Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stringhalt Saves The Day

Vinny, my old retiree, is still suffering the effects of stringhalt. I am told it will take a year or more before he returns to normal. He has adjusted quite well, though. He has learned that he can canter much more easily that he can walk or trot, so he cruises around at a slow canter all day. Because he lifts his hind legs too high, from the stringhalt, he makes a sort of "clop-clop" noise when he canters. It's quite distinct and very loud. We joke that he can't sneak up on anybody. That came in handy this morning.

In the wee hours of the morning, about 4am, I was awakened by the distinct staccato rhythm of Vinny's canter. Coming from the front lawn. I sat up just in time to see a large, white body go cantering past my window. There's no missing Vinny, he sticks out like a sore thumb, even in the dark. And he makes enough noise to wake the dead.

I rushed out and turned the floodlights on. Sure enough, all three horses were standing on the front lawn. How? The gate to the back pasture was standing wide open. Now, I'm not one to leave gates open, especially not after bed time. I check the gates a few times before going in for the night. But, before I could investigate further, I needed to capture the wayward beasts. Fortunately, Spider is completely lacking in guile. He came trotting right up to me as soon as he saw me. I led him back into the pasture and the others followed, with a little prodding from my husband. I checked everyone over for boo-boos, then headed over to where my long-suffering, non-horsey husband was trying to figure out how the gate had gotten open.

Turns out, all the rain has softened up the ground just enough to allow the gate post to wiggle a bit. It wiggles just enough that if you push the gate at the right time, while wiggling the post, the gate will pop open. The buggers must have been scratching their butts on the gate and managed to pop it open.

I have no idea how long they were out for. My forensic investigation only turned up one poo pile, which leads me to believe they weren't out very long. They did manage to get into a lot of mischief while they were out, though. The mud made it very easy to track them. Since Spider and Vinny have very different shaped hooves, I was also able to easily tell who had been where. Vinny went straight for the lawn. Spider, on the other hand, took the grand tour.

First he got on the deck. Yes, on the deck. It's a raised wooden deck, the kind that you would think a horse would avoid. He then nosed around in the gazebo, rearranging the cushions on the patio furniture there. Then he climbed off the deck and into the arena, noodled around in there for a bit, then climbed over (climbed over, I saw the hoof prints) the 3 ft tall dirt berm that is supposed to keep horses out of the neighbors yard if they get loose (sorry neighbors). Apparently something spooked him in the neighbors yard, because there was a huge a divot where he spun and jumped back into the arena. From there, he decided to check out the tractor, which is parked next to the arena, then on to the carport to investigate the cars. Thank goodness the garage doors were closed, I shudder to think of the havoc he could have wreaked in there with the motorcycles and power tools. After investigating the cars, he walked down through the landscaping next to the house and into the front lawn to join his friends, which is where I found him.

The gate was an easy enough fix. We jammed a screwdriver through the latch, then secured the gate to the post with some baling twine and a snap. Once the weather dries out we'll reset the post. It's sort of a pain to get in and out with the new "security features", but I'm pretty sure you need opposable thumbs to get that gate open now. We'll see. If they do get manage to get it open again, at least I know I can depend on Vinny and his stringhalt to give them away!



Related Posts:
Stringhalt And Dandelions

5 comments:

  1. Spider cracks me up. Vinny too. Your horses are goofs!

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  2. Spider, Chance and Tucker would be a dangerous team on the loose. *lol* Trouble with the rain is that the hoofprints in the lawn are likely big holes. How understanding is your neighbor???

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  3. Glad you caught the escapees - the stringhalt comes in handy!

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  4. Spider is fantastic! What a great mind. He is an explorer!
    I am glad you caught them in time.

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  5. Sounds like they had a fantastic time! Don't you wish you knew what was going through their heads?! Glad all ended well though.

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