Mom took me to the lake so I could get some pictures for the cover of a short story I'm writing about a friend of mine and her courtship. The story is called: The Story of Eli & Rebekah. That's not their real names, but he proposed at a lake so I'm working that into my story!
We had lots of fun and Mom, Situ, Seth, Levi and Lydia played several games of Uno while we were waiting for Dad to get there.
We left about 7:30 and stopped in a grocery store parking lot to put the van in the new trailer so we could all ride together in the truck....Levi had to go to the bathroom so I took him into the store and we ran into(not literally!) our Aunt Sandy. We talked to her for quite awhile and finally got home about 11:45.
Here comes the exciting part. The goat had to be milked and the horses needed fed so I headed down to the barn. There was an amazing display of stars and although there wasn't any moon, the stars shed quite a lot of light. I get down to the barn and turn on the lights. Maple, our border collie, suddenly takes off down the lane that runs between the goat/horse pen and the cow pasture, barking like crazy. I could hear the cows splashing in the creek, so figuring that's what she had heard, I hollered at her to come back...she growled softly and came running back towards me. At that moment, I realized that a big black something was standing in the middle of the lane. I could only see a dim outline in the light from the barn. Thinking it was a cow, I grabbed Maple and snapped a leash to her collar, thinking, great, it's midnight, a cow is out, I have to walk all the way down to the gate, open it, hope the other two cows don't get out and try to get this thing in. By this time, I had started toward what I thought was a cow. Then I realized, its coming towards me...our cows are not friendly and never come towards us. They're usually runnin' the other direction. Then, as I stand there watching, this "cow" goes over to the horse gate and starts pushing on it....that's when the light bulb went on and I realized it was Bannie! I turn Maple loose and start toward him, then see Charlie standing behind Ban!
Well, I gave Bannie a good verbal bawling out....he just stood there looking at me with those big brown eyes that were plainly saying, "Could ya just open the gate? I'm hungry!" So I open the gate, shoo him and Charlie through, grab a flashlight and head down the fence, feeling pretty sure I know exactly where he got out.
A year ago, he and another mare we had at the time, Mitzie, had gotten out by bending down a panel we used as a gate at the back of the pasture and were a quarter mile down the road. A guy come knocking on our door at 7 o'clock in the morning asking if we were missing some horses. His friends were standing with Bannie and Mitzie when we got there with their belts around the horses' necks!
Then about 2 months ago, Levi goes out for chores, then comes tearing back into the house yelling that Bannie and Charlie were standing in the back yard. I run out and slip a halter on Bannie, then try to catch Charlie who proceeded to run all over the yard. Finally we just led Bannie down to the barn and Charlie followed.
So here I am, midnight, pitch dark, walking the fence line. Sure enough, Ban had bent that same panel down. I propped it up for the night, knowing he wouldn't challenge it before morning, especially not with a feeder full of hay.
Next morning, I have to head to the auction hall for preview, so I asked that one of the ones staying home put in a T-post in the weak panel. Actually, I probably would have made Levi or Seth do it even if I had been staying home!
Anyway, we get home that night, Dad and Mom lay down for a few minutes so I head out to do chores at about 8:30. Its getting dark and all that you could really see were shadows. As I head down the hill to the barn, I start whistling and calling and I hear Smoke, Maggie and Lena answering...then I see three shadows lined up at the fence....hmmm. I turned on the barn light and double check...nope, still only three now distinct forms. I throw them some hay and start walking the fence again...hoping maybe Bannie and Charlie are somewhere still in the pasture. I circle around, come to the panel and sure enough, that little rascal of a horse just when beside the T-post and bent the panel down again! I scanned the fields hopefully, whistling and calling, but don't see them. I head back up to the house thinking, its getting dark, I can't hardly see a thing, two horses are missing and its impossible to know how long they've been out or where they went.
I woke Mom and Dad up and everyone rushes outside to help look. Dad, me, Levi and Lydia go look in the barnyard where the horses are penned every winter. Nothing. As we head back out to the goat barn, Seth starts hollering for me from back the lane, where I had just been checking fence. "I found them, hurry!" he says.
I started running, then slowed down as I got close. I knew Bannie wouldn't spook, but I wasn't so sure about Charlie. "Be careful." Seth warned as I got close. "Charlie's about to take off." I slowed even more, send Levi over to put a halter on Bannie, then tried to catch Charlie. I talked to him softly and kept my body turned away, but he still kept moving away.
Finally I gave up. Trying to catch him was just making him more jittery, so I grabbed Ban's lead and started toward the barn, hoping Charlie would follow. He did and I instructed the boys to stay far back so they wouldn't spook him.
We started up the land between the two pastures and suddenly Charlie blew past me. Mom was up at the barn and I hollered to her that Charlie was coming. She opened the gate and stood blocking the lane so Charlie couldn't run past. Thankfully he ran right in and then I put Ban back. We decided to move all the horses to a different pasture until we could get the fence fixed permanently.
Yesterday I was riding Smoke after we got home from the auction hall with Lydia on Lena. We were riding on the lane and knowing that Smoke has a problem standing still if another horse is infront of her, I decided to work on that. I asked her to stand quietly, but she kept backing up or going sideways. I worked with her until I got her to stand still for a few seconds, then released her. When I tried to stop her the second time, she reared slightly. I thunked her between the ears and she settled down. As I continued insisting she stand still, she got more and more agitated. At one point, she would not stop backing up...she plowed right through a couple rows of corn. Then she began rearing and bucking. I got off and lunged her for about 10 minutes until she calmed down. Then I got back on...got her to stand another few seconds then continued on. A bit farther down the land, I asked her to stand again. She got even more violent with her protests, then suddenly, completely locked up. I had never had that happen with her. I began flexing her head until her feet began to follow, I then asked her to go forward a few steps, then halt again. This time she really exploded. I yanked her head around, jumped off and lunged her again. Then I walked her up and did a few minutes of additional ground work before putting her away. So I guess I know what the next thing I need to work on is!
I am working on my last revision of the first book before it goes off to the publisher....I'm nervous, excited, and all of the above! I'll keep you all posted on the progress.
We are now entering my favorite season! Today was the first day I noticed the fall smell on the wind. I wore a jacket when I took the kids fishing and thoroughly enjoyed getting chilled! That's my favorite part of fall and winter. I love the cold and usually wear nothing but sweat jacket and jean jacket all winter...and no gloves! I bought some riding gloves...but...I'll have to force myself to wear them. I feel so clumsy in a thick coat and gloves. Yea for fall!
Well, I think this is the longest post ever! Including the pictures, it certainly is the longest!