Friday, March 11, 2011

The Great Escape . . . and All Is Well

Yesterday I got one of those phone calls you don't like to get - "your horses are out".  I threw on my coat and boots, jumped in the car and got to the barn - it's nice living so close as I can be there in minutes.  I left my car at the barn entrance parked diagonally across the dead-end street leading to the barn - it's a quiet street with only a little traffic but horses and cars are never a good mix.  As I got out of the car, I could see the four geldings running laps around the large lawn of the farmhouse across and down the street.  I stopped off to grab a couple of halters and headed over.  There was a man and lady parked in the barn parking lot, and I left the lady (who worked in the farmhouse and said she was scared of horses) to block any traffic from coming down the street and took the man (the lady's fiancee, who said he was experienced with horses) with me.  The closer I got to the horses the slower I walked.  They were pretty excited when I got there, but stopping to graze a bit.  One of my friends who works over there and is experienced with horses had secured Pie with a piece of rope, and I walked up and haltered him.

Just as I was getting Pie's halter on, the other three geldings took off at a run around the side of the farmhouse, heading for the back areas.  Pie thought this was pretty exciting, so I let him trot in circles around me for a minute and then led him off to find the others.  He was very up but led perfectly.  We got near the others and captured Fritz - I knew if we led Pie and Fritz back to the dry lot, Fred and Scout would follow along.  We led Pie and Fritz back down the road with Scout and Fred following - Scout made a detour to the community garden to graze and had to be redirected.  This was one of those times that I'm glad we take the time and trouble to be sure that all our horses lead well.

We popped them back in the dry lot - the gate and latch were intact but the gate was wide open.  All the horses were fine if a bit tired from their exciting expedition.  The mares had watched events with great interest from their dry lot - they were lined up along the fence.  We're not at all sure how the gate got open, but just in case a horse was responsible, we're taking the precaution of  tying the gate shut with a lead rope as well as latching it.

I'm usually pretty calm during events like this - it's only later that I feel the effects.

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A big thanks to all those who commented on yesterday's post - if you haven't commented yet please feel free to do so.  And be sure to visit Laura's post as well - and thanks to Laura for getting this discussion started - I think it was in the end a productive one, at least for me.

14 comments:

  1. I'm glad all is well. Our Icelandic gelding got out a few years ago. He ran around our property three or four times. Then he stopped and looked at our gate which was closed to keep our other horse in. I yelled to a friend who was staying with us to open the gate and sure enough, he walked right back in. He had enough freedom for one day.

    Dan

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  2. So glad that went well. Horses getting loose is a nightmare. Hooray Pie for being such a good boy!

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  3. I've been in that same situation before--like you, a calm was over me the whole time, but when it was over--whew--I felt it! Glad you got them all back in.

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  4. My doorbell rang this morning. It was a passing motorist. My Boys were on my front lawn, grazing. An open gate, as well. Guess I didn't properly clasp the chain. But worse, they have now figured out how to circumvent the drive through push gates on the driveway!

    Fortunately a bucket of grain lured them all back in. Must be something in the air!!

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  5. We had a breakout around here recently - a neighborhood horse, not mine. No pasture on the island so the lure of fresh new grass overcomes the horses this time of year.

    Glad all went smoothly rounding everyone up Kate! Good job Pie :)

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  6. good lord!! Well, you certainly handled that well.....
    Although now I know they are safe I can laugh at the imagery of the 4 geldings with spring fever doing laps around the neighbor's house...and the community garden hijinks!
    Really glad all worked out!

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  7. Whew! What a scare. Glad it all ended well. How 'bout that Scout stopping to take a nibble on his way back home? I bet the people in the farmhouse were wondering why 4 horses were racing around their house.

    I hate the feel of the adrenaline in my body after it is all over. I feel like I was in a near miss auto accident. My hands and arms shake.
    Sovey got loose the day before his birthday this year and I remained calm and then when he came back to me I hooked him up and turned into a mass of jelly - arms and legs felt like Gumby.

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  8. Good Pie! Glad there was a happy ending.

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  9. Always exciting when they pull something like this. Our gates are vinyl so they shrink in the cold and don't latch properly, so we need to tie the gate with something everyday in the winter. Glad they all came back easily, bet they all slept good last night too!

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  10. Kate--Glad you got them caught. That is always so scary. Loose horses on the road is one of my personal nightmares. I have every corral gate latched and then tied with rope, and my front gate is kept closed and chained. So far no horses on the road--knocking on wood.

    I enjoyed the discussion yesterday, too. I think there is much more to be said and shared as well intentioned horse people try to find that middle road between too permissive ( which does harm) and too harsh (which does great harm). And I also think that on that middle road there are many methods which can work and that some approaches are better suited to some people and horses and other approaches are better suited to others. And I will stand by the point of my post--the first thing is to be able to read the horse.

    Hope you have an escape free weekend! Cheers--Laura

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  11. I've rescued a few horses in our area - but it is rather quiet. Mine haven't escaped...but I know there will come a time. I dread the thought of moving and possibly having loose horses as we will be on a busier road.

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  12. Whew! Such excitement! I'm glad no one was hurt...humans or horses.

    ~Lisa

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  13. Glad you got everyone rounded up and that nobody was hurt! I don't understand how you live across from a horse farm and are scared of horses....

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  14. Glad everyone was safe. I hate those calls, and it's particularly scary for me now since I live right on a highway. It's funny how excited they get when they get out, though. It's like they're saying "We're FREE!! What do we do now? Act like idiots!! Yay!!!" LOL

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