All My (Wild and Crazy) Children
Let me quickly introduce you to my four-legged family. Our 10-acre farm is home to 13 horses, ranging in age from 6 months to 25 yrs; 2, 5-year-old Border Collie/Australian Shepherds who are brothers; and one senile barn cat who’s been around for so long that I’m not sure just how old he is. All of these animals have their own personalities, which can either provide quite the entertainment or quite the frustration on any given day.
This weekend, however, they all seem to have decided to go bonkers. Here’s a quick rundown of the past 72 hours.
As I mentioned earlier, we have a senile, old cat who basically just does his own thing. He was born on this farm and is the only remaining cat we have left to control the mice and other rodents that tend to try to call our barn home. That being said, he doesn't take his duties as ‘the barn cat’ seriously. Occasionally he’ll catch a field mouse or a bird and leave it in the tack room for us, but most of the time he prefers to be lazy. Nonetheless, for the past two days, every night when I've gone out to feed, he has made it his mission to dart (randomly) across the barn in front of me at about 90 mph. I’m not quite sure if he’s just reliving his youth, or making his presence known, but dodging a darting, yellow blur can make carrying hay and feed buckets interesting.
Oscar and Rascal are two very energetic and intelligent canines. We adopted them as puppies, and were told that they were from the same litter. They share some similar characteristics, but personality-wise, they are complete opposites. Rascal is usually laid back, low maintenance, and prefers to chase birds. Today, however, he decided that he did not want to eat his breakfast, nor did he want to stay outside. For some reason, unknown to me, he decided he wanted to go in the house. Mind you, this dog has lived outside, and in the barn, his entire life. He didn’t want anything to do with me, just wanted to go inside.
The next “wild” and crazy participant I’ll mention gets a cut a little slack from me, because he is, after all, only 6 months old. Nonetheless, he was also bit by the crazy bug this weekend. Hank is very food-driven. He knows exactly when it’s feeding time, and on a normal day, waits by the barn door to come inside. Today was no different – he was waiting at the barn door, I let him in, and all was well. The fun began when he decided to take a small detour instead of going into his stall, which resulted in his first round pen lesson (and the fulfillment of my daily exercise). Eventually he decided it was much easier to just walk into the stall.
Friday afternoon, my sister’s reining horse and his younger counterpart were both turned out in the field to get some much needed exercise and sunshine. This typically poses no problems until feeding time, when they must be brought back inside for the night. 90% of the horses on our farm will just about run you over if they hear grain rattling in a bucket. Teddy, on the other hand, preferred a different approach Friday evening. I had gotten home a little later than normal, which meant that I had to feed horses in the dark. After herding the other 3 horses down the hill and into their stalls, I searched and called for the ‘oh-so-fun’ gelding. He had decided to hide on the opposite side of the barn, in the shadows. It was like playing hide and seek with a 1200 pound kid. Once he saw me, he walked right up to me as if to say, “I’ve been here the whole time, what took you so long?”