Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gate Crashing

Hmmmmm. I'm bored. I just rolled in the mud and ruined my pretty purple blanket. Now I think I'll try to bust out so that I can help myself to the haystack.

That didn't do it. I'll just wiggle the gate a little lower.

Nope. Lower now. Ahhhh, I found the chain. I'll tug on that with my teeth and push on the gate with my muzzle, and I should be home free to chow down on as much yummies as I wish.

Sorry, Lostine. You're not getting past that double lock.

But seriously, folks. For those of you new to horse ownership, do whatever it takes to keep your horses locked up. Get creative with your locking system on your gates. If your horse breaks out and gets into the hay or grain, your horse can founder and you'll end up caring for a lame horse that you can no longer ride, or worse yet, your horse can colic and die. It can also wander out into traffic causing an accident, and then you'll find yourself with a lawsuit on your hands, and possibly an injured horse. So many things can go wrong.

Over the years I've become a pro at catching other people's loose horses. I'm thinking maybe I should go into business: Put an ad in the local paper that says something like, "LOOSE HORSE? CALL..." Not only will I catch and lead or herd the horse right back home, but I will charge a consulting fee on how to prevent escapes from happening in the future. Actually, the number one reason for horses getting loose is forgetfulness. Someone simply forgets to lock the gate.

My personal worst disaster happened when I was at work and my husband forgot to lock the gate. Lostine got into the haystack, and I had these tarp ties holding down the tarp over the top of the haystack. Lostine took a big bite out of the bottom of the stack, breaking some twine that the tarp tie was attached to, and the S-shaped hook skewered her right through her nostril. My husband came outside and found her with this rubber tarp tie hanging from her nose. He said it was really hard to remove, because Lostine wouldn't hold her head still and he had to gently thread the curve through without tearing anymore skin. Amazingly, by the time I got home, I could only barely see the nose piercing. I cleaned it out and a few days later it completely healed. Fortunately, my husband found her before she consumed too much hay.

For more information on how I lock my gates and stalls, see Escape Artists.

9 comments:

dp said...

I think it would be more accurate to say that "the number one reason for horses getting loose is forgetfulness. Someone's *husbanc* simply forgets to lock the gate."

That's certainly how it goes at our place.

fernvalley01 said...

Yes they can be sneaky ,I had an almost catqstrophe yesterday at home. you can read it if you like at my blog. The upside is that I always have a second chance gate to the road closed so the worst they can do is get out and stay home . but still could have been a mess.

Katharine Swan said...

At one barn I was at, we had to have actual locks or clickies on everything, because one of the older horses knew how to undo chains if they were just wrapped, no matter HOW well done they were. He could untie stuff sometimes too...

Katharine Swan said...

I love the pictures by the way. Your horses do such a good job of ignoring you when you've got the camera. My horse likes to stare at me or try to sniff the camera.

sue said...

I am so with you on this one!!! talk about an escape artist... that mini Mocha of ours has kept us on out toes!!! loose horses are NO joke, and a danger to themselves and others... so, take this good advise and when you think you have it mastered... check again....

Laura said...

Cute photos - even though Lostine was up to no good! That is a wild story about the hook thingy in her nose!!

I'm super careful about gates and locks now. As a teenager, I was a little on the forgetful side. Luckily we had no traffic to worry about, but we had an apple orchard and the neighbour's lawn...

One morning my Dad came in an woke me up early (I was 13ish) and told me that "My horse was in the backyard and I'd better go take care of it". Being a know-it-all teenager, I said, "I know where she is, thank you very much". My barn/pasture were right behind my house, so in my opinion she was always in the "back yard".

He told me to get up and look out the window - turns out my mare was eating apples under my window!!

I ran outside and chased her all over our 50 acres before catching her. She had also tromped all over the neighbour's yard and pooped everywhere. What a brat!!

(sorry for the long comment!)

Grey Horse Matters said...

We have a few Houdini's on the property and since we've double locked everything no escapes have occurred. It's really important to keep them in for everyone's safety.

Leah Fry said...

Oh honey. Talk about stoopid human tricks. When we first got the horses, we used to just wrap the chain around the gate a few times. Oh yeah, that oughta hold 'em. It took one time of looking out, seeing the gate open and no ponies, and then having it take hours to #1 find them, #2 catch them, and #3 lead them the LONG way home to cure us of that insanity. Can you believe it???

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Well, Lostine, I know it's all the rage and everything, but gee...that's a really drastic way to get your nose pierced. Maybe you can get Mom to buy some prettier nose studs than a boring S hook, though. (wink-wink)

You said, "Actually, the number one reason for horses getting loose is forgetfulness. Someone simply forgets to lock the gate."

That's what my hubby does. Not as often now with our mare, but he still gets forgetful with the goats and llamas.I'm always peeking out the window to see if any critters have escaped.

Great post, NM!

~Lisa