Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tonight There's Gonna Be a Breakout...

And, yes there was! Please, let me state right from the get-go, at the root of 99% of all farm "incidents" is a goat. They look sweet and are darn cute, but don't be lulled. They are Trouble with a capitol T. ;)

So, let me set the stage. It's hot, still holding at about 92 degrees F. and hazy and I always give fresh water to the boys on my way to feed. Yesterday was no different. Tip the big water tank, rinse, start refilling, spray a few milling equine bodies etc. Go out the gate and LATCH it. And as always, a couple of goats scoot under said gate only this time they broke the chain holding the latch as their scooting isn't a nice clean clearance under. They lift the gate with their backs.

The sound is the same though so I don't turn around until I'm ten steps closer to the barn and feeling something isn't right. It isn't, the gate has swung open as wide as possible and five horses are all milling around outside. NP, I calmly walk up and grab
Cooper and Dandy by their fly masks and lead them back into the paddock. Now I have 12 feet of gate to pull up and two hands full ( that third hand I always wish for would have come in well, very handy). I have to let go of someone to grab that gate and swing it back on it's big heavy arc. The other three horses are now trotting around and my two are getting anxious. I let go of Cooper, who realizes he has another opportunity at freedom if he can scoot by Dandy. I'm hauling on the gate as hard and fast as I can. Coop scoots out, gate swings closed. I now have four horses running
around the property and one going nuts inside the gate I'm tying together with baling twine. Gene has gone to do the silly jump off a mountain thing.

Now everyone is running up towards the back 40. Dandy, bless his sweet soul, is racing around the paddock watching his herd leave him and screaming his little red head off. I dump some hay up there, hoping he will settle a bit and eat and not break through the fence. Grab a little treat or two and a halter because if I can get Cooper they will all follow. I'm whistling too, because they all know a whistle means a treat.

After walking in the heat, with 5 goats following and tripping me up about a 1/4 mile into the back 40 I realize, these boys are long gone and even the dust has settled. I'm not walking up to the irrigation canal road. It's way to hot for old huffing and puffing me to do in this heat. I go back to the house, call who I need to call to get gate codes, check on Dandy who is pitifully whinnying between hay bites and head out to the car with every horse goodie available stuffed in pockets. I hear the phone ringing and run back to the house to answer in case some neighbor has four horses eating their front lawn. It's a marketing call. Back to the car where by now, I'm feeling like Dandy and just want to cry. I'm hot, sweaty and worried. I pull into the turnaround and there, right there in the lower driveway is my boy Cooper waiting for me. He doesn't believe in keep away and meets me at the car. He gets a treat and the halter gets put on and we begin the walk back to the barn. No sign of the three stooges, Boo, Nick & Imp, but as I'm passing the gully by the barn driveway entrance I see a shiny black back way down munching grass. I whistle and Nick comes running up the slope and heads right for the barn. The two stooges follow and I have all three horses milling around the barn. Cooper gets put away, Imp & Nick come up to the paddock gate wanting to go in and then, there is just Boo. Boo likes keep away. He wastes about another 3 minutes of my time staying just out of reach when a carrot finally catches his eye. The bust out lasted about 40 minutes. Boo has a scratch near one of his eyes, a ding on a back leg. He's my runner, everyone else is kind of lazy. It took longer for me too cool down even with two beers than they were loose.

This is not the first time the goats have sprung the horses, they have bumped that gate up enough to come off the hinges (Gene turned one around so it can't be lifted again) and broken the latch chain a few times before. One time the horses didn't even know the gate was open. Had someone stopped by ( no one did) and asked for the girls, I would have happily sent them on their way, although they are always a little contrite and willing to stomp through the woods with me on a search party. Lots of new browse to check out no doubt. I'm sure last night everyone was swapping stories of the great adventure complete with Dandy admonishing the group for leaving him.

Gene finally called wanting to know what was up with that message I left. "Nothing Honey, we got it all handled. How was the flight? Do we have any of that unbreakable airline cable stuff still?"


  1. Oh my word! I would have been at the point of tears too, but it probably wouldn't have come until midnight when it was all over! Definitely - Trouble with a Capital T that rhymes with G that stands for Goat!

  2. I'm so glad you got everyone corraled again in relatively short order. It's something that can be talked and laughed about now but at the time I can fully understand breaking down in tears. Kids!

  3. And to think I thought of goats and cute innocent sources of mohair & goat's milk fudge!!! I didn't know they were Trouble. (Bailey used to have a theme song called trouble when he was a puppy. But at least he never released horses!!)

    And Gene is enjoying the thermals of these hot temperatures.....well, he enjoys that. I'd be terrified!!

    Glad you rounded everyone up without too much trouble. (Easy for me to say - it's finally under 90 here and the humidity is more manageable than yesterday.) You earned those beers!!! It's good that you were there to catch everyone.

    Once, we were walking the dogs at our old house, and we saw 3 horses coming down the middle of the road. We didn't know what to do so we called the police. We couldn't figure out where the horses came from. The police log was funny when they wrote it up.....I guess that was an unusual day for them!

    Hope tomorrow is calmer for you! (And today too - but it's pretty much past so my hoping doesn't do as much good!)


  4. Hi Theresa, I see your blog is well named! I had a great visual image of your trial and will lift a beer in sympathy. -Renee

  5. Yesterday was indeed peaceful. Thy all must have been tired from the excitement.
    Interestingly enough, the thermals Gene was hoping to catch where too strong and it ended up being dangerously windy. Gene and a bunch of others sat on
    the hill hoping it would calm down, it never did.
    Cindy, yes, I can laugh about it now. The event might even become epic in the retelling! ;-)
    Sue, having 3 horses heading for you on a trail must truly have been a sight. Somewhere, at sometime, someone was looking at an empty pasture and wondering where to start searching. Calling the police was a good call. Thankfully my guys have never headed for the road.
    Renee, Thank you and bottoms up!

  6. Oh my. I guess the moral of the story is don't get horses if you have goats. Or maybe it's don't get goats if you have horses. The real question is, do they make a goat-proof gate!?!

    [My internet's been out and I see I've missed a lot!]