Yesterday, I did something truly adventurous. I rode at feeding time.
Now, I do not allow routine on the farm. Routine is boring and, in my opinion, leads to nervous habits, diva disorders, and even colic. I feed in the morning and in the evening. That’s as close to a routine as I can get. Life goes on, whether you have horses or not, and I do not set my alarm for six a.m. to feed a bunch of broodmares a half scoop of grain!
(Disclaimer: I can get away with this because all of my horses live out, with constant access to timothy-alfalfa mix hay. The grain is like a nice bonus.)
Even without set feeding times, horses know that it is getting towards nightfall and that means that the yummy yums should be forthcoming. They gather around the gate, hanging out, watching the house hopefully, listening to my footsteps – oh I see you guys out there, spying at me through the dining room window! It’s actually spooky to watch them and see how closely they’re listening to the goings-on in the house.
Anyway, when I went trudging out to the paddock at five o’clock, the entire equine population of Polk City could be excused if they thought it meant the dinner hour was nigh. Final Call came quite cheerfully to meet me, and looked remarkably crestfallen when instead of producing a magic bucket full of anise-scented pellets, I pulled his halter over his ears and took him back to the barn.
So I already had a dozen horses watching me expectantly, looking for a dinner that was not materializing. I had the Disappointed Horse (like the Little Britain sketch!) tied to the washrack, looking disconsolate at the loss of his evening. I also had – and I was actually not counting on this – the very sharp shadows of a spring evening.
(Especially, I might add, in the ECoD.)
For the purposes of describing grip, I’ll share that I was wearing jeans under my half-chaps, not my sticky Kerrits breeches.
A reminder, kids, that stubby legs are your friends, as Final Call walked gracefully around the paddock, turned into a giraffe in the ECoD, and finally bolted, hit my hands (sorry!) threw his head up, and gross I ended up with his ear in my mouth. Which is significantly better than breaking my nose, or whacking me in the forehead with his poll and knocking me out (that wasa memory from a very special and unnattractive Appaloosa mare. My first unconscious episode, how lovely.) All this and, as you may have seen from my Facebook status, I did not fall off.
Sorry to disappoint you.
Despite all this death-defying fun, we ended up on a positive note. It turns out that it wasn’t his fault, after all. As this little interlude came to its bouncy and entertaining conclusion, I noticed my terrible Black Dog (yes, she has a name -she’s Black Dog when she’s in trouble) had come bounding out of the darkness of the shadowed bushes in the glare of the evening sunlight, and that was what sent Final Call round the bend. Hard to fault him on that. Plus he was already depressed about dinner and all.
Lesson learned: dinner hour + scary shadows + Evil Corner of Death + the Black Dog = hang on bloody tight and spit out the hair in your mouth afterwards.