A fox, a goose, a bag of corn, a rowboat, and a river….

Bob was Boob today. Mos’ def. I went to check his feet in the pasture. I only had Boulder’s halter and lead rope, so I caught Bob and put the lead rope around his neck. No problem.

I also forgot to take a hoof pick with me, so I wasn’t able to get a great look at the grooves in his feet, but I saw plenty of purple in there still. So, I was happy.

I also saw a nice scattering of bots on his legs, so I decided to do some bot removal. At first, Bob did great and just grazed away. And then Boulder and Jamocha trotted off to the (closed) gate at the other end of the pasture (toward the barn). And that’s when the fussing began. First came the head up and quivering bottom lip. Then came the fidgeting.

Bob: “Omigod, they’re leaving me alone here! Eeek! I just know something is going to eat me!!!”

Me: “No, fool. You’re in a fenced pasture in which you can see quite a ways in all directions. And you can also see your buddies over there about 500 feet away from you. And they are not moving any farther away. Chill out, dude….”

And then came the head tossing and resisting the lead rope. So we had some words, Bob and I did. And we did a lot of turning around in circles. And then we had some more words. And some more circles. I got him calmed down enough to finish the job, but it wasn’t very fun for either one of us.

I turned him loose, with the requisite few seconds delay, and then told him he could go see his friends. Ya know, Bob gallops really, really well for a 22-year-old horse. It was really impressive to see him run the length of that pasture to his buddies (who were, of course, like, whatever…) Good grief, what a ninny!

Did I mention that it was drizzling all through this?

I walked over to the gate, opened it to let Bob and Jamocha through to the water trough. Boulder was content to stay back. And he let me halter him right there. No chasing. He was an absolute prince!

We walked on up toward the boys at the water trough. Boulder was very unhappy about being on the gravel track. He balked once or twice, but reluctantly started moving again with a look of “why are we doing this, please?”. We got to the trough, and then Bob’s second bout of Boob-ishness began.

There are three gates on a common post there. One gate goes to the track that goes to the barn. Another gate goes from the adjacent pasture to the path leading to Jenn’s driveway (and then the barn). And the third gate is the gate between the two pastures. So, these gates kind of form a “T”.

Boulder was so ouchy on the track that I wanted to both get him on the softer bark-covered path that goes past Jenn’s house and I wanted to spare any possibility that he was going to get zapped by the short in the electric fence on the other path. This meant going through the gate into the adjacent pasture and then through the second gate onto the path. These two gates happen to share a common chain to keep them shut.

You know where this is going, don’t you?

Thirty seconds later, I have two gates open, Boulder in hand, Bob grazing on Jenn’s lawn (without a halter) and inching toward the vegetable garden, and Jamocha angling to escape, too. Fortunately, Bob is both herd-bound and a slave to his stomach, so I reasoned that as long as he didn’t get spooked, he would probably stay put. Check.

First step, call Jenn on the cell phone and see if I can get some help, as this could easily turn into a disaster. I knew she was working in the barn, but didn’t want to shout and spook Bob off in a mad dash for Alaska.

No answer. Okay, I realized I was on my own for this one.

I quickly found that I couldn’t both keep Boulder in hand (even though he was being very good) and get the gates closed and chained with Jamocha in my face trying to get out. I couldn’t shoo this pesky pinto away for long enough to get through with Boulder, and there was no sturdy post to which I could tie Boulder outside the fence.

So, I looked at Boulder and said, “You are going to stand ground tied for the next 30 seconds. Are we clear on this?” He did not disagree, so I made sure Bob was still grazing on the lawn, gently dropped Boulder’s lead rope, took a deep breath, and turned my attention to the gates.

Boulder stood like a—well, like a rock. Good boy….

I got the gates chained and kept Jamocha contained. I didn’t think that trying to halter Bob while also leading Boulder was a good idea—no, especially as I only had one lead rope and two horses. Bob had been being squirrelly enough in the pasture that I didn’t like the idea of leaving Boulder ground tied to catch Bob, as a rambunctious Bob could equal a bolting Boulder. And that would be Very Bad.

So, I opened up the gate into the adjacent pasture (which was empty of horses), closed it, opened the gate into where Jamocha was, kept Jamocha at bay, and walked in there with Boulder, and closed the gate behind us. I took his halter off so there was no possibility of him somehow getting it hooked on something and creating Another Crisis. I asked him to please make himself easily catchable again. Please?

Back through the two gates again to where Bob was. Unclip the lead rope from Boulder’s halter and make a nice big arc to get around to Bob’s left side. Check. Bob was entirely focused on the rich green grass, so it was mercifully easy to get the lead rope around his neck. It took a bit of effort to get his attention, and then he obediently walked over to the gate with me, stood there while I opened it, got us through, closed it, opened the other gate, shooed Jamocha away, got us through that gate, closed it behind us, and let him loose. Whew.

And Boulder was still standing right where I left him! Whoo hoo! I walked up to him and haltered him again. Double whoo hoo! I shooed Bob and Jamocha away most thoroughly from the gates, took Boulder into the adjacent pasture, closed and chained the gate behind us while opening the final gate, got us out, and then closed and rechained the gates again.

Did I mention that I was on a tight schedule today?  And raining—I mentioned that already, right?

I got Boulder to the barn without further incident, got him in crossties, and thoroughly doctored his feet. Ugh! The stench of thrush is nasty…. Boulder got a treat (or two) and then an early dinner in his stall as the staff was going to bring the horses in early because of the weather.

And then I went to work.

About Mike

Michael Heggen is a horseman, maker, and thinker who lives in Salem, Oregon with his wife, Kim, and "three to eight cats". He stays quite busy riding, driving, and caring for their three horses, Boulder, Shasta, and Bob. Among other things, Mike has been a fencing coach, police chaplain, computer consultant, aspirant to the diaconate, computer salesman, box boy, carpenter, computer technician, typesetter, church youth leader, copy machine operator, and network administrator. His other interests include juggling, reading voraciously, and (pretty occasionally these days) cycling.
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