Tuesday, March 06, 2007

More Excitement Than I Need

Fences, Robert Frost says, make good neighbors. Though I enjoy his poetry, I guess I would have to disagree. Fences delineate my property, but seem to serve no purpose. The dogs all laugh among themselves, knowing as they do all the holes for easy passage to the other side. Fences will not keep out the highly motivated (think illegal immigrants).

Testosterone is a powerful thing. Imagine it coursing through the blood of a two year old Morgan stud horse. Separated by only a rolled wire fence topped with electric wire, his nostrils flare at the scent of Ginny, our five year old mare in heat. He leans a bit against the fence. I called the neighbor, verifying that the horse was a stallion, and warning him that he was leaning over the fence. For horses, fences are a suggestion. For a stallion, fences are a simple obstacle.

The horse reared, and slid right over the fence, landing in the middle of our four horses. Lauren was already yelling, and we all ran for our mud boots. What to do? The most dangerous situation I can imagine is trying to separate a stallion from a mare in heat. Throw in three more horses, one of which thinks he's still a stud (though he's not, we all know men like that), and you have a powder keg.

So there we were, the three of us, brandishing rakes and brooms, looking like some yokel farmers against an impossible force. My first concern was for the girls, that they not be trampled or get in the crossfire of charging horses. The horses at first tried running from the stud, but he pursued. Bay, our old TW horse, would stand with the mares, while Jorgen, a little 12.3 hands gelding backed up to the stallion and began kicking for all he was worth.

For about what seemed like days but was probably a half hour, we tried cornering and stealth maneuvers to get close to a horse to catch at least one. The dangers were that the horses would break the fence and run down the road or hurt one another.

The stallion finally chomped onto Jorgen's leg, making him nearly go down. I whacked him hard with a broom handle, which of course, set them all to running again. The bite, however, slowed Jorgen down and he was tiring. I was able to catch him, which reduced the sexual tension in the crowd. We offered the remaining horses grain under the fence, and Lauren was able to reach through and get a lead rope on the stud, who thankfully had on a halter. We removed our horses, and all that remained was to walk home a crazed, out of his mind, walking testosterone factory. By now, he was tired, too, and I was able to get him home without problems, locking him in the barn.

The owner had come home by now, maybe because of my call to him on my cell phone "GET HOME NOW!" He apologized and has called me many times since to check on all the horses and offered to pay the vet bills, if any.

At this point I learned from Lauren that she had seen that the stud had gotten to the mare. I called the vet. "Do you have a horsey version of the morning after pill?" I asked.
Indeed they do, a shot given after five days from the end of her heat. Gee, the things that I continue to learn.

We are all calmed down now. I reminded the neighbor that stud farms generally are double fenced with four board fencing. So do fences make good neighbors? Perhaps the right kind of fence, but it might be easier and cheaper to geld that horse. As for me, I got my exercise for the next month.

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