Scared, Worried, Relieved, Irritated: Twelve Hours in a Horse Owner’s Life

Yow! I’ve had a whirlwind of horse stuff since I got home from my Master Naturalist meeting last night! Everything is fine now, but there sure were a lot of emotional peaks and valleys.

My only morning moment of Zen.

Apache Drama

I got home from the meeting and shut the door to the chicken coop. I heard some noises from the horses, so I went upstairs and asked Lee if he’d let Apache and Fiona out from the pens like I’d asked him before I left. He said he’d forgotten, so I went out with the teeny tiny flashlight to take care of it. I hate going out at night, since our skunk friend is always out there, too. I could smell the evidence of that.

Fiona was letting me know she was trapped, quite vocally, so I let her out, but then I noticed a distinct lack of spotted horse in the other pen. It was clear that Apache had barged his way out, thanks to the pen he was in having a short chain that’s hard to fasten. He enjoys chains.

I appreciate all that love and kindness last night.

I thought that it would be fine to just let him out with the other horses overnight, since they have the same grass and hay as in his pasture. But, I kept hearing a noise. So, I reluctantly set across the poop minefield known as the pasture to look for the source of the sound. It was coughing, I was sure.

As I walked, the usual suspects came up to see what I was doing. The Buckskin Buddies always want to know. Neither of them liked the flashlight, however. They were not coughing. Mabel floated by in the distance. I was relieved that she was not sick (though she is finally putting on weight and looking better other than all the places she’s been nipped by the other horses).

Way near the back of the pasture I saw a ghostly shape and a pair of glowing eyes, so I knew where Apache and T were. I plodded toward them, all the while hearing a great deal of coughing. When I got there, T was guarding Apache, who was not only coughing but farting vigorously with each cough. If I hadn’t been so worried, I’d have laughed. There was evidence of a fresh and healthy bowel movement right behind him, which made me feel a little better. But he sure looked miserable.

I texted Sara to see if he’d ever done it before or if she had any ideas, but she was equally baffled. So, I decided to try to get him back to the pens where I could see marginally better before asking Tarrin the trainer questions at 9 pm. I was concerned that I’d have a hard time getting to go with him, but happily, all that training walking beside me at liberty came in handy. I clucked to him and held his neck for a moment, and Apache calmly followed me to the pens, stopping only to cough.

My heart was breaking. What a good, sick boy he was! When we got to the pens, I told him to get a drink of water, and he did. Or he just did it on his own. My thought was that maybe he had a piece of hay stuck in his throat. He drank for a while, then came over to be petted. I stood with him and stroked his neck for the next ten minutes.

I realized that he had not coughed since he had the water! I’m glad I brought him to the trough, because that seems to have done the trick. I heard no more coughing as I walked carefully back to the house, vowing to check on him as soon as I got up. I handled it myself with only ONE panicked text. Not bad!

And Now for the Rest of the Horses

This morning I got up and went out into the drizzle and cold to check on Apache. I did spot his spotted self in the pasture and breathed a sigh of relief.

That didn’t last long. I looked over at the chickens and lo and behold, there were four horses also looking at the chickens. They had exited the pasture.

Blondie says hi to her horse friends who make that nice poop she enjoys pecking at.

Argh. I saw that the small gate out of their pens was open. No doubt I’d forgotten to shut it after the Apache adventure last night, though I swear I remember doing it. Maybe I just didn’t latch it well in my worried state.

I had to go to a meeting, so Lee went out and parked the Tahoe at the end of the driveway just in case they headed over there and wanted to take a stroll. Our gate has stopped working again, so it is no help at all.

There was no need to worry about the horses heading out, because they were way too interested in the green grass near the garage and whatever is interesting to a horse inside the garage. When my meeting was over, they were all at the fence leading to the house, saying hi.

I think there may be some food in that barn for cars, says Remington. Suna wants to point out the nice, new tires on Tillie the Trailer, ready to go somewhere tomorrow.

They did seem very pleased with themselves. Luckily, I knew that one thing would make them go back into their area and that would be food. I went into the tack room and got a bucket of their feed. I waved it under the nose of Dusty, and that’s all it took. He wanted that food, and so did everyone else. They all followed me quite briskly over to the pen area. Mabel even glided over to get in front, but was thwarted. No food until inside!

Apache says he’d like some food, too, after all, he is convalescing.

They were thrilled to get an extra portion of food and I was happy to have only lost ten minutes of my day to horse wrangling. That was enough, though! I hope the rest of the day is less crazy.

I plan to be indoors working and watching the temperatures go down, down, down. I will wear many clothes to my outdoor event tomorrow.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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