Thursday, December 2, 2010

And Now for the REST of the Story

We had the big pasture fertilized and seeded with rye on Tuesday.  It's a big deal because it means the horses will have to be kept off the pasture until the rye is well-established, probably some time in January.  The other reason this is a big deal is that we haven't been able to afford any pasture maintenance/improvement while Yeoldfurt was out of work for so long.  Now that he's working again, we are really looking forward to being able to have  'greener pastures' ...literally. While the seed and fertilizer do their thing, we have to confine the horses to the smaller areas.  We normally confine them to a small paddock every evening and then give them access to an adjacent small paddock during the day.  They have a round bale of hay available to them at all times, night or day, but they love the big pasture so this will be a long six weeks for them.

Yesterday was the first day.  You'd think we could get through ONE DAY without a hiccup.  But when I got home, the first thing I noticed as I came down the driveway was a big buckskin butt standing by the garage.  Not good.  As I drove past the garage to check on the chickens, the dog did her usual thing and raced down the yard to follow the truck.  That was normal, but the Paint horse that was running along with her wasn't.  Oh, boy.  I knew I had seen at least a couple of horses in the front paddock when I first turned in the driveway but was beginning to wonder how of them might be in the backyard.  Turns out there were only two, Lucy and Lyric.  Lucy is Yeoldfurt's buckskin mare.  She's half-mustang and all shenanigans.  Don't let her big doe eyes and long lashes fool you, she's always got mischief on her mind!  The other culprit was Lyric.  She's a Paint mare out of my horse.   Lyric is the youngest in the herd and, wouldn't you know, she picks Lucy to emulate. 

I had just come from my office job and wasn't exactly dressed for wrangling, so I went in the house, changed clothes and came back out to check the fence.  It's chain link with a hot wire along the rail.  Looks like they had walked it down in the corner.  The hot wire was on the ground which meant that none of the fence was 'hot' anymore.  Oh goodie.  Lucy had walked down that section of fence one other time ....which was one of the MAIN reasons we invested in the electric fence.  This time the rail was broken, the post was bent and the chain link was canted at a 45 degree angle to the ground at that corner.  I was relieved to find that neither horse was cut or injured.  That would have been icing on the cake bills on top of the cost of repairing the fence.  Satisfied that they were both unscathed, I proceeded to give them a verbal tongue lashing that might have even impressed Busted Knuckles.  Well, maybe not ...but it was sure a rant coming from me!  It reduced my stress level a notch or two but made no visible impression on Lucy and Lyric. 

The setting sun waits for no one so I decided to go on and feed the other horses and make the two hoodlums wait.  Pecking order is a big deal with horses so they weren't too happy about that.  When I got the other four in their stalls, I decided to use the lunge whip to drive them back to where they belonged.  But remember the old 'mama is gonna spank the kid so the kid runs around and around the dining room table so mama can't catch him' routine?  Try playing this game with two 1000-pound 'kids' running laps around a brick house while 'mama' flails at thin air for ten minutes.  About the third lap, the thought occurred to me that if Dr Phil were here watching, his comment would likely be, "So's that workin' for ya?"  We're pretty far off the road, but I am sure my antics would have been amusing to the neighbors too.  I decided to try a different tact.  It was time to re-strategize. 
So next I tried the "I promise you're not in trouble if you just come here" routine.  That worked on Lucy.  Nothing really scares her ...not even me.  Probably especially not me!   But Lyric acted like I was a three-headed monster every time I got within ten feet of her.  She wasn't really scared, just enjoying the game.  Tail in the air, snorting, and charging off for another lap around the house.

All the other horses, including Lucy, were stalled by now so as a final resort, I decided to appeal to Lyric's hungry self.  Of course, I had no real intention of rewarding her with FOOD at this point but she didn't know that.  When she wasn't looking, I put a few handfuls of acorns in one of the empty feed pans.  Then I turned my back to her and shook and rattled that pan so she would think there was feed in there.  Ha!  Worked like a charm.  She followed me through the gate and into her stall and I latched her gate.  Then I told them both they could FORGET SUPPER TONIGHT.  They looked at me for a few seconds, blinked and dropped their heads to munch on the MILLIONS of acorns at their feet.  Their two stalls happen to be under one of the bigger oak trees and we've had a bumper crop of acorns this year.  The horses LOVE them.  It's like gummi bears falling from the trees as far as they're concerned.  So much for me punishing them.

I feel sorry for the four horses that behaved themselves and stayed on the appropriate side of the fence yesterday now because Lucy has ruined the fence for the time being.  All of the six horses are confined now to only the side yard until they can go out on the big pasture again.  It will be at least four weeks if not six.  Lucy and Lyric will never make the connection that THEY ruined it for the whole herd.  But I'm pretty sure the other four know who's responsible!


  1. I never ceased to be amazed at how mischievous these creatures can be.

    Our old gelding has spent many a night alone in the pasture for refusing to be caught. A cold, rainy night will usually cure him for awhile.

  2. I think they just want to keep us guessing. Can't have us thinking we have them all figured out, now can they?

    Our two oldest (mother and daughter, almost 28 and 22 now) occasionally refuse to come up for supper too. When they do, we don't LET them come in for supper the next two nights. That usually cures them for several years. LOL

  3. This had me rolling in the floor laughing! Comparing them to kids was right on the money. Forgive me, but I would have loved to have seen the whole episode! I'm gonna have to put a link to this on the blog, it's too funny not to share!

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  5. This was too funny... I had to share a link!

  6. No horses here on my 40 acres but the nieghbor has them and I just chuckle at how these horses act like children.
    This last time I saw them coming into our corn field and I went out and said "Your mam is not going to like this. now get home".. I couldn't believe it ~ they turned around and went home. I called the nieghbor told her ~ her horses were on their way back to her house and she said they are at the gate waiting for me to put them back into the pasture. I just laughed..and so did she.. Too bad it's not always this easy.
    Ta Ta For Now from Iowa.

  7. @Joycee...
    Glad you got a good laugh and thanks for the link too!

    @Tigger, you must have come via Granny Mountain. Welcome, I'm glad you came by. Hey... you have 40 acres and no horses? I'll make you a great deal a couple right now. I have two in particular in mind ....LOL

  8. Saw you dropped by this morning! Hope those bad children are behavin' and that you have a very Merry Christmas!

  9. Ha! Nothing funner than loose horses :)

    New follower - I'll be back for more of these shenanigans.

    The Survival Mama

  10. Boy it all sounds familiar... Horses always get into trouble when I *think* I'm helping them (changing anything)! Pasture renos going on here too and it's always just more work, 'til the green stuff arrives... Wishing you peace and happiness and quiet green pastures in the New Year!