True stories. You know those are the best kind, right?
So, you may or may not know about our weather patterns lately. First, we had several weeks of glorious sunshine and warmer-than-average temps in February. A blessing for sure, for us western Oregonians. But, I knew it couldn't last - it was after all, the dead of winter. Then, old man winter showed us he was still in charge shortly after Ground Hog's Day with a cold blast that lasted only for a few short days...we still had sunshine, but those warm days were history. And, for 3 or 4 days in a row now, (hello March) we've been having record-breaking, torrential rains and lots of wind...trees down, power outages and other such fun. So...long story, shorter - the horses have been cooped up in their stalls; and, they're NOT happy about it. At all.
Fast-forward to this morning. I go out to check on the horses in their stalls, make sure waters are alright, etc. Five sets of droopy, sadsack expressions work their wiles on me and against my better judgement, I give in and decide to put their blankets on and let them out for the day. It wasn't raining, and hadn't been since I'd been awake, the winds had died down to a blustery breeze and there was even some patches of blue sky overhead. What the heck, right?
So, I set to the task at hand. I blanket everybody up and decide on the rain sheet for Shad, since he's a warm-blooded fellow and tends to run a little hotter than the rest. No problemo - all set. Now, I decide to throw a little hay in the outside mangers in hopes that their bellies will win the battle over the woohooing that is bound to take place. Makes sense, right? Now is when Shad starts winding up - his patience is running a little thin, and he's quite tired of waiting around on slow old me. I hurry right along as best as I can in my muck boots walking in mud that's determined to suck me down to China. Seriously, the mud's about mid-ankle deep in a lot of places and it's good and sticky (plus, keep in mind that I'm still a bit gimpy since the dogs bowling me over last week). I'm hurrying as best as I can, is what I'm sayin'. All done - open up the big gate and use the longe-line to tie it back so the wind doesn't blow it closed on somebody halfway thru.
Of course, I let Shad out first; all the time telling him to go easy big fella, take it slowwwww, and be a gentleman...all the usual stuff that never works. *sigh* Out the stall Shad flies, only to screech to a halt at the gigantic puddle that's formed just outside the barn door...gingerly, he tippy-toes around the puddle and thru the sticky mud and out into the corral...sees the hay and starts munching. All is going according to my plan. Then, on to Ladde (who very briefly humps up and quivers in anticipation of longlast freedom, preparing to buck...and then sees the food), past Harley who's bucking in the middle of his stall now, out goes Kadie, on to Siri and finally Harley's turn. Everybody's out and eating. Big sigh of relief...you must be reminded at this point, that not only do I worry about the super slick and muddy conditions of our pasture, but also that Harley's blind and it scares the crap out of me to see him go thundering around at breakneck speed with his herdmates when HE CANNOT SEE ANYTHING!!! Big dork anyway.
So, I say a tiny little prayer of thanks and turn to head back inside, when all of a sudden...I hear it...the shrill, girly scream that Shad does deep inside his throat that means that all hell is about to break loose...and off he goes, at top speed out to the pasture where he proceeds to buck and jump and twist with unbridled joy at being free. The big, red, galook that should know better at 19 years of age is acting like a young, boisterous colt! I laugh out loud despite myself at his silly antics...the pure, unadulterated joy and love of his life makes me smile every time. Now, thankfully all the rest of the horses are casually looking at Shad and munching on their breakfast...no doubt thinking similar thoughts to my own. Briefly Shad stops to have a look at the rest of the herd, probably wondering why they're all such fuddy duddys and won't come and play; but then he resumes his playful theatrics for a little while more before settling down and contentedly munches some grass. Okay, alrighty then...whew, that was close! I chuckle nervously to myself as I turn to close the barn door and go have a quick check of the outside water tank before heading to the house to hit the shower and get ready for work.
Now, we have a simple barn design. There are 4, 12 x 12 stalls lining the 12 foot wide alley way down the center. It takes me maybe 2 minutes to walk the length and outside around the hay barn and check the tank. Just as I leave the barn, I hear a dull "thud", and under the gate comes (at about 90 miles per hour) Dutchie, our little barn cat with a look on her face like the devil himself's chasing her...I don't give it much thought - silly cats are always up to something - and head on out to check that water. Good, water's fine. Now, from my vantage point by the water tank, I can look across the small paddock, through the round pen and see the horses quietly munching their hay in the corral on the far side of the barn there. Everybody's peaceful...but, wait a minute - where is Shad's blanket?? That's odd. Oh no, what happened to his blanket? Quickly now, back around the hay barn, thru the horse barn, open the big slider on the far end to see everybody looking at me like...what? All is calm...all is bright...I'm starting to feel like I'm in a dream here or something. I quickly look around trying to ascess just how in the timespan of maybe 2 minutes, Shad managed to get from the pasture to where he was quietly munching hay right now, and lose his blanket??? What the...there's the blanket in a crumpled muddy heap under Harley's back feet and there's a whole lotta fresh mud splatters all over those fence boards over there by the gate...and...there's some very deep hoof marks right at the bottom edge of that gate there. Oh my word!!!! I must say; that horse is mighty quick - and he's apparently quite talented taboot, because I have no idea how in the world he accomplished what he did in record-setting time!! I don't think I wanna know. I retrieved the blanket (still in 1 piece) and quickly checked Shad over and headed to the house before anything else transpired that I seriously doubt I wanna know about.
I'm just very thankful that God watches over and protects our little herd of furry goofballs...and that I have absolutely no idea of what actually happens out there in that pasture while I'm at work every day. If I only knew, I'd be a nervous wreck and have a distinctive facial tick.
I'm pretty sure.