Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Switcheroo

Yesterday, when I got back from picking up some hay, the horses had managed to get themselves all mixed up.

Her Imperial Muddiness
Normally, Hudson is by herself on the west side of the stable, and the other four are on the east.  And, by the way, even with the hot tape separating them, Hudson is still able to scatter the other four with her imperial and furious body language. 

Anyway, when I got back with the truck stacked with 30 bales, which was as high as I could stack by myself, Dee was in the west where Hudson normally stays; Hudson, DeCato and Stormkite were on the east and Starlight was, most mysteriously, exiled to a fenced-off area that is designed to keep horses out of a marshy, rocky spot.

The cause of the Dee-Hudson switch soon became obvious: a buckle holding the top strand of fence had come apart, probably loosened by some wild winds recently, and they simply found this and crossed over to the other side.  I went up to fix it, followed by all the horses but Starlight, who was trapped in the marshy area.  The fence was still up around her, so how she got in there, I don’t know. 

But my going up to fix the fence, followed by the rest of the herd, caused Starlight to panic, thinking she was missing out on something exciting, and she raced around the hazardous marshy area, whinnying pathetically.
When I got back to her, I found her situation more puzzling.  Since the single strand of tape was still up, she had either gone under or over it to get in there, but she was afraid of it.  She would not walk under the strand when I held it high above her head.   The others were all happy to walk under it, though, so every time I lifted it for her, and she balked, some other horse would cheerfully decide that crossing under was desirable, which would cause me to bring down the tape quickly, as if we were playing some kind of chaotic, cross-species version of London Bridge is Falling Down.   So, then I would hurry to the other side of the fenced area, followed by Starlight, and try to get her to go under the fence on that side, attempting to beat the other three horses, who would hustle around the outside of fence to join us and try to cross into the fenced area when I raised the tape.  Some fun!

Meanwhile Dee, still stuck on Hudson’s side, was panicking, since she was sure that it was SHE, now, who was missing out on something very exciting that the others got to do without her.  She was running up and down the fenceline with her poor, mud-knotted tail flagged up over her back.

Hay. Now!
Eventually, I scooted Starlight down to the other side for the fourth time and took down the fence so she could exit, then quickly replaced it before the others could stream in.

Then it was a quick switch of Dee with Hudson, and everybody was back in place.  All that was required of me at that point, apparently, was to distribute hay and leave them alone.  Which I did.  

It was the day before Christmas Eve, after all, and my list of activities was long enough without playing Musical Horses in the middle of it!

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