Wednesday, July 30, 2008

There is a WHAT in the barn???

Tonight, as usual, I was running late. A little work with the VLC swiftly determined that he was in a pissy, antsy, impatient mood. So I decided to torture him.

"Aha," I said, "This is a great night for a patience lesson!" I proceeded to double-halter him - one regular, one rope and tie him very carefully and solidly to a beam in the middle of the arena. "You, young man, can stand here and just deal with it while I ride the Lust of Your Life." I figured he'd paw and scream and have a hissy, and it'd be just as good for her - since I'd never ridden her with another horse in the arena and we're going to a show in less than a month - as it would be for him.

I brought Honey in and, surprisingly, after a few screams, he realized he wasn't breeding anything and he decided to stand quietly, cock a back leg and go to sleep. Wow. Okay, clearly this wasn't as big of a challenge for him as I was thinking. I groomed her and tacked her up and was about to get on when I noticed he had come awake and was staring intently at the parking lot. He hadn't moved. He hadn't made a noise. But he was clearly on the alert.

A second later, Honey saw whatever he did - or smelled it. Her reaction was a bit different. You Thoroughbred people will know exactly what I am talking about when I refer to the Great Thoroughbred Freak-Out. Every muscle in her body tensed at once. Her tail and head shot up, her neck arched. She snorted loud enough to be heard in Malaysia.

I stared at the parking lot but saw nothing.

"Come on, you silly mare. Let's just walk down there and look at whatever is so terrifying." I tugged on the reins. Nothing. She was planted. And then, she exploded - the complete, my-brains-have-fallen-out-my-ears Thoroughbred Freak-Out. She basically ran around me at the end of the reins at Mach 10, terrified out of her wits. In following her, I got to where I could see the corridor to the barn - and what was freaking her out.

It was a cow. Well, I later learned it was actually a bull but what did register is that it was black and fucking huge and would NOT shut the fuck up. It was doing that agitated cow noise that they do when they get separated from the other cows and are too damn stupid to find their way back.

"Moo! Moo! Moo!" went the cow.


I am a vegetarian, but at this moment, I understood completely why Mugwump feels their highest and best use is as a steak. I would certainly have sent this one on its way to becoming a steak without the slightest pang of guilt, if only I'd had a gun on me.

I now had a dilemma. I wanted to go chase the Bad Cow away from the barn. But I had a stallion tied in the arena and a mare who clearly could not be trusted to be tied up while I went cow chasing. Nor could I take her with me, as it required most of my attention to ensure I did not have a 15.3 hand mare in my lap. I will say that she quieted somewhat when I had my hand on her neck talking to her. She does trust humans not to steer her wrong. Well, to a point...

So I tried to call for help. I called my roommate Josie.

"Hello?" said Josie.

"Josie? OMG there is this BIG FUCKING BLACK COW loose down here in the barn and Honey is freaking out and I can't leave her. Can you come out and help me?"

Turned out Josie and my other roomie were in town having Thai food. They did however promise to call my landlord, the probable owner of said cow - but he wasn't home. Meanwhile the Bad Cow had moved to the barn aisle where it continued to moo. If you've never heard the sounds of very upset cow echoing off a very old aluminum sided barn, all I can say is that Honey was probably somewhat justified in her belief that it was a Thoroughbred Eating Demon.

I tried to keep her calm and hoped it would go away, which it finally did. When she had settled down, I tied her to the twine and went out to check on the status of the Bad Cow. I saw it heading down the neighbor's driveway. OK the coast was probably clear to proceed, and while there's nothing more that this chickenshit middle aged re-rider wanted to do more than untack both horses, go into the house and lay on the couch, I kicked myself in the ass and determined that I was going to at least ride the mare.

The Bad Cow was gone, but she knew it was somewhere. Honey has, except for the very first ride, always been very sensible with me. She's not a spooky horse but tonight? She was a freakin' idiot. I got on and we could not get past the opening to the corridor where Bad Cow had been standing. No way. She does, however, have a lovely rollback. Now I knew I was alone at home and I didn't want to get into a war, so we finally compromised that we would work in half of the arena but we would work. She was actually quite good, and at the end of our ride, Josie returned and managed to stand in the doorway and lure her back over. It took a while, but we got it done. I turned her and Clover out in the arena for the evening so hopefully by morning it will be the same old arena again and not the scary, scary place where a Bad Cow was.

By now I was beat so I longed the VLC, cleaned my stalls, filled my waters and trudged my half-dead ass into the house to write this post.

So here's what we learned tonight:

1. Thank you, VLC. I was almost on that mare when you noticed something was wrong outside. I appreciate the warning and you rock, even if you do have pissy, antsy three year old moments.

2. Karen, if you do not already possess a cow, please buy or borrow one. You are going to have to cow-break this mare or she's never going to be safe to trail ride. I'm not sure if it's all cows or just bulls, but boy, nobody would enjoy being on her the way she reacted! Maybe you can turn her out with a small, non-threatening steer or something.

3. Honey, I do appreciate that you tried really hard to get your brain back upon request even though you were very, very scared.

4. If there are any cows at the SAFE show, I am going to die.

5. The bull, I have learned "went missing" from the neighbors several days ago and my landlord saw it eating under his apple tree today. Farmers are an odd bunch. A reasonable person would tell everybody else that there was a 2,000 pound animal on the loose, walking, you know, in the middle of the fucking road where we drive. But no, never occurred to anyone to forewarn the rest of us...sheesh. I mean, I know we can't put up a Bad Cow Alert like we do the Amber Alerts, but pick up the darn phone already...


Latigo Liz said...

There won't be any cows at the SAFE show but there will be GOATS! Heheheheh!

ORSunshine said...

We heard Honey clear down here south of Portland!

Enjay said...

how did the VLC handle Honeys' freak out?

Elly said...

Does anyone else horses have issues with cows? Traditionally in the UK it seems to be pigs that are the horse eating pink things, but our horse goes past fine. Same with goats, ostriches, wallabies (we boarded her near a private zoo type thing), birds, deer etc. But cows/cattle - you'd be in the next county before you know it.

FD said...

Oh man, bwahahah. Dilemma much? That'll teach you to have novel ideas when there's no-one else about. I have a similar story actually, except in my case, the stallion was loose and I was already riding.
It was late at night, and I was on a 4 year old 12.2 pony gelding, brought to us to have some chill established because it was a nervous wreck. Been overshowed and overfaced jumping, poor twitchy little sod. (I'm barely 5'2 and weighed approx 90lbs then btw) I thought as he was so nervous that riding him in the quiet late evening would be good. Nobody about you see. Nice and peaceful for him.
Now said indoor was ancient and brick built and had a number of doors. One of which opened onto the back wall of a store room / stable, which we used sometimes never and in summer mostly served as a rug store.
What I didn't know was we'd had an awe inspiringly fugly spotty stallion arrive as a boarder and my boss'd dumped him in there for the night till we had a stallion box free... also the catch on the arena door was defective.
Said stallion had been hand raised in isolation from other horses and was kinda aggressive with them...

Cue cavalry charge, and me and pony reversing our way across the arena with me belting the stallion across the head with a jump whip till we arrived at the stable door and I could back the pony through it, bashing away all the time, then slam the door in his face.

Cured me of riding when there was no-one about I can tell you!

I've not had so much of a problem with cows, sheep or pigs in the UK.
What I have had a problem with is donkeys...
I used to ride an 18hh Dutch Warmblood stallion and have to one side of the yard invariably included going past a donkey, this incredibly macho, unspookable alpha male animal would twitter and leap and snort and tremble at going past it, every singe bloody time.

Sydney said...

We had cows on the farm up until three years ago so the horses are used to them. Actually they usually would chase them if they got into their paddock.
However I was riding down the road next to the neighbors field of heifers and all at once they noticed a horse cantering on the other side of the fence and came bucking and running (all 45 of them!)over to join the strange animal they had never seen in their life. My mare was like bug-eyed cantering sideways at the MOOOO-ing monsters.
Think south park cows. Yeah they are stupid.

Sydney said...

Forgot to add: some brainiac also decided to re-introduce fucking wild turkeys into our area. I encountered my first on my horse the other day. One lone turkey sounded like a herd of freaking elephants coming through the woods. My mare heard it, stopped and quaked on the spot until it burst from the brush and ran across.

Jackie said...

HaHaHa! I can laugh! We are surrounded by cows, but not directly next to us - across the street, down the dirt road - and next to said dirt road is a stable that does heading/heeling, so they have about a dozen young steers for practice. One messy pasture day I decide to take PrimaDonnaDiva for a walk next to the cows...she's Appendix Quarter Horse, so should not be scared of cows, right? Wrong! She has always acted/looked more TB than QH...and she did *exactly* what Honey did, only I was 1/4 mile from home and had to lead her back (I did stay a bit to see if she'd calm down...not!) and she was determined to go home as fast as she could, pulling me, head going up looking behind her, me yanking it down, making her walk beside me the whole walk home. Funny thing is she can see these cows from the pasture; we watch them head/heel several times a week from our house, yet up close they were definately going to *eat* her!
No, have not tried it again...yet. I swear my arm still aches from that walk last spring!

Sydney said...

You would be surprised how quick if you turn them out in a herd of cows that they enjoy pushing around their dumb bovine pasture mates.

Elly said...

SD - Ours hate donkeys too, there was one on the yard and we always used it to practice our lateral movements ;)

Sheep are an issue too, but goats are fine. Never understood that one!

promise said...

I don't think my mare has ever seen a cow. I don't think I want her to either. We boarded for a few months at a mini-breeding farm, while the trainer we were with built her barn, etc. and she was PETRIFIED of the minis, and the llama. About the same reaction as Honey every time she saw one or the other...and complete melt down, if she saw both at the same time. That's fun on a dumbblood mare with 2 weeks on her, lol.

Aelfleah Farm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aelfleah Farm said...

(this is me laughing with you, not at you)

Cows are sorta scary... Until you comvince the hore to chase one. They they aren't scary anymore. We have no horses with cow issues here (even though we breed Arabians). Now pig issues... That's a different story.

Of course our wild pigs are as big as cows. But still the ONLY time my perfectly steady mare did the old rollback to launch at mach 10 thing was over a pig. A domestic sow with piglets. A sow penned up under a tree. With no way of coming to eat the pretty grey Arabian mare.

And then there was the wonderful appy gelding that could pen cows, herd goats, eat wild pigs for breakfast, face down an emu, yawn at quail breaking under his feet, blink mildly at the attacking goose, but fall into a terrified quivery panic upon HEARING a donkey and flee blindly if he saw one.

It's funny to think of now, but very unfunny when trying to ride it out!

Serendipity said...

Maybe it's a stock horse thing, but my redhead didn't react at all when he saw cattle for the first time. The barn donkey, on the other hand, just about made him soil his tail.

Evil, evil donkeys.

ellen said...

Lots of fun around here during the Great Emu Invasion a few years ago -- when all the people who had believed they would get rich raising emus learned otherwise, and set them free to fend for themselves.

I never had one here, but I know someone who did. It scared several varieties of livestock through several fences on his place ("dang hard to get a head shot on them suckers" was his comment) and I did see one trucking happily up the side of the highway with a deputy sheriff in pursuit on the way to work one morning (one of those "Am I awake or what?" moments)

Dangerbunny said...

ohh did that make me laugh, I think you are safe though, likely no cows at your upcoming show.

One of my friend's horses is terrified of pigs, once on the way home we cut through the neighbors field and ran into him and his pigs, the horses were kinda upset about the pigs but both were dealing with it, just prancy and snorty, then for some strange reason the farmer decided his pigs were hot so he took out a hose and started spraying them down, both horses just freaked out, complete meltdown, I had to get off and walk Beau home because he was trembling so much.

my horse is an Arab and freaks out when she feels like it, depends very much on her mood, sometimes saddles and towels try to eat her.

Dangerbunny said...

also I recently found a way to make any horse load into any trailer no matter what...

All you need is a horse, a trailer and a Llama. I wonder if I should try to copyright my genius before posting the secret to my success on here. I was trying to load a slightly halter trained pony into a small trailer for a friend of mine, we were at a horse dealers and i was telepathically telling pony to come home with us and you will have proper nutrition and love, it wasn't working, pony was like "ahh trailer" but then some Llamas in a pasture next to the trailer come Llama-ing over and the pony took one look at them and one look at the trailer and jumped in so fast I nearly got rope burn. So the moral of the story is always carry a secret Llama as a motivator.

BritnieAnn said...

How funny!!! Well not for you, but, for us readers, lol. Glad the VLC did well!! Poor Honey, hope she does okay for your next ride, and yeah, def want to get her desensitized to them suckers!

My QH mare and colt have been pastured near cows their whole lives basically so they don't even look at them. Yeah! (although Daisy does look like she wants to chase them at times, lol, ah, the start of fulfilling my breakaway roping dream!!! ;)

June Evers said...

Your description of the Great TB Freak Out brings back memories...That's exactly what they do, the whole body tenses up and then you do not know where they'll go next...a Levade, maybe? My old mare was like that and all I can say is UGH!

I now ride a VLC-esque TB/QH/Perch cross PMU and love his placidness. He's too lazy to tense his whole body. Oh my God, do I love that.

Good on you for getting on 'them' crazy old TBs in your 40s no less!

June Evers said...

Danger bunny:

Llama-ing....Arh, arh!

promise said...

I second the keep a llama in your pocket for quick trailer loading. It works :)

Redsmom said...

Congrats, Cathy, on getting thru the evening without anybody getting hurt. That bull sounds like he'd make a good burger (with cheeese!!).

Just the other day I got to try Dude the Drama Queen (DTDQ) on a cow we found out running loose on our morning ride. He went right towards it when I asked him to and pursued it, trying to follow it through someone's carport. When I turned him, he bucked, but I wasn't going thru the people's carport!! DTDQ is QH and acted like he knew what the cow was and what he was supposed to do with it. Our other horse is also QH and he shakes all over, but loves to chase cows. They've been lesson horses at an English barn for 10 years, but they got their "cow" back pretty quickly. We had a hairy encounter with some wild turkeys a couple of weeks ago, though. Haven't seen a pig yet, and hope I don't!!

MsFoxy said...


I'm sorry that is hilarious. My neighbors have cows. There is a bull, a cow and a calf across the road and down a house. And acres and acres full of cows at the end of my road (4 houses down).

If Foxy has never seen a cow, she will get a crash course here. Actually I am thinking of getting her a goat for a friend...I totally cannot afford another horse and I don't want her to be alone.

That just cracks me up.

gillian said...

I remember when I first brought my little arab mare to see the cow next door. She didn't notice it at first because she was staring at the backhoe, so we kept walking to the fence and then all of the sudden FREEZE! What the f$#* is that?!?! She did the classic arabian gooseneck stare, plus a little snort. We just stood there for a while, staring at this fascinating creature from outer space.

One thing I love about this girl, she is really really curious even when she's terrified. On the occasions that she does bolt she usually has her head twisted around so she can stare at the monster while we're running away.

I need to find another cow though. She hasn't seen another one in over a year.

mugwump said...

Don't you wish me and my yellow mare were there to put that sucker up for you?
We cow folk are a perverse bunch. If it occurs to us at all that a loose bull will make somebody nervous, we think it's funny. If it's a valuable bull, we'll call the owner. If it's safe where it is we don't try to move it.
What can I say?
Horses that are afraid of cattle make the prettiest cutters, by the way.
If you have access to some cattle I can send you some desensitizing tips....

barrelracer20x said...

My old paint barrel horse was cool with everything for the most part. He was a roping horse, too, so now cattle issues for him. Goats he could deal with, llamas were alright as long as they didn't touch him-pigs were tolerated as well. Buffalo-a complete and utter horse eating monster! LOL We were at a rodeo where a specialty act had some buffalo that they used in their act. They were in one of the rough stock pens, which were located somewhat near where we were parked. My paint pony would've never made a buffalo hunting pony!

Karen V said...

POOR POOR HONEY!!! She was probably terrified! Poor darling little TB mare!

How is she now with the Llama? When I dropped her off, she and Heddy about lost their minds...
*snicker, snicker*

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

There are cows "near" us - 4 or 5 across the street. They're totally invisible...UNTIL you ride past them on the road.

On our "trail", there are 15 or so pairs in a large pasture (waste of good horse pasture if you ask me!) and they'll come running and bucking also. It's actually on a gravel driveway with a fence on both sides. Nowhere for the horses to go, so they stand and stare and get over it, then we move past. It's always easier with a buddy horse.

My cow story - Angel (fat appy mare) is out of cutting stock from Texas. Her sire is a cutter. Her dam was a cutter. Angel is BUILT like a cutter. She supposedly has "natural cow sense". Yeah, right...maybe if one hoof!

I took Angel to a place called Bonina Ranch last winter for some indoor riding. No working, just time under saddle inside in winter. Bonina Ranch raises cows. They also raise cutting horses and have events at their ranch. They run the cows into the south end of their indoor arena and work them there.

We entered the north end of the building. We rode small circles, warming up a little. I put her on the rail and embarked on an adventure to the other end of the arena. (Mind you...there were no cows in there at the time.) We got about 25 feet from the end of the arena and Angel's head came up and her ears came forward. Three more steps and she tensed. I guess that's what she did, she seemed to swell or inflate underneath me.

Then she stopped, on full alert. Blowing "that blow". Tail straight up. (She a little
"broomy", but she does have more that three hairs). I briefly thought "Oh shit!" then, she dropped and spun and beat feet back to the other end of the arena.

The ranch owner happened to be watching and said, "You know, with moves like that, she'd make a nice little cutter."

I said, "Can I use your bathroom? I need to change my underwear."

I would LOVE to take both Angel and Honey up to their ranch and turn them into a pen with cows. I'm sure I could arrange that...

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

The VLC, by the way, was perfect through the whole thing. Stood quietly and watched. Seemed to think that between the bull and the rocketing Thoroughbred mare, this was excellent quality entertainment. He wasn't bothered at all, but then again, the cows used to be able to come up to the arena here and he would wander over and play with them. He really doesn't fear anything except donkeys.

Ours are all llama broke thanks to having 3 on the property.

Anonymous said...

I had the same experience the other day with my 3 yr old Saddlebred and a horse that was turned out in a full fly-sheet and mask. He thought it was a Saddlebred-eating horse-ghost :o) I was so glad that I was doing groundwork!
Mugs - I have access to some cows are our place, would LOVE some desensitizing tips!!

Sydney said...

My friend has this amish trained horse. Shes dead broke and big. you can stick any dumbshit rider on her in the world and shes calm as ever. She only two things shes afraid of is flyspray and lamas. We were at my friends and my other friend loaded her off the trailer, she seen my other friends ancient lama who just wanders loose around the farm did an about face and galloped to the back of the pasture as fast as she could (she never usually moves past a trot without much flapping of the riders legs first)
The mare I was riding walked up to the lama and curled her lip up at it when she smelled it.

Huntseatrider said...

Turkeys? Pigs? Cows? Was my former even OTTB a saint... or am I just really fucking lucky? After an accident that ended up scaring me out of jumping anything above 2'3", we started to re-train him to go as a hunter. But hell, I rode that big boy ALL over town! Thru the Burger King drive thru, along a highway, stopped at a gas station, everything! We ran across cows, pigs, and turkeys all the time... he flicked an ear, maybe skittered to the side. However, I will say that he was Scared Shitless of the Butterflies Of Death! Talk about the Thoroughbred Freak Out. I do believe he fell to the ground on more than one occasion. Idiot, really... but the best horse I've ever ridden.

First cross country ride after the accident, we went cantered thru a field of steers. I was expecting to get thrown... nah, He always took care of me

But if a butterfly came it... I suddenly became a lawn dart. Or a Very Smooshed Rider. =]

spottedmonster said...

I had a retired Grand Prix jumper that was a TB and totally fearless except when it came to livestock of any kind. He would freak out and FALL DOWN, I got really good at stepping off on the way down.

loneplainsman said...

Oh my GOD.

I'm laughing WITH you, not AT you... really!


Ooh - I would love to have a cow come randomly into the yard! I could chase it! =) I have a very sensable horse, luckily, so his reaction would probably be like VLCs: calm. And then he'd want to eat it. Here I am, surrounded by cattle, with a horse who would LOVE to do some cowwork - and no cows to play with! So sad... =(

Seriously though, my horse is pretty good with most things. I moved him to a new barn once and we were going for our customary first-day-walk-around-the-property. We walk passed all the farm equipment, the tractors, the big logging trucks, the ATVs, through narrow rows of electrical tape, into woods - he doesn't blink an eye. We walk onto the driveway and he sees the BOs two miniature donkeys. Has a huge panic attack! Even here, we have a little wooded trail we go down. We have to pass scary buildings with dangling stuff on them, tractors, ATVs, lawnmowers, stacks of tires, and a chicken coop full of squawking chickens (that he can't see - just hear). Again - doesn't bat an eye. If he does spook, it's at the pair of ponies grazing on the lawn!

Silly horse!

Shadow Rider said...

Yep, I know that TB 'freak out' well. It's like the brain switches off, then they will frantically scramble over anything and anybody to get away. Kudos to you for hanging on!
I've recently been through some TB drama too, in the process of writing a blog on it. Should have it up by the end of the day. Over a 3 day period this TB fell over a downed tree and got trapped. Then caught his foot in a gate and had to be trailered to the clinic for stitches. Can't wait to see what he does next!

Karen V said...

You pointed out that it was VLC that alerted you to "stranger danger" - You were able to read the horse and know that something was different.

My husband, God love him, wants SO BADLY to be horse savey, and FAILS.

Poor guy is a wreck waiting to happen. He can't read a horse's expression. *sigh*

Kris said...

and this is precisely why i don't ride TBs or TB crosses any longer! Too many experiences like that (sometimes in an arena, and sometimes out on trail). OTT Arabs (and regular Arabs minus those stupid halter freaks) just don't have that explosive component.

ezra_pandora said...

We have cows at where we board our horses and my mare has always been skittish at the end of the arena where the cows are pastured right next to. Usually she keeps a keen eye on them and they usually couldn't care less about the horses and just stay in their merry way of munching on grass and what not. Well, I decided that I'm tired of my mare kind of paying more attention to them than me, so while I was working on ground stuff the other day, I took her over the fence that separates the cows and we just stood there watching them. She was a little snorty at first but calmed down and stuck her head out closer to the fence. Well, the cows were just kind of watching her and one of the little steers finally got brave enough to come over to see what we were looking at. Well, he kept inching foward and my mare kept sticking her head a little closer to the fence (really round pen type panneling). Finally the little steer, who's name is horny toad (he's got stubby horns and warts on his face and nose) got right up to the fence and my mare did the same. They just kept sniffing and sniffing and he finally stuck his tongue out and licked her nose!!! His tongue went right up her nose and I was like uh oh, she's going to flip, but she just pulled her head back a little and then turned around and stuck it right back up to the fence. I was shocked. It was good for her though. She needs cow desensitizing.

Heidi the Hick said...

Well, I gotta say, all the farmers I know (and grew up beside and go to church with) would definitely get off their asses and find out where the bull went!

Although he'd not likely get a chance to get out, because the farmers in my neck of the woods are reasonable and sensible and have nifty structures called electric fence, and bullpen.

Actually, most farmers I know are so sensible that they got rid of the bulls decades ago because they were such a friggin hassle, and all their cows are bred by AI. (Artificial insemination, not artificial intelligence.)

No wonder she was scared though. Bulls are unbelievably huge. And loud.

Nancy (aka Tony's person) said...

If you had an artist friend, I think this post would make a really funny comic book. Your narration of the events was so funny & well told. Thanks for a good laugh--and a good lesson!

mlks said...

Seems like anything that looks somewhat like a horse but yet isn't quite a horse has the potential to freak ACTUAL horses out...i.e., the aforementioned cows, donkeys, and a way that, say, dogs often can't.

I've also seen some pretty outstanding horse-reactions to minis and sheep. Not so much to pigs, but we have a wild pig issue on the Big Island, so they all see pigs all the time.

My number one favorite freak-out was in response to a Peruvian Paso gaiting....good god. The "normal" (walk/trot/canter) horses all tried to go straight up in the air when this horse-looking thing started moving like an alien.

Good times.

Thomas'sMom said...

I have a huge spoiled AQHA mare that acts like Her Majesty, The Queen of all Equines. Apparently her affinity for being attended by human staff has led to her acceptance of all things human. We can easily ride past semis (down interstate access roads, across overpasses), construction equipment (yes, while operating), tractors, combines, very loud motorcycles, etc. without a fuss - as if they're beneath her notice. Try to ride past a field of even somewhat distant cattle & she's going to show off why her registered name is "Dancer". I thought some desensitizing was in order, so I got her moving cattle on my in-laws' place - no problem, will even chase & run one back to the herd. So now we're done acting silly over cows right? Wrong! Still can't calmly ride past a field of them. Where's a good equine psychiatrist when you need one?

Nagonmom said...

Thanks, I really needed that laugh! The donkey fearing horses had better not use the same trainer I do, he uses a donkey to teach horses to lead. I was worried about the donkey until I saw it in action!! Horse going bonkers, donkey bored looking for grass. There is a rubber tie between them, and the donkey is clipped at the neck/shoulder area to the horse's halter. Apparently donkeys have necks of iron.

Karen V said...

Oh yeah...minis.... BLOWS THEIR MINDS!!!

I had one stay for a weekend..My horses wouldn't enter the barn for a week. Kept looking for the little monster around every corner. It was quite entertaining actually...

Charlie Horse said...

Hahahahahahaha! I'll say one thing for my poor little gelding, he is one of the most unflappable horses I've ever met. When he came to me as a four year old he was green as grass when it came to any sort of under saddle training (other than saddle up and GOGOGOO! ^.~) but he sure as heck is an awesome trail horse and fairly level-headed. I think the only things I've ever seen him spook at are clippers, scary objects making loud noises from outside of the arena with open doors on all sides (learning to ride in an arena with him was SO fun, since he'd never been in one before I got him) and ONCE he blew his top when I had a piece of paper in my hand looking over our trail course and the wind crinkled it - he about shit his pants over that one. Actually, I think he thought there was a cougar on his back, though he was sensible enough not to rear or buck me off in the middle of a practice arena, in full show-regalia no less.

Of course, before I got him he was used as a trail mount and for cattle drives all across the state (he also has some roping training on him). He's good with cows, fine with dogs and cats. The place I'm at now is like a petting zoo, and the lady has chickens, a mule, minis, ponies, a pig and a goat, a ferret, and even guinea fowl. Charles, after trying to take a bite out of one of the chickens, has never looked at them twice. We've also come up on deer and turkey while out on the trails, ridden past HUGE construction equipment, and even gone bareback with just a halter and leadrope through campgrounds/trailer parks. I <3 my beastie.

But yeah, I used to own a thoroughbred. There's a reason I have a fat-ass QH now. :p

ZebraNeighbor said...

Same thing happened to me on Sunday, times six. One Brangus bull and his Angus harem came wandering through the cotton field, across the road, and onto the farm's grassy roadside. We closed the gate so they couldn't get in, but they grazed on the roadside for hours. TB mare flipped the hell out for THREE HOURS. We had to earn the tack back piece by piece as we were able to grab her long enough to get a stirrup or unclasp the noseband. She was rearing and plunging like the Black Stallion. We left her in the big round pen until she ran out of steam. Apparently she really really hates cows. We have no idea whose cows they are, but eventually they left. Either she banged herself into the corral, irritated someone enough to get kicked after she was turned out, or reared enough to aggravate a previous wound, but she's now Grade 4-5 hopping lame. I'm glad your story ended better.

If she recovers enough to run and spin, maybe I'll take her to meet some cutting calves. She'll never get over her deer hatred, but this cow thing has to stop.

The horses we *did* get to ride Sunday weren't pleased but they settled down after some snorting and sideways looks. Maybe we should have taken the cow-savvy QHs.

BuckdOff said...

I grew up in a small town with lots of cows. They were always getting out and into the road, the police had to round them up. One night though, I had a few pops and was driving home, no streetlights in our town, one traffic light,and saw what I thought was a large metal tank in the road, as I got closer I realized it wasn't a tank. It was a large brown steer with white in the middle. I hit the high beams, nothing, the horn, same, well I had to get out of the car and yell and wave my arms at him, thank the Lord they didn't have video in those days. He finally moved enough so that I could get around him. I went home and called the police. We called this incident, and similar ones, SRI's, Sauce Related Incidents..But As soon as I was able, I moved to the"city" actually,a large town with no cattle and more than one stop light.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Oh, one time years ago I was hauling home with a full load of 7 polo ponies...came over the top of the hill and right in the middle of the road...BIG ASS STRAWBERRY ROAN COW.

I made a swift executive decision as to what side of it was I going to pass on and thankfully I was right! Scared the HELL out of me. I was less than a mile from home and got home with my knees literally shaking together.

I HATE scares like that when hauling!

Bluebunnysq said...

Well, I have a couple of horses that arn't afraid of cows, but obviously don't like them. We had to evacute the horses a few years bavck due to a huge fire, and a local ranch let us board most of our horses there. We had already moved some home and the ranch decided to move our stallion and his two mares in with some steers. Now we didn't mind, but it would have been nice if they had told us before thay did this. My husband had called them to find out where they had put our horses and the guy told him what they had did. Then he sad that they had beat up some of the stock, so of course they moved them somewhere else. They guy wasn't mad, just thought it was funny. I don't think the owners was too happy.

sidetracked said...

hahaha, great story. Isn't life always interestering with horses? I could just see it all happening as I read the post. As for you, glad that your safe and sound and picked up on the VLC's alert system. Get some rest girl and be ready to tackle the next day.

AzTobiano said...

I can so relate!
Many (MANY!) years ago I lived in Indio, Ca, home of the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival.
At that time I rode an OTQH. He did the 'classic TB FreakOut' when sighting camels for the first time!
What a hoot!

badges blues N jazz said...

omg.. this post had me in stitches.

Anonymous said...

Well, I took Pixie on a trail ride yesterday (her second one ever) and there was a lady on a little mule. Pixie kept looking at him like "What in blue blazes is THAT???" She warmed up to him pretty quickly. She was fantastic about everything else though. She looked at the cows, but didn't react. I freaking hate cows though and was trying to get away from them as quickly as possible. The only good cow is on my plate! I almost got us stuck in a muddy pond, but she managed to get us out of it. I guess going through the edge of it was a bad idea.

So far, I haven't seen her actually spook at any animals. She gets a little snorty with the llamas, but that's about it.

ZebraNeighbor said...

My TB hates deer and small animals (and, as described above, cows). Really, she's not too keen on anything but horses and people. She rode down from IL in a trailer with mules, and when she stepped off the trailer the first thing she saw was a mini donkey (a paint!). She turned and gave me a "Ohmygodwhatisthatthing?" look. It's taken her months to get used to the mini donkey gelding. She freaked when she saw the stud, but he's not around anymore. I have no idea how she reacted when she saw/smelled the mules, but thank god she was sedated!

Maybe I should just hire the petting zoo to come by? I'd hate to have the meltdown happen at a show or on the trail.

Oh, Cathy, Equestrio magazine focuses on polo, racing, and the horse lifestyle in France, China, Switzerland, and Saudi Arabia. No US version, but there are English-language versions. You can download some of their sections as PDFs, and they're really pretty. I read a neat article on the history of polo yesterday.

Maryann said...

I have to agree with many of the others. If you think that bull was bad, pigs are a whole 'nuther story!!! Living in the country, cows are common, but pigs...not so much. Also, when trail riding, try scaring up a group of wild prepared to "grab leather" and go for the ride of your life, or at least the quickest turn-around you'll ever experience...been there, done that!

quietann said...

When I was a fresh re-rider, I rode a friend's old TB mare, Minnie, until her soundness issues caught up with her. She was a good girl with a few quirks -- very very herdbound for example, and since there was never a reason to ride her alone, she just stayed that way.

Minnie's been pastured with all sorts of livestock -- cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens... -- so one would think she'd be pretty unflappable... but we had the Incident of the Scary Horse-Eating Goats, which resulted in a whirling tantrum in the middle of the road and poor Minnie sitting down in a snowbank. That was the only time my friend Joc ever turned around and rode home when we were out together. A ride out to the goats two days later, with judicious application of the crop, resulted in no more fear of (those) goats.

Minnie got herdbound to some pigs last year. There were no other horses, so the pigs became her herd even though she could not stand them. She didn't want to be taken away from them, and at the same time she'd try to bite them if they came too close. Unfortunately, Minnie vs. 6 pigs usually resulted in Minnie losing. The day the pigs went to slaughter, she spent the whole day running the fence and calling.

The funniest thing with her and the pigs was when she squeezed her way into their pen (because they were her herd) and chased them out (because she hated them), and then couldn't figure out how to get back out herself (because she is not exactly the smartest horse in the world.) She was having a fit because they were Over There and she was Over Here. I grabbed her halter and went to open the gate the other way so she could get out, and she blew past me at Mach 10 to get back to them. Silly mare!

quietann said...

Part 2: Feronia

I will say right up front that Feronia can have a big spook if she's scared, of the classic Morgan 20-foot-sideways teleport variety.

She's a looky horse, but if I stay calm, she usually stays calm, if a bit distracted. My first experience with her and "strange" animals was with a flock of guinea hens. They make very odd noises; one day we had an outdoor lesson and Feronia locked on to them before I ever saw them. For the rest of our lesson, she had to know exactly where they were at all times. I heard later on from other people in the barn that horses were spooking in the indoor, where they couldn't even see the critters, because of the noise they made.

Feronia hates goats. Hates them. They are scary, they are sure to eat her. At a former barn, one had to go past some goats to get to the good trails, so we started "goat schooling" her. Joc and I spent about half an hour walking Feronia back and forth by them, but then there were some deer crashing around in the woods behind the goat pen, and her brains just fell out of her head. Poor baby! I did discover, however, that she would go past the goats if someone with a bucket of grain was walking in front of her. Food motivates her through a lot of scary things. She would also go past the goats when Trump was with her, though she would use him as a goat shield, keeping him between them and her, and she still snorted and acted silly the whole time. Unfortunately, we moved her before her goat schooling was completed. She's now back at the barn with the guinea hens next door.

AbbyAugustArabian said...

You inspired me to start a blog about my horses and the horses and people I am now teaching. I'm not terribly sure how that happened, but I'll go with it.


Sagebrusheq said...

Speaking of goats, here's a tale akin to the Musicians of Bremen by the Brothers Grimm that I saw with my own eyes. A friend in California had several large ponies and a few goats in his back lot and one of the goats and one of the ponies were very fond of each other. The pony used to sidle up to a brick barbecue structure on the patio that the goat used as a mounting block to hop onto the ponies back. And the two would ride around together that way. I swear I'm not making this up and saw them do it on several occasions. Nor was it a trick that anyone taught them- just close friends.

PolkaDots said...

I have 2 horses who are both terrified of cows.

My Arab has always been somewhat afraid of them, then one day we were riding down a dirt road and some curious baby cows came running up to the fence on one side of the road, which of course made all the mother cows come running, about 50 of them... which in turn got the attention of the big black bull pastured on the other side of the road, who came running at us from the opposite side... my horse thought she was going to die. Her spook went way beyond anything I'd ever experienced, the cows were coming at her from everywhere and so she seemed to go in every direction at once without leaving the spot she was standing on!!! We were about 5 miles form the barn, and she was freaked out and jiggy the entire way back!!!

My TWH filly is afraid of cows when she encounters them across the fence, and yet I can take her on a cattle drive and she's fine... go figure.

PolkaDots said...

I have 2 horses who are both terrified of cows.

My Arab has always been somewhat afraid of them, then one day we were riding down a dirt road and some curious baby cows came running up to the fence on one side of the road, which of course made all the mother cows come running, about 50 of them... which in turn got the attention of the big black bull pastured on the other side of the road, who came running at us from the opposite side... my horse thought she was going to die. Her spook went way beyond anything I'd ever experienced, the cows were coming at her from everywhere and so she seemed to go in every direction at once without leaving the spot she was standing on!!! We were about 5 miles form the barn, and she was freaked out and jiggy the entire way back!!!

My TWH filly is afraid of cows when she encounters them across the fence, and yet I can take her on a cattle drive and she's fine... go figure.