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Continuation

Posted by greygelding , 23 February 2017 · 219 views

Bo turned out to be a born baby sitter for both people and foals. He was never aggressive and was a patient instructor in how to be a horse. It was with people where he really stepped up. With an experienced rider he was a bundle of energy and fun providing all with a great ride. With an inexperienced rider he always preformed to their level. Those who knew next to nothing he just calmly took over and the ride was a calm enjoyable affair. It was with children that his abilities really shined. He was so gentle and never moved faster than a walk. If their balance was off he would stop and refuse to move until all was well.
He was also one of the few horses we have owned who seemed to take delight in tormenting Pam. On one ride I was with Fuego and Pam was riding Bo on the beach. It was a 4H ride and there were quite a few riders. The horse of one of the girls went down and rolled in the sand saddle and all. The girl was unable to stop it until it had a few good rolls in. No sooner had Pam stated "I would never let my horse get away with that", when that's exactly what Bo did. Quick as a cat he was down and started to roll. As good as her word though Pam halted the process and he got right up. If a horse was capable of an evil grin I'm sure he would have had one at that moment. Embarrassed, Pam mounted amid a flurry of uncomplimentary words muttered under her breath. Red faced she challenged him "Let's see you try that again!" He didn't but that was not the last time he got to her.
We were riding up the mountain on a camping trip. Both horses were fully packed and the day was rather warm. About 2/3 of the way up the mountain Bo began to groan. I was in the lead on the single track trail and Pam immediately called to me "There's something wrong with this horse!" I answered "There's nothing wrong, he's just got your number". He stopped and groaned again. "No! There's really something wrong!" I stopped and turned Fuego around. At that moment he laid down in the trail, full packs and all. "MICHAEL!" I tried to reassure her but she wasn't buying it. I probably wouldn't have either if I hadn't spent so much time with him. She was now almost in tears standing next to Bo and I dismounted. "Here, you take Fuego and I'll ride him". Not sure what to believe she mounted Fuego as I walked up to Bo. He took one look at me coming and he got right up, gave a good shake, and was good to go. He was a bundle of delighted energy the rest of the way up the mountain. As for Pam she was fuming that Bo had gotten the best of her good nature again. At the top of the mountain we switched horses back to our original mounts. Bo realized he had probably pushed as far as he should for this journey. The rest of the camping trip was uneventful and he was a perfect mount for her.
Our little herd quickly adapted to our unusual ways of handling horses. At feeding time they would gather at the feed room door and try to get us to feed them treats. Shady would try to keep everyone away, Breezie would come in halfway, Sandy would politely wait for us to bring something to him, Bo Horsey would talk constantly - which worked pretty well, but Fuego stole the show. In order to reach into the feed room as far as he could he started turning his head on its side. We found this cute and he always got a treat for his efforts. It got to where he would turn his head every time he came to the door and turn it so far that you could have set a wine glass on his cheek without spilling a drop. He then started to augment this by moving it up and down like a pump handle. Pam took him to an Arabian horse show and placed him in his stall. When you checked in along with your show envelope the show staff gave you a small bag of carrots with each entry. As people started walking by, Fuego started his begging routine. "What's he doing?"
"Oh he's just begging for carrots."
"That's so cute! Can we give him one?"
"Of course."
As more and more people lined up to feed the sideways bobbing head we had to put a stop to it as this wasn't the time or place to find out how many carrots a horse could eat before he gets sick. Every so often another group would come by, show him a carrot, and laugh at his antics.

Tezza and the Great Escape

Now that Breezie was weaned we had to expand onto the next door neighbors property due to zoning regulations. Fortunately they had shelters and corrals right on the fence line. There was even a gate for easy access. Now that we had a foothold there and I was having such a great time playing with the weanling, I just had to have another one of these toys. At the time I was unaware of the impact this decision would have. We were at the show grounds watching a horse show when I saw what I believed to be the perfect stallion. Beautiful, intelligent, and very alert, I pointed him out to Pam. We went to his stall, saw him in person, and a deal was struck. We had found from her first breeding that Shady was exactly like her mom. Back then breeding was done by live cover meaning that the stallion and mare got together, under control of their handlers, and things progressed in the natural way. Shady's mom was adored by all stallions and conceived on the first cover.
When the time approached we transported Shady to the ranch. One look at her and the stallion was in love and Shady came into almost instant heat. We had informed them about her but deferred to their experience in this matter. We would make the trip down, about an hours drive, a couple of times a week. They had started to cover her a few days after our arrival. After a week she still showed no signs of going out of heat. The process continued into the second week and while the mare and stallion were enjoying their "dates", the stallion owners were not. Finally they informed us that they were going to discontinue their efforts and it probably was a failure. We told them to have her checked at 30 days by the vet. Sure enough she was 30 days in foal and had apparently just been enjoying the whole thing.
The next year, at one week late - which was on time for her, Shady delivered our second foal, a grey filly. She came into the world flawlessly and was on her feet in no time. Apparently she had read the how to foal manual as she found the snack bar right away and commenced with breakfast. Satisfied, she proceeded to walk surprisingly well around the stall and came over to me and did a thorough inspection. Face, ears, nose, and hair received a complete sniff and taste exam. Then it was nap time. My vast experience consisted of one foaling but this wasn't like the other one at all, or like the books had it either. As she grew she was becoming a bit of a mystery. On one hand she was full of life, fearless, energetic, and very intelligent. On the other hand she could be lazy. Maybe lazy is the wrong word. The right phrase might be energy conservation. She wasn't one to wander around aimlessly. She would remain quietly standing until she reached a decision of some sort then she would be off on her mission. No bucket remained upright and if it had contents then they were on the ground. Every door or gate latch was something to be inspected, I should have paid better attention to this one. Anything out of place must be investigated immediately. Unlike Bo she wasn't into mischief, she was just a busy girl and let the chips fall where they may.
When she was a yearling, we arrived at the boarding place to find the whole herd was missing. Every gate was open including the one that opened into the neighbors field which was unfenced on the road side. Looking around that's where I spotted the herd as they wandered onto the road. I grabbed a couple of halters and took off like a shot in pursuit. They were headed for a busier road and it could mean disaster if I couldn't catch them in time. I was too late. They entered the traffic lane, made a right turn and down the road they went. A car came up behind them and followed them slowly which had the effect of herding them along. Three more cars came along and joined the procession. I ran as fast as I could but it was useless. Just then a fifth car came along and the girl behind the wheel shouted "Get in"! In I hopped and we made good time passing the other cars by driving on the right shoulder. She took us in front of the lead car and slowed the procession which had the same effect on the herd. A field opened up to the right and the horses took the opportunity to turn into it. Thanking her I leaped from the car, entered the field and called to the horses. Immediately they all gathered around me as if to say "That was fun! What shall we do next?" Actually that was a good question, What now? Shady was lead mare but could be a handful at times and I had a bit of a ride ahead of me. The sun was going to set soon so I needed to get started. Haltering Bo who was best buddies with Fuego and babysitter to the youngsters, I also haltered Shady. Riding Bo bareback while leading Shady worked perfectly as every one fell into line. About halfway back Pam pulled over, parked the car, and taking Shady's lead we all made it home safely. Who had opened the gates? A neighborhood kid? A prankster? While pondering these unsettling thoughts the answer presented itself. Tezza calmly strolled over to her gate, reached around and flipped the latch. It popped open and she went to Bo's gate and did the same thing. As she headed towards Fuego's gate I stopped her and couldn't decide whether I was angry, proud, or amazed by what I had just witnessed. Securing all the gates in what I hoped was a horse proof manner, we fed dinner, retrieved our car, and headed for home.
That was the end of the escapes but a year later I found another impossible horse mystery on my hands. She was now a two year old and awhile back I had put up hot wire around the perimeter of all the corrals. It was a yellow plastic braid with small wire intertwined into it. Highly visible and electrically charged I was sure I had prevented any further antics. One day we came up and found all the hot wire in only her corral had been chewed into balls at each insulator. The hot shocker was still on so that brought the question to mind. How does a horse chew hot wire when it's electrified? We repaired the damage and it a few days later we arrived to find a repeat of the same mischief. Once again I fixed it and was fortunate enough to be present at the next chewing so I finally got my answer. How she figured this out I still don't know to this day. As I was working on something I noticed her rocking back and forth next to the fence. With the fascination of someone watching an upcoming car wreck but unable to turn away I just had to watch and do nothing. I realized she was rocking in rhythm with the electric fence charger. When she judged the time was right she leaned into the wire pressing it into the metal fence and shorting it out. She then proceeded to grab it in her teeth, ripping it apart, and started to calmly chew her way up to the insulator. Now that I had the answer I headed to the store and purchased longer insulators so she would not be able to short it to the fence before she got shocked. That was the last of the hot wire chewing. What would she think up next time? It would be a few years but there would be a next time.

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March 2017

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