Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day - Hold the Fireworks, Please!

Being in the country, everybody and their...brother has to set off fireworks. Once again I had to stall up my horses so they didn't run themselves to exhaustion.

My horses handled the booming of tank fire from Fort Knox for years with barely a swat of the tail. But the whistle/pop of fireworks drives them crazy. For many years I was not able to offer them the safety of a stall, away from the lights and the noise. They seem to have developed a phobia.

Since we moved here, I've had to lock them down because the damn things were right over their heads. Otherwise they spend the night milling and racing from one side of the pasture to the other in a vain quest for relief.

Once I open the barn door and yell for the old mare, she makes a running dive for her stall. All I have to do is get out of her way, and close the gate. The young mare will stand just outside the barn - snorting and staring at the lights. She doesn't like the fireworks, she twitches and spooks as they go off. I can rattle the feed bucket and after a few false starts she'll go in her stall.

However, the old gelding will stand in the door, looking inside like he's never seen this barn, ever. Mind you, he's the one kicking the door down, insisting he get inside well before noon each day. He's also the one who charged into the barn, stomping my foot and breaking my toe, a couple years back. Maybe the old mare beating him to the barn hurts his dignity so he must stand outside until I put a rope on him. It's not like I have to (or could) drag his 1400 lb carcass into the barn. Any old piece of string will do - preferrably with a bucket of grain shoved under his nose.

It must be the principle of the matter.

Even a sway-backed, knock-kneed old hack has his pride.

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