The first place I looked was the water trough because just last week, in what had seemed like an attempt to mimic me washing mud out of one of the bowls, Danny had deposited one of them at the bottom of the trough. It wasn't there this time. Ever the follower, Django walked the field with me as I searched. Riley soon joined us and it did seem that they were looking from side to side just like me. Danny, who was most likely the guilty party, opted to stay behind with his neck stretched as far through the fence as he could get it so that he could snatch a few blades of grass. I quickly spotted one bowl down the slope toward the creek. I walked it back to the fence and tossed it over and now there were two. I continued my search as the light waned but the remaining bowl still eluded me despite three trips around the field. Finally, just as I'd decided that Django and Danny would have to share a bowl (which they do most of the time anyway even though it's usually not Django's idea,) Steve arrived with another tank of water and he started to look, too. He looked the one place I hadn't thought of, in the large run-in, and there was the last bowl. So, that problem was solved and I fed the boys and headed up the hill to feed the girls. Steve followed me on the tractor with the water tank still in the bucket.
I feed Mouse inside the round pen so that I can feed Brandy a larger ration. If I didn't do this, Mouse would eat most of Brandy's food which hard to keep Brandy needs and easy keeper and always chubby (just like Mama Sande) Mouse does not. The round pen sits probably a hundred feet away from the fence. Usually both girls follow me, Mouse at my right elbow and Brandy usually lagging about ten feet behind her. But last night, my lengthy search for the missing food bowls had given Brandy enough time to get from the far side of the pasture to the gate. So, last night, I had a horse on either side of me, both right at my elbow and when Steve hit a bump and dropped the water tank out of the tractor bucket and onto the ground which made a surprisingly loud noise, both horses seemed to defy gravity for several seconds as they came up off of the ground and then started bucking, kicking and running all around me. I stood very quiet and still for what seemed like ages and then as Mouse, who had bolted forward, turned and came galloping back at me, I raised my hand and very soothingly (or as much as I could muster in my panicked state) said, "Whoaaaa!" Thankfully, she obeyed and although they were both still agitated, I managed to get Mouse safely inside the round pen and fed. Then I turned to Steve and shouted, "You damned near killed ME!" Unfortunately, thanks to the tractor's roaring engine, my exclamation fell on deaf ears but it felt good to get it out all the same.