Thursday, September 29, 2011

Oh Deer...

Well, true to Michigan form, it’s been raining all week. This is an important fact to remember. Just in case.
I had a short day at work, due to parts availability. This means I went in at 9, and came home around 1 (is that awesome or what?). When I left, the horses were hayed and watered in the ‘apple pasture’ by the road. Now, that particular pasture is not hot. I didn’t have enough fencing to make the connection, but the horses have touched the other fence enough that they know that they don’t want to touch the white wire.  Just hearing the click of the fencer is enough to motivate good behavior in most cases.
Tuesday was not such a case.
When I left work, it was grey and gloomy, but not raining. I naively thought that I might get a ride in before it started getting icky again. As I pulled into my driveway I felt that sinking feeling of dread that had little to do with the steady rain that was developing. There was hotwire strewn across my driveway and fence posts pulled out of the ground. And to fat shiny show horses nowhere to be seen.
I bolted inside to grab my Carhart and rubber boots – as the rain had progressed to the drenching state- and set off across the back pasture. How far could they be, I figured. Delight knows her way home (as proven by both times she’s dumped me). Something probably scared them into spooking, and they were probably taking advantage of the grass in the back pasture.
I didn’t find any horses, but I did find a little evidence of a struggle… And lots of deer tracks.

So I trekked around the back field. No horses.
I walked through Janet’s pastures where I usually go for a ride. No horses.
Finally I walked through Ray’s far field. No horses. Though by this time, I was soaked through. My hair was wet and stringy, and my boots were full of water. I was worried and cold and running on adrenaline.
Then I heard someone honking in my driveway. Of course, I was half a mile away. I hoped that they would sit tight while I slogged my way back. I got back just as they were backing out of my drive.

I got to meet yet another of my neighbors named Dan (this makes three). And my horses were in his back yard, hiding behind the swing set. I’m not sure what prompted them to run a half mile in a direction that I’ve never taken them… But my relief was nearly overwhelming that I found them and they were mostly unharmed.
On my walk home, I could get a clearer picture of what happened. There are two sets of horse tracks in the muddy dirt road: Delight’s long strided tracks, and RC’s frantic awkward sprinting tracks, followed by at least one set of deer tracks. Now, I’m not a tracker, so I could be wrong. I can tell Delight’s hoof print from RC’s, but I cannot tell one deer from another.
Unfortunately, the only conclusion that I can draw is that my two pansy show horses were being chased by an herbivore.
In the rain.  

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