It’s 9:30 PM; Do you know where your horses are?

I’d just finished supper tonight, and had almost gotten to the comics section of the newspaper, when the dawgs started raisin’ a ruckus. They’re never at a loss for things to bark at, so I ignored it for a while. When they seemed a little more agitated than usual, I wandered out to see if there was really a reason for concern. I saw headlights and heard voices, and wandered around the corner of the house to find a car full of people. The first thing they said to me was “Do y’all have horses?” With astonishing clairvoyance, I instantly surmised they didn’t just pull in to make idle conversation.

When I replied that I did, or at least thought I did, they said “Well, there’s two loose on the road, headed towards Russell Cave.” This is never a good thing to hear, but especially late at night. I could have hugged them when the next thing they said was “They have blinders on”. My boys aren’t wearing fly masks; big sigh of relief. These runaways probably escaped from somebody else.

They asked if I knew anybody else around that had horses, and I mentioned a couple of neighbors. They headed out, and I headed out to the pasture just to make sure mine were where they belonged.

After finding and hugging my own horses, I grabbed a couple of halters and leads, and headed back to the house to make some phone calls.

My first call was going to be to the owners of my unexpected visitors of a couple of years ago. (Geez, I must be getting old; I had no idea that was so long ago until I looked it up). But when I walked in the house, my answering machine was chirping. It was the folks across the road calling to see if my horses were out. Obviously they’re not missing any. I called back to see if they’d talked to anybody else or had any more info. They had called the sherriff’s department, but didn’t know anybody else to call.

I made one more phone call to another horsey neighbor (neighbor?), who said none of his horses were in fly masks, so they didn’t think they were his.

So I threw the halters, leads, and a spotlight into the car and headed out. As I cruised past the cops’ house, I saw no lights on, no signs of activity, and decided against banging on their door. (They seem real nice, but I’m just overly cautious about startling somebody who does SWAT work when she’s not riding horses).

A little way down the road, I saw a car pulled over in a driveway, and as I approached, I realized it was one of the cops, and her partner was in a pickup in front of her. I pulled up and asked if they were missing some horses. They said yes, and wanted to know if I’d seen them. I told them that I had only heard about them.

I headed down the road and met an oncoming vehicle. I flagged him down and asked if he had seen any loose horses. He turned out to be a volunteer firefighter who had been rousted to help in the search, but he hadn’t seen them. So I kept going.

When I got to the Russell Cave intersection, I asked myself what I would do if I was a horse, and decided to go straight across, not because that’s what I really thought they would do, but because I thought if they headed either direction on Russell Cave, somebody else was going to find them.

After about another half-mile, I flagged down another car, who turned out to be my farrier’s son. He hadn’t seen any loose horses (or any pink elephants either), so we decided they probably hadn’t gone that direction.

Heading back towards home, I found a cluster of vehicles around a driveway heading into a boarding barn. I stopped and asked if the runaways had been found, and they said they thought they might be somewhere back in that driveway. The gates had been closed, but they heard horses whinnying back there, so a couple of people had gone in to see if there were any stray horses.

A few minutes later, a radio squawked “We got em”. Somebody passing by must have gotten the horses into the driveway and closed the gates to keep them in. Shortly after, the horses came into sight, being led by an owner who offered them for sale to any interested party. She got no takers, so she led them down the road towards home, and the rest of the gathered crowd dispersed to their own homes.

One Reply to “It’s 9:30 PM; Do you know where your horses are?”

  1. Years ago, well actually, decades ago, when I was involved with horses but had not yet discovered foxhunting, I owned a “grade” mare named Nancy. I paid $300 for this 16.1h, big-boned horse that I kept at a nearby boarding facility. During the summer , the horses were turned out overnight, confined within the pastures with good quality 4-board fencing. I lived about 6 miles away. Frequently, my summer slumbers would be rudely awakened by phone calls from the stable owner, irrately calling to inform me that Nancy was touring the neighborhood, and would I please go and fetch her. After nearly a dozen such incidents, and inspection of the fencline revealed no broken boards nor gaps whereby her substanial frame could squeeze through or around, I finally realized that the mare was hopping the boards, apparently with ease, since she never had a single rub mark on her legs.

    Back then, I was a relatively novice rider. In my opinon at the time, the mare was neither pretty, nor worth the trouble she was causing, so I sold her. Years later, I came across a photo of me and the horse cantering an open field. Today, she could pass as an Irish hunter, and probably would have an impressive career as a fox hunter. Who knew???

    “Give me the fox that holds his point though fools and fate combine,
    Give me the hound that follows him with nose upon the line..” Ogilvie

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