Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Flirting with Disaster

Horses are a lot like children, you need to be totally focused when you deal with them because they are both accidents waiting to happen. Danny has a bad habit of either sitting his hoof on one of the bars on the metal panels of the round pen or even worse, hanging his leg across it. We had two near disasters last night and both were my fault because I didn't follow my usual habit of always latching the gate each time I leave the round pen or pasture. This has been a habit I've followed for over seven years now because the one time that I didn't latch the gate, seven years ago, the wind blew it opened just as I'd removed Mouse's halter and she made a mad dash. It was an awful experience because she ran all of the way to the neighbor's farm on open  pasture where one wrong turn could have taken her into the road with traffic. After I caught up with her and put her halter back on, I had to lead her back during a terrible storm with lightning playing all around us which made her dance and made our trip take twice as long because I was constantly circling her to calm her down....and there was no one to calm me down.

Why I didn't follow this essential habit last night, I don't know. It was getting late and I was trying to get everything done but that one lapse nearly caused what could have been a serious injury to Danny and danger for all three horses that I'd put in the round pen. As I made my way up the hillside, all of the horses had been fed their feed ration, the boys had all been lunged per Dr. Hamilton's orders for Danny for the next 14 days, I'd given Danny his dose of bute and I was just coming back from letting Brandy back out of the little barn and was on my way to get the hay. Steve was coming up the road on the tractor and a tank of water for Danny's cold wash. I ran up and opened the outside gate to the pasture so that Steve could pass through. The boys were all still in the round pen because I didn't want them in the way as Steve came through the gate on the tractor. Danny started pawing the gate and then he hooked his leg across the bar. When the tractor made a noise that startled him, he jumped back and the gate went with him. That's when I saw him panic and I was paralyzed with terror as I attempted to run to help him. He managed to disengage himself from the fence without harm but by that time, he'd opened the gate all of the way and all three horses were extremely agitated. They all come rushing out and galloped down the hillside making a beeline to the open gate. Steve sped up and blocked the road while I ran toward the "thundering herd" waving my arms and yelling. Thankfully, it worked and I wasn't flattened like a bug on ta windshield. Evidently, me acting crazy was the scariest thing they'd seen in a while because Django and Riley turned and kept running and Danny skidded to a stop a few feet from me and just looked at me with curiosity. Disaster was diverted this time but if someone were to offer you odds, you'd better bet on me never leaving that gate unlatched again!!!

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