Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tale of a Mischievous Horse

I promised to tell you at least one of Tar's tales of his proudest moments.  To the rest of us, it's his most mischievous moments.  Remember I told you a bored, but intelligent horse is bound to get into mischief? Well, Tar has done that on many occasions.  Today, I'll tell you a quick story of one of them.  Once again, I swear it's all true!

After our big accident nearly six years ago, I knew I had to move Tar from the boarding barn.  I'd moved  him there after RW closed his recreational riding business and went full time into brokerage.  Tar had never adjusted to that boarding barn.  It was a dramatic change for him from RW's place in the mountains.

We didn't know then Tar was likely in a state of chronic low grade tummy ache (colic) from the Coastal Bermuda hay that is available in this area.  That's another story, though.  Safe to say  it was a contributing factor in Tar's behavior going from good to bad to terrible at that barn.  The big accident that nearly killed me sealed it.  We had to move ASAP.  I made the arrangements before I was even able to drive myself.

We moved to this little farm that had started as a hobby farm for a man who was getting quite elderly.  The little farm had seen better days.  But, it was close to my house and Tar would be pasture boarded. So I didn't worry about the old dilapidated barn.  It would just be for a short time until I picked the next place.  Oh, my...if I knew then what I know now!

The fences at this little farm were in bad shape. Still, I didn't worry because with Tar's size, he could push out of good fences if he became unhappy somewhere.  There's no containing a draft horse that doesn't want to be contained.

Tar was happy at the little farm, but bored.  He'd been put in a paddock by himself because he was more than twice the size of the little Paso Finos the old man owned.  But, I visited him every day.

A few months later, I came by on  my day off.  The staff told me Tar had set all of the horses free the night before.  What?! Yes, here it comes.  They showed me the broken fence and all. It was true.

Tar, in his boredom, decided he'd go find some playmates.  So, he pushed through the old fence at his paddock.  He came in the open back end of the barn.  He proceeded to open every stall door and let all the horses out.

The staff found them all running free the next morning.  Fortunately, no one had escaped the property.  There was a saddle on the floor.  We always wondered who had tried to ride whom!

Now, how can a horse unlatch a stall door? It's quite simple.  Horses have as much dexterity in their lips as we have in our fingers.  A smart horse like Tar can unlock stall door lickity split...and he did.

Where'd I move Tar after that little shabby farm?  Well, here's the interesting part.  Two months into this temporary arrangement, I was finally able to go back to work. The big accident had landed me in the hospital and then on two months of bed rest.  Three months back at work and it was apparent I was burned out at the mental health center.  It just took a life threatening accident and some time out of that grind to make me see it.

One day, my mother said, "You know we could make something of that place (the little farm)." Yeah, right, let me know when you're serious.  Those were my exact words.  My mother still worked and lived nearly a thousand miles from me.  She couldn't be serious.  She wasn't a horse person.

Guess what happened next...

We bought the little farm, literally, not figuratively. We spent a year refurbishing it, building everything absolutely new.  Every fence post, every gate, the horse barn--all of it completely new.  We took the old barn down to its skeleton and made it into the the "people barn" it is today.  I now live in what was that dilapidated old barn.

Lord have mercy! If I'd only known then what I know now.  Tar was walking through what is now my great room freeing horses in the night to have some playmates!  Life is funny.  As soon as you think you know exactly where you're going, you don't know after all.

That's your postcard from the farm! Thanks for reading! Have a good Tuesday!

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