December 2, 2013 by phicks2012
I have horses, and I try very hard to keep the pastures bushhogged and the fences in good repair. I really do, but when the weather is wet, and the ground gets soggy, and when whatever spurious deities are responsible for unwanted winds then get into the act, it seems inevitable that a tree somewhere along one of my fence lines is going to fall in the forest (whether or not it makes a sound) and take out at least one critical section of fence.
Once this happens my beasties (especially my stud K.C.) is GOING to find the gap and stage an escape, and it never fails to amaze me that when this happens and he decides to take a world tour (at least of the surrounding country-side) it’s nearly ALWAYs on a holiday, or on the day before or after a holiday, or over a holiday weekend when everyone else is away celebrating or stuffing their faces with family and I’m all alone to deal with the situation. Oh, and usually also when the weather is bad (raining, cold, windy, horrendously hot, or a creative combination of several of the above).
So last Friday morning was the day after Thanksgiving, with frost on the ground and temperatures still climbing from a low of 24 degrees, when a knock on my front door brought me once again face to face with a local denizen telling me that one of my horses was out and had been caught taking a scenic tour of Lumus Road (which seems to be a popular tourist destination for my livestock, because whenever they get out that’s where they go if they don’t manage to get farther and make it to other tourist locations along Rocky Plains Road).
Neither Lumus nor Rocky Plains are all that far away, as the fabled crow flies, but both are behind me through the woods, and to get home again by road from there one either has to 1) lead the escapee(s) a mile or so north along narrow, twisty-turny Lummus to Highway 81 and then double back an equal distance so as to make use of the beautifully wide shoulders that exist along Highway 81 in that direction, or 2) to avoid the extra distance the truant(s) has/have to be led a short way along Lumus in the other direction and then along the pitifully narrow shoulders of Highway 212 and Highway 81 from the other direction, where one is forced to cross two bridges and long stretches of highway between guard rails on the asphalt itself while speeding cars and trucks barrel along — sometimes having the total lack of sense to honk their horns, just to make things more interesting.
The neighbor who came by with the news gave me a ride overto where I reclaimed the runaway K.C., and, let me tell you, I was in no way looking forward to having to lead his cheerful, energetic butt down those lengthy stretches of highway. Unfortunately, the neighbor (while very nice) couldn’t hang around long to help, and I believe I’ve already made it abundently clear that I HATE leading horses along busy highways with shoulders less than a foot wide forcing me to lead them right on the pavement, so this time I decided that instead of going the LONG way around I’d try a different challenge. I decided to try 3) retracing the butt-head’s actual escape route through the woods.
Over the gully and through the woods and along the fence line we went, trying to find the break in the fence to lead him back through, while slipping in mud, catching my clothing on briars, stepping in hidden holes, getting slapped in the face by branches, freezing my butt off, and meanwhile having to control the antics of an equine with way too much energy. Yeah! That was fun! It took me nearly an hour of zig-zagging through the woods around obstacles like water, gullies, and fallen trees before I finally found a break in the fence in an entirely different pasture than I was expecting, and was at last able to take him back through. Of course at that point Thor, my bay gelding, clearly felt it was time to come galloping to greet us, and both of the boys promptly decided it was “play time”.
I finally got both of them (though not without effort) into the upper pature with the gate closed to prevent another escape, and was able to get back indoors for a much needed thaw-out, and I’ll admit that since I was on my own that morning I was actually very lucky that only one of them got out! Frequently, when one hits the trail the other does too, and then (since I currently have no usable trailer) I either have to have help or I have to make two fun trips. But on Friday, despite the annoyance, I can say I was provided with a nice workout and that I was able to make do with only one trip, so it definitely could have been worse! Right?
Then, this morning, because Id’ obviously had it too easy that last time, BOTH of them hit the road through another new gap in the fence, and animal control called to tell me they were out playing tag with traffic on 81. Wonderful!
But this time it was warmer, though rainy, and I did have help here at home, and two neighbors actually caught them and were leading them back down my driveway by the time I was heading out, so the drama was over pretty quickly. We also found the downed fence fairly soon and were able to get it repaired so the boys couldn’t go walkabout again immediately.
However, I’m hoping their Christmas gift to me will not be another grand tour.