with the headlights shining into the pasture. We got out to verify we still had 3 horses at least.

Just about then Dave showed up, saying he had confirmed all 4 horses were in pasture! Thank Goodness. He said he'd gone out to check and Jordan and Shoni had come right up to him, and then Romeo came running up out of no where and all three got riled up. (Harley, as ususal, stayed on the sidelines)

I suggested that the loose horse wasn't necessarily ours. Never the less, Ginger and I wanted to see them for ourselves, so we took off across the pasture by the weak light of the half moon and flashlights. As we were standing next to the pond, we started wondering as to how any of our horses could possibly have crossed the pond. Maybe they crossed at the narrow bridge that is part of the driveway? Maybe the girl was confused about which side of the fence the horse was on?

Then someone commented on all the coyote foot prints in the snow on top of the frozen pond. Oh.My.God. Surely, we said, that ice wasn't strong enough to hold a horse! It has been unbearably cold for the past week - many days with highs in the 20s, but today was in the 50s. Thank goodness he didn't try to go out there and fall through. We never would have known and he never would have made it!

We were still having thoughts like that when came into view the unmistakeable prints of a horse walking on the ice. And he didn't just go across and back - no he wandered a goodly amount to and fro. He even paused to relieve himself. By going down the pond, he was able to get out on the neighbors side of the fence, which is not fenced off from the road. This is where the girl must have seen him. We found the spot where he came back into the pasture - looks kinda like he was moving fast. We think he noticed Dave out with Jordan and Shoni and he didn't want to be left out of the fun.

I gotta say, I've never seen much of anything as terrifying as those tracks. We brought the horses in tonight, and will continue to do so until we can fence off that darn pond this weekend.


Correction, after looking at it this morning, we concluded they can't even go out during the day, since Romeo now knows how to just walk out of our pasture. We've got them split up two and two right now in the round pen and welcome pen.

Ginger, horse tracks, coyote tracks, and who knows how many other types of tracks. Oh yeah, and two piles of poop. That boy really took the grand tour.

Can hardly see anything here, but there is the fence line coming down from the left in the foreground, and the horse tracks walking right by it on the ice.

Ginger suggested we could advertise a new feature of our barn - a horse ice skating rink!
Did I mention this happend the night before Tuesday Jan 18th? Probably doesn't mean anything to you now, but this is not the best of timing - as the next few diary entries will tell.



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