follow myFacebookpage know already that on the night of
November 14 a loose horse invited himself onto the low deck outside our
bedroom. The event terrified me, but this isn't a Halloween ghost story.
Loose horses can endanger not only themselves but others, so this is a warning
about the importance of being careful, about knowing horse behavior, and
especially about Knowing Thy Horse.
a.m. on the 14th, some noise awakened me. I assumed one of our cats, who have
me well trained, wanted in. As I lay in bed, thinking how little I wanted to
get up, a loud thump brought me to full awareness. I rolled out of bed, parted
the curtains, and looked down. No cat.
looked up and the moonlight highlighted a huge, silver-outlined shadow a
few feet in front of the glass slider. I wasn't wearing my glasses, so
the shadow looked like an enormous ghost. Narrow but tall, almost floating above
two skinny legs. Then the head of the ghost flipped in a circle. I knew it was
a horse, and not just any horse. That gesture, a move a friend dubbed "an
Arab nose pirouette," meant Razz, my 14 year old Arab gelding had opened
his gate. Again.
a handful of horse cookies and scurried into the night wearing a parka over my
flannel pajamas. As I came around the corner of the house, he'd vacated the
deck and retreated. Now standing outside the yard near the rest of the horses,
Razz again lifted his head and stared at me expectantly as I trudged down the
walkway toward him.
I knew my
mistake. When I put the horses up for the night, I'd forgotten to snap the
extra clip on the gate of Razz aka Houdini Horse, an expert at opening
supposedly horse-proof latches.
untouchable when I got him as a fearful five year old, Razz now approaches
people eagerly, often with a sense of play. I saw
the Catch-Me-If-You-Can-Swagger as he walked toward me. After his last
escape, my indulgent but non-horsey husband chased Razz around for half an hour
while I was at work. I'm sure Razz had a great time.
Mommy don't play tag, especially at 2:30 in the morning. Mommy don't wait
around either. I knew he'd come up and put his head down for a halter, but I'd lose
a minute of sleep time while he realized I wasn't going to play. So I
resisted picking up one of the ropes and halters hanging by the yard gate.
Instead I held out a cookie. Razz walked right up and took it as delicately as
he always does, but instead of trying to catch him, I ignored him and began
distributing cookies to the horses polite enough to obey curfew and remain in
course followed right behind me. When I got to the empty run, I walked back to
his feed tub and tossed in a couple of cookies. As I expected, the gray ghost
sauntered by me and stuck his head down. As he munched, I walked out,
appreciatively running my fingers down his side. I latched his gate, and went
back to bed.
down a private lane and we have layers of fencing, but I still worry about
horses getting out. Too many escaped horses injure themselves in unfamiliar
surroundings, find too much feed, or wander onto roads. Endless disaster
possibilities exist. Luckily, Razz just climbed onto a well built deck.
Only a few scrapes on the deck show he was ever there.
Below, the evidence of a
horse slithering across our smooth deck.