So, my neighbors think I’m nuts. This is not necessarily a new development but I am reminded of it fairly often and just recently it happened again. So, my sweet Ro, a relatively steady, bombproof little mare has opinions on birds that range from “these wee things annoy me” to “this is clearly a horse eating monster”. Most of our resident birds, like the magpies and robins, fall into the annoying category. Quail are suspicious, as is our little chicken friend. But ducks? Ducks are horse eating monsters. Ducks are pure evil put on this earth solely to torment and abuse Ro. That’s their entire purpose. Ro loathes ducks.
So, I’m sure you can imagine how well our schooling session was going after our first trip to the far side of the arena was interrupted by an angry flapping duck. To her credit, Ro stayed very calm in the face of great mortal danger, she just skittered away and refused to walk by the bush. Problem was, suddenly every noise, anything that moved weird, every critter around looked a lot like that duck just waiting for us to let our guard down. Ro has to be alert and on top of it because clearly her mom was simply not understanding the true gravity of the situation. Didn’t understand that surviving the ride meant keeping our heads on a constant swivel, even if it meant not paying attention to moms riding cues. A sacrifice Ro was willing to make.
We kept at it and continued on with our work, but it was getting progressively less productive with each passing minute. Finally as we passed the chicken coop again she decided it was too much and let me know we may have to make a run for it. I wasn’t really annoyed at her, I understood that she was just worried, but it was making it difficult to get the focused work I had been hoping for and something had to change.
So, I did the only thing I could think of, I loudly marched over to the bush, hoping to scare away the duck beforehand, grabbed my lunge whip, and proceeded to make a big showing of dramatically whacking at the bush, just to ensure any and all horse eating monsters were thoroughly chased away. Ro watched with concern, then growing interest, and finally walked over to investigate. I must have convinced her that I was scarier than the duck because I was able to hop back on and we managed some pretty good work by the end of our ride. She’s a very good girl.
This 100% is not the only reason my neighbors think I’m nuts, but probably one of the more recent offerings. I also lost my mind at the dogs the other day, but it was justified. Here’s how this went down.
I was running the farm mostly solo for a couple days, no big deal, Dad took Mom on a little getaway like they used to and Christopher was trying to help but he’s been buried in work. Like I said though, no big deal, I got the irrigation all going, let the chicken out to wander for a while, let the girls out in the pasture (they got a couple days off during this since it had been a while since they’d had a vacation anyway and when I’m the only one on the farm, a couple of my family members get really squigged out by the idea of my riding without a spotter in the same county, we haven’t worked out a compromise to that yet).
Then I let the dogs out to play for a bit and set up my desk temporarily on the porch. I do this often in the mornings so the dogs aren’t locked inside while I work, although when it starts to cool for fall we will inevitably have to quit because I’m chicken. Anyways, I realized I needed to go move the hose in the garden from the last of the tomatoes to the very last of the potatoes and I thought, my senior guy Scoobs is asleep on the porch, Watson and Joe have been underfoot all morning, I’ll have them walk down to the garden with me so they don’t pester Scoobs. Joe gets to go on adventures like this occasionally. He loves to help on the farm (he can’t just be out all the time as he hasn’t met a plant he doesn’t want to eat, a critter he doesn’t want to befriend, or a car/tractor/implement that hasn’t magically stopped for him and therefore lives blissfully unawares of the potential vet visits just lurking about). Watson almost never goes on adventures because he is very tiny and gets nervous in the big wide world.
So, off to the garden we go, Joe did great, his heel and general recall is really coming along, Watson hung pretty close all the way down too. BUT then, Watson saw his opportunity and pulled a sneaky hide away from his mom. In the half second it took to move the hose from one line to another he disappeared from my view, so I called for him. No recall, no noise, no sign of him. I call a few more times then start to panic, Joe seems wholly unbothered but Joe regularly underestimates the level of concern necessary in the room. Finally, after I’m at near screech hollering for Watson he emerges from under a weed pile, then, realizing mom’s having a panic, takes leg bail for the arena and finally out into the neighbors field. At this point I’ve gone from screeching to the tone I reserve for scaring some sense into those around me, and he finally tucked his tail and slowly walked back toward me. I scooped him up, we made a beeline to the house, Joe being a good boy and naturally following in heel, and Watson spent a little time thinking about his life choices from inside the house. My neighbor texted me a little bit later asking if I needed help, she had seen my struggle but had her grandbabies around so she couldn’t engage. I told her we were all good, but Watson for sure took 10 years off my life. Crazy little bean.
He’s stayed pretty close since then, he’s usually not a runner, that was always Sherlocks trick, so I dunno what got into him. I always get a little suspicious of a change in behavior after little Sherlocks sudden departure but I think this was more just “cool things” overload followed by not wanting to be in trouble. Which to be fair, he wouldn’t have been if he hadn’t run, and even then, 10 minutes inside without his brothers and a stern talking to was all he got.
Scooby slept through the entire upheaval. Had no idea.
Until we chat again my friends