Saturday, January 11, 2014

Fence Fighting

Yesterday the herd was in the pasture.  It was the first time they had been out in a week due to irrigation.  I hate keeping them locked up that long but my pens are huge so it isn't like they don't have room to bounce around a little if needed. The main thing I hate about it is that they don't get the social time I like them to have.  They can talk over the fence, and they can all see each other, but that is it.

On the back side of my arena, and adjoined to the end of my pasture via a gate is a cattle pen with shade.  When it is really hot I always leave the gate open so they can have shade if needed. Right now, they don't really care about shade so I have been keeping it shut. Said pen also boarders one of my neighbors pasture. They have 2 horses, very sweet horses. A palomino and a bay.  These two always come to the fence and watch if I am working in the arena.  There is a little cow dog over there also who takes great joy in trying to herd the horses. The horses how ever, just pin their ears at the dog and shoo him away.  It is comical to watch.

Yesterday I had opened the gate to the pen.  I'm not really sure why I did, I just did.  I guess because there was some new green growing in the pen and there is very little green in the pasture (Note to self- research annual winter grasses) as our bermuda is all dormant right now.  About noon I was outside talking to TC and heard equine squealing.   Sure enough, there was Killian at the fence fighting with the palomino.

I didn't do much at first, as these things are usually over and done with before it gets to heated.  Not this time.  I saw the Palomino do a full rear up, and Killian had turned and was kicking at the chain link fence.  Sassy of course was right there egging the whole thing on.   Trax was there but watching from a safe distance.

Side note:  Trax is like the little kid of school who tags along but doesn't really fit in.  The bigger kids let him hang out but not too close.  So if there is trouble, he always watches, very interested, but always from a safe distance with a clear escape route not too far away.

I yelled at Killian and headed back to break it up.  I have been through this before with him.  He is very possessive over his mare.  He is the herd leader most of the time. The only time he isn't is if I am there.  Then I become leader and he does as I say...albiet a bit grudgingly.

So I yelled his name.  He looked right over at me, I could read his mind as clear as day. "Aw crap here she comes, oh well I can get in a couple of more insults before she gets here."  And he turned back to his fight.

Sassy heard me too.  She raced away from the fight to the end of the pen.  The pen floor is dried cow manure. It is old enough that it is starting to compost and is really more like nice soft dark dirt.  Sassy ran to the gate, then turned and raced back towards Killian.

At that very instant I watched her execute the most gorgeous sliding stop I have ever seen on a horse.  It was textbook!!!! Then she rolled back on her hind end and did her short little legged race out the gate and past me.  For just a moment I forgot why I was headed out there and watched in awe.  That horse, even lame, has more athletic ability then my other two combined.

For half a second I was able to close my eyes and envision myself on her at a reining competition and riding her to one of those gorgeous stops.  We turn and spin and race to the other end and slide again....the crowd goes wild....

Then another squeal from the two geldings snapped me back to reality.

I yelled at Killian again. This time I was close enough he knew he was in trouble. At that point he and Trax both raced out the gate and into the pasture where Sassy was.  I shut the gate behind them.

Then came the chicanery!

I would have given anything to have my camera right then, or even my cell phone, but I had neither and knew if I went to get it I'd miss out, so I just leaned against a pole and watched.

They raced back and forth bucking and snorting like a bunch of wild horses.  They poured on the speed, running as fast as they could. Holy cow!  He stretched himself out long and low to the ground, like a race horse.  I never knew Killian could move that fast. I mean, I guess I should have, after all he has some long legs and powerful muscles.  However, he still cannot outrun Trax.   Trax has the edge of being in fantastic shape, and the heart of a marathon runner. When Trax turns it on, no one is going to catch him.

Sassy was having a great time being the center of attention. She would try to race and play with Trax and here would come Killian, ears pinned, moving himself between the two acting like he was going to go after Trax. Trax would just laugh (literally I could hear him laughing) and say, "You may be tougher but you can't catch me!"  With the blink of an eye he was gone and Killian, feeling superior would give up the chase and go back to herding his mare.  

I stood there for the whole thing with my heart just pounding in my chest.  Not from fear or worry, but just enthralled by the magnificence of it all.  They were all bucking so high and racing so fast and just having the time of their lives and I heard myself say out loud, "Oh My!"  Not even realizing I had spoken until the words were out.

Then Trax went to trotting up and down the fence line snorting so loud, it sounded like he was blowing through a bull horn.  I watched him move back and forth, head held high, and and tail out. He is all muscle right now, not overly so.  Oh he is a thing of beauty!  All of my horses are pretty, but there is something about that horse that just takes my breath away.  I know, I may be a bit biased, but watching him move is one of my greatest joys in life.

Then as quickly as it had begun it was over.  The red horses went to get a drink, of course not letting the little nerdy kid anywhere near the water tub until they were done.  Poor Trax, he needs a friend..

As I watched Sassy walk across the pasture though, I knew that she had paid a price for her foolishness.  She was limping badly even at a walk. That little scene in my mind of riding her in a reining event, which before had floated about like a little bubble blown by a small child from bottle of soap and a wand, now landed on a blade of grass and popped from my mind with a soft splash of soapiness onto the ground.

She will never be that horse, she will never be able to carry a rider for that sort of stress.  My only hope is that she can carry a light human down a trail with out experiencing too much pain.

The horses went back to grazing, and I went back to chores, but for the rest of the day...and even into today, I find myself smiling and even feeling a little bit giddy over yesterdays show.


  1. Oh I do wish you had a camera too! What photos that would have made! Since I am fairly new to your blog, I don't know what the issues are with Sassy. Why is she lame?

    1. Hi Shirley,
      It is a long and complicated story, but I will sum it up in a short paragraph ....Mysterious lameness, eventually diagnosed as navicular although odd because she is a young horse and virtually unbroke. What I have been seeing though is consistent toe first landings, which to me is bad. Unfortunately, in WY no one else recognizes it to be a bad thing (that state is 20 years behind the world in everything) so getting help to address that situation was impossible. I have had several "specialists" look at her and all of their solutions involved nailing special shoes on her feet. Sometimes she had some relief but never the heel first landings. I am working now with a barefoot advocate and we are going to see what we can do.

  2. what a wonderful moment! Those pictures are almost always better kept in our minds eye, somehow a camera cannot capture the feeling

  3. I agree with Sherry. What comes out in video or pics is not usually anywhere near what we see when we watch it happen before our eyes. Besides, nobody road can critique it, tell you what you should be seeing or in any way, diminish what you seen and thought so awesome. Some of the best 'Kodak Moments' are the images we have etched in our minds. Never to fade, never to get lost it stolen and just so dang cool.

    1. Yes, you are probably right. Not everyone sees Trax like I do so most people probably would have just seen a paint horse doing what horses do. But to me is was gorgeous!

      How was your ride yesterday?

  4. I agree with Sherry. What comes out in video or pics is not usually anywhere near what we see when we watch it happen before our eyes. Besides, nobody road can critique it, tell you what you should be seeing or in any way, diminish what you seen and thought so awesome. Some of the best 'Kodak Moments' are the images we have etched in our minds. Never to fade, never to get lost it stolen and just so dang cool.

  5. You described it all so well, I could picture it anyway! Excellent writing!