Friday, September 27, 2013

Never a dull moment



This is the view from about halfway up the hill.  They could have run for miles down the other side
Well, we had plans to go on our last of the season horse camping trip this weekend.  I'd gotten a replacement to cover me at the clinic (4 day weekend), had a caretaker lined up for the horses at home, bought new and very warm sleeping bags (mountain temps in the lower 30's), done the grocery shopping, and was really looking forward to going.  But the planets weren't lining up or something...

Firstly, hubby realized we had no working brakes on the horse trailer.  Huh?  They had been working when we'd used it recently.  So, he stayed home from work to get them working again.  He calls me late afternoon, saying he'd tried everything and it wasn't working.  Apparently we need to replace the actual squeezing mechanism on the trailer itself, our old trailer is a 1995 model and we've never done that.  Guess we got our money out of those brakes.  Anyway, we have to order the parts and we weren't prepared for that.  So, no go over the mountain pass without working trailer brakes.

Alright, plan B...we decided that although it's been raining a fair amount the past couple of weeks, we would still go camping, just stick closer to home and bring tarps and such.  The weather forecast had been predicting a nice weekend with temps possibly reaching 70, with no rain in sight.  That's alright.

Yesterday, everything changed.  There was this little typhoon near Japan that's affecting our jetstream and now we're to expect monsoon type rainfall this weekend.  No sunshine in sight.  Winds.  Rain.  A real doozy of an early fall storm.  Batten down the hatches and all that.  *sigh*  Guess who's not going camping now...

So, I made the phone calls.  Cancelled the caretaker.  Cancelled the relief clinic worker.  Told my boss I'd see him Friday morning.


Fast forward to this morning...I'm almost ready to walk out the door and head to work.  Just putting a little finishing touch on my make-up and hair when I hear Harley call from the pasture.  I stop and listen...I heard him call out again, this time a more distressed calling.  I drop everything and run out the door...

to see the entire herd (sans Harley) out in the neighboring and newly planted hazlenut orchard.  Heads up.  Tails up.  Looking alert.  I try to walk quickly, but serenely to the barn to grab a bucket of grain.  They're suckers for grain.  Uh huh.  Not today momma.  Off they flew, tails up over their backs clear to the twin oaks at the top of the hill in the field beyond the orchard.  Oh no, not good.  I run back inside to remove my clogs.  Clogs are not an appropriate shoe for chasing horses through a bumpy farm field.  I grab my phone, change my shoes and offer up a quick prayer for some help, and sensible horses to stay away from the highway.

About a minute later, my angel in camo shows up in my driveway.  Do you need some help he asks?  A huge wave of relief washes over me, I offer a thank you to my Caretaker :) and off we go.  He flanked them from the off side of the hill and I approached from the front.  Ladde and Sugar trot right to me (always easy where grain is concerned) and I get the halter on Ladde.  Thank you God.  Off we go, at first I thought the entire herd was going to follow, but they had other notions.  Ladde was a real handful walking all the way back to the barn with the rest of the herd galloping back over the other side of the hill.  *sheesh*  I swear he grows about a foot or two even bigger when he gets all amped up, adrenaline pumping through his veins and all.  At one point, he was air-hoofing and his front leg was higher than my head.  Bad horse.  I scold him and keep moving, like I could do anything if he didn't want to comply.  Good horse.  Got him locked in his stall alongside the frantic Harley in his stall.  Closed the big sliding door on my way out and proceeded my trek back out to the north 40.  Again.  I'm already hot, wet from the knee down (tall grass) and my hair is all wet and sweaty.  Oh good.  Angel in camo (apparently his name was Brian) had managed to herd the horses back as far as the creek.  I kept calling Shad and Kadie's names while holding up the grain bucket...there's always hope that they'll come to me.  And they did!  Slowly, but they started heading towards me.  I dumped a couple of little grain piles to keep Eagle and Sugar occupied while I quietly approached Shad.  The big red horse let me put the halter on him.  I offered a little grain and off we went...Kadie in tow.  That was what I had hoped would happen.  :)

Before we'd gotten too far up the orchard, Eagle and Sugar decide they don't want to be left alone in the big, scary field all alone, and here they come a running!!  Big smile on my face.  I knew we had the battle won!!  Got all the horses safely locked in their stalls, with Merlin in the alley for the day.  I saw where someone (Sugar) had most likely been naughty to Harley and spooked him through the 3-rail wooden fence.  He took the post out and 2 sections of fence leaving a 16 foot gaping hole where the horses strolled through.  *sigh*  Back to the barn to do a once-over of Harley.  Sure enough.  A 5-6" long scarf down the bridge of his nose, but nothing else that I could see.  Again, thank you God, it could have been much worse.  A little ointment on his wound, a flake of hay for everyone and into the house to change my clothes so I could head to work.  I was an hour and 15 minutes late, my hair was soaked and I looked like something the cat dragged in, BUT I made it and all is well.

Despite everything.  I am feeling overwhelmingly BLESSED and thankful today that everybody is safe and sound.  Happy that I was home and able to get everybody back in, and absolutely, reassured that God listens to and answers our prayers.  And sometimes He sends angels named Brian dressed in full camo, driving big, Ford trucks.  :)

How's your Friday going?

p.s.  For a brief moment, when I saw all the horses standing proudly at the top of the hill, partially cloaked in the morning mist, I stood in amazement at their beauty, their speed and their grace...and wished I had my camera.  But then I came to my senses and started running.  It was going to take me a lot longer to reach that hilltop...

Blessings everyone!!

11 comments:

Kate said...

Glad everyone's OK - very scary and a lot of work to get them all back home safely. Good that the camo guy who showed up knew what he was doing - most of the time volunteers are worse than useless.

Grey Horse Matters said...

It's a shame about the camping trip being cancelled. On the other hand it's great that you got everyone home and no one was hurt. They sure can get into a lot of trouble sometimes! Hope you have a nice weekend .

Renegades said...

Our horses have a weakness for grain. Our sheep have a weakness for apple cinnamon horse treats. The good thing about their weaknesses is it sometimes makes catching them much easier.

Mary said...

Phew! You had me on the edge of my seat there. I'm glad everyone is home and safe. Nerve wracking to say the least. Thank goodness for kind strangers!

Paint Girl said...

That is definitely scary!! I would panic. Thankfully we have only had one horse get loose, not the whole herd! And that is great that you had help to get them all back to the barn. It always worries me when we go out of town (doesn't happen very often) that something horrible will happen!!

Karen said...

ah, spoken like a true photographer!..


And.. oh, do I hate when the critters get out, but all is well that ends well.

Cindy D. said...

Glad everyone is ok and home safe!

Carolynn Anctil said...

Oh my! That's a lot of excitement. I hope your weekend is a little more serene.

BTW, your description of the wild horse chase brought this to mind...enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWd_r2sOPhs

aurora said...

Okay I'm exhausted, and I wasn't even there. What a scarey ordeal!! Sorry you missed out on the camping trip. I am a firm believer things happen for a reason, even the bad things. Turns out it was good you didn't leave, for more reasons then one.

Angels show up at the strangest of times, disguised in all different colors, even camo. Kudos to him for taking the time to lend a hand in a time of need, and to you for your quick thinking in getting everyone back to safety!!

Willow said...

Glad all was well that ended well ! I could see them, great description.
Whew I was sweating right along with you almost .
Great shot of the valley

Jeanne said...

Such a worry when horses get out of the fence. Wow, you had your hands full and quick thinking to handle it all.