Nov 13

Crone holds forth on the horrors of re-riderdom

Having made the acquaintance of some re-riders,* I hypothesize that all of us are scared shitless.

I took 35 years off after the usual fearless horsey childhood. Big mistake! If you don’t use it, you lose it. I can’t pinpoint with any accuracy the precise moment at which I devolved into a spineless greenhorn tenderfoot, because it happened without my noticing it. In fact, I didn’t realize such a thing was even possible until I’d already bought my first re-rider horse.

And so it came to pass that they delivered my fancy new gelding to my fancy new barn, handed me the lead rope and drove off into the horizon. I looked up at him, expecting to meet a kindly, limpid eye. Instead the expression was a very unsettling combination of sullen, judgmental peevishness. Furthermore, the horse appeared to have grown several feet taller since I’d ridden him at the seller’s barn.

I realized with a nasty shock that I was terrified of him. I could barely lead him to the paddock. I couldn’t even figure out how to maneuver him through the gate. I’d forgotten literally everything I ever knew about horsemanship. Needless to say that horse got my number right off the bat. His pet project for the next three years was to bully me relentlessly. During this period I taught him to, very reliably, buck me off, spook at everything, kick at my head on the lunge line, cow-kick me in the cross-ties, and flame me on Facebook. Misery ensued.

Eventually I threw in the towel and sold him to a much more capable 11-year-old girl against whom his resistance was futile. I found a decent hunter/jumper trainer and bought Ginger Rogers, the docile children’s packer I should have had from the git-go. After many months of fear and loathing, I progressed to hopping over cross-rails on this excellent mare. My troubles were over! I bought show clothes.

But uh-oh, I got too cocky. One fine spring day I wasn’t paying attention. I bungled my approach, and the mare tripped over the fence. She went down on both knees, caught a foot in the reins and reared because she thought her head was stuck. If I had stayed with it another couple of seconds everything would have been fine, but unfortunately I decided to totally freak the fuck out instead.

Later, everyone would agree that my emergency dismount was flawless while I was in the air, but alas, points were deducted when I didn’t stick the landing. I blew out my ACL and my confidence.

Back to square one. I didn’t mount up again for months. Couldn’t get past that pit of trepidation in the old breadbox. Then one day I was leading Ginger Rogers from here to there, and it suddenly seemed like a great idea to just hop up on her bareback. To my surprise, nobody died screaming. After that I began re-re-riding in earnest. By “in earnest” I mean “very slowly, a couple times a week.” The very thought of jumping still flips my entire wig. So the sturdy, sensible Ginger Rogers and I amble around in the woods, stop and smell the roses, watch the furry woodland animals frolic, etc. If there’s a log we go around it, not over it. Once in a while we bust out into a trot.

Until the other day, out of the blue, a strange thing happened. We were strolling in the big pasture, whereupon I suddenly felt that a little gallop wouldn’t go amiss. Without even thinking much about it, I gave her a bit of leg and off we went. It probably lasted all of 15 seconds, but it was awesome.

It turns out that with enough time and the right horse, a comeback is possible. Even if the “comeback” is just a 15-second gallop in a hay field. Tomorrow, if it isn’t, you know, windy or cloudy or humid or anything, and if the temperature is between 68 and 75, I might even do it again. In my show clothes, dammit.

* A re-rider is a middle aged woman who, having ridden fearlessly and fecklessly as a kid, gave up riding for one reason or another, then had the bright idea of buying a horse and getting back into it again, never suspecting that she will have completely lost her nerve in the intervening years.

Nov 11

CroneTalk with Clem and Lester

Self-portrait with horse groinClem: Hey, have you seen the Crone anywhere?

Lester: She’s not pulling a deer out of the dog’s throat?

Clem: Not since this morning.

Lester: Is she battling an incursion of vibrating daddy longlegs over at the loafing shed?

Clem: If so, the spiders won, because she’s not there now.

Lester: Daddy longlegs aren’t spiders.

Clem: What are they, then? Swans? Brie cheeses? Opiliones?

Lester: Your subscription to finally pays off. Might she be trapped, perhaps, in a hay bale avalanche up at the hay barn?

Clem: Naturally that was the first place I looked.

Lester: Have you checked the groin of that chestnut mare?

Clem: How’s that?

Lester: That chestnut mare’s groin. If she’s not chasing the meth-trailer kids out of the pond or shaking her fist at feral hogs, she’s got her head stuck up that mare’s bidness.

Clem: Thanks for the tip!

Lester: Not at all.

Clem: Catch a beer later?

Lester: Absolutely. I’ve gotta drunk-drive the tractor into the side of the house and hit the Crone up for repair bills and medical expenses anyway.

Clem: Shall we say beer-thirty?

Lester: Indubitably!

Nov 10

Ginger Rogers’ massive swelling baffles science

Oozing EdemaBehold Ginger Rogers’ awesome pair of pus-bags.

Well, technically they’re not pus-bags. The vet says “generalized cellulitis.” Well, what does she know? ‘Pus-bags’ is more poetic, and therefore more accurate.

In any event, the facts are these: poor Ginger Rogers is afflicted with a hideous oozing inflammation, as well as with 15 or 20 hard, walnut-sized lumps over the rest of her body (a few of which are also oozing), and nobody knows what’s causing it.

I spoke to one vet on the phone who suggested that it might be onchocerciasis, a pretty disgusting situation involving the larvae of a delightful species of parasite called the neck threadworm. But the vet I saw yesterday said, no, onchocerciasis doesn’t usually present with huge, goopy edema.

She thought it was pigeon fever. Which totally pissed me off, since the first thing I’d said when we walked in was “whatever you do, do not utter the words ‘pigeon fever’.” That’s because pigeon fever is another one of those gory horse diseases that fall into the GAPF category: ghastly abcesses, potentially fatal.

The vet, a woman of science, said we could do a culture, and the culture would take 7 days, and would cost $100, and even if negative wouldn’t actually rule out pigeon fever, but would definitely rule it in if it came back positive.

A hundred bucks for an inconclusive lab test? Hell yeah! Sign me up! I thought you’d never ask!

Meanwhile, the vet performed an ultrasound on the pus-bags. She was looking for the pus pockets typical of pigeon fever. I studied the ultrasound screen over her shoulder, nodding and pretending to grasp what I was looking at.

“Congratulations,” I told Ginger Rogers. “It’s a girl.”

“Good one,” said the vet. Her dispirited tone seemed to suggest that I was not the first crone to witticize thusly while her horse’s pus-bags were getting ultrasounded for pigeon fever.

And so it came to pass that no pus pockets were observed, whereupon I smirked the cronal smirk of relief. With pigeon fever now somewhat less likely, the vet’s next bright idea was fire ants.

Ginger Rogers at the vetFire ants? Come on. Even if Ginger Rogers had rolled luxuriantly in a fire ant mound — not beyond the realm of possibility, as she’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer — I was skeptical that she could have managed to get stung so symmetrically along the ventral midline. And besides, fire ant bites result in many little pustules, not big-ass pus-bags and isolated, hard-yet-oozing bumps. As a world-renowned expert on equine ant bites, I rejected this theory.

In the end (pending the results of the $100 culture), I was forced to accept a diagnosis of “hypersensitivity.” Hypersensitivity to what I still don’t know. Perhaps to the Christian rock constantly blaring from the truck parked at the barn construction site. Or maybe, like me, Ginger Rogers is hypersensitive to country life. I’d have massive swellings, too, if it weren’t for my daily dose of margaritas.

Nov 10

Crone complains about horse dudes

Big rigGinger Rogers is off to the vet this morning. I want the doc to have a look at her belly-bomb. It is now the size of Guam and is leaking fluid in torrents.

Trailering horses is a nightmare. I just don’t do it often enough to get good at it. I am a lone crone, so even getting the trailer hitched up to the F-350 takes several lifetimes, and that’s with a tailgate camera. When it’s all put together the rig is about 40 feet long. You should see me backing that thing up. High comedy.

Then there’s loading the horses. Godferbid that Pearl, for example, should ever have to go anywhere; loading that loony mare requires an elite team of psychiatrists, Buddhist monks, massage therapists, bartenders, and ninjas. And that’s just my support team. The horse requires a pastry chef.

Sure, she can be lured in with exotic delicacies all right, but she’s no fool. She knows what’s coming. In her mind the dinging of the butt bar bolt is like unto the slamming of a coffin lid. So she dashes in, snatches a bite of your bananas Foster or carrot Wellington in peppermint aspic or what have you, and then backs right out again, licketty split, before you can hot-foot it around back to shut her in.

But that’s not the worst part. When it’s time to bring her home from wherever she was, it is a foregone conclusion that she will not re-enter the trailer under any circumstances. The strain of the trauma is too fresh, sting of my betrayal too sharp. So, no, she’ll be staying right here in this parking lot where it’d be 120 degrees in the shade, if there were any shade. This melodrama will ensure that complete strangers — universally icky backyard amateur dudes with offensive chivalric impulses — can stroll over with their vast horsemanship skills and offer to snap dressage whips at her, or hit her with brooms, or back her up in punitive circles, or whatever other asinine technique they saw on RFD-TV. This happens literally every time.

“No thanks,” I say. “Possibly — though I doubt it — your deadhead quarter horse responds swimmingly to brute force, but I assure you that if you swat this hot little Arab with a broom she will kill us all and then herself.”

Roiling beneath the surface of so many of these horse dudes is a real connoisseurship of sadism and exploitation. It’s pretty amusing the way they get so pissy when I spurn their “help.” See, they don’t really want to help me at all, they just want to assert their dudely superiority, enjoy a bit of mansplaining, get the crowd on their side, and receive applause for solving the little lady’s problems. I know this because when I decline their offer, their immediate response is to let me know how stupid I am. They shake their heads at me and and announce to whoever is within earshot, “well suit yourself, if you wanna be out here all day…”

Seriously? Dude, the reason old Pearl won’t load in the first place is because some big ape like you manhandled her in her formative years.

Fortunately, I will not be going through any of that today. Ginger Rogers is an old campaigner. She doesn’t overthink it. She hops right in and stays put as long as there’s a bucketful of alfalfa silage to stick her face in.

Nov 08

Crone stares daily at unusable barn

New barnIf you seek relief from the spectre of my horse’s threadworm-infested belly button, here is the new barn. It was supposed to have been finished by winter, but as you can see it’s still in its underwear. I think I’m gonna paint it the color of the underside of a live oak leaf. It will then become invisible, so I won’t have to look at it in its frustrating, unfinished state.

Nov 07

Ginger Rogers afflicted


Well, it’s official. Ginger Rogers has onchocerciasis.

That’s right. Parasitic worms living in the connective tissue in her neck — and may I say holy shit — have migrated to her umbilicus and are causing a crusty, weepy edema about the size of a grapefruit.

Shoot me now.

Photo: Ginger Rogers’ swollen belly button oozing serum in 3 places. Woot.

Nov 06

Crone shakes fist at sky

P. carolina nest in the carportLast Sunday I was, like any decent eccentric recluse, minding my own beeswax. My horse Ginger Rogers needed a beauty treatment, so, lost in the simple thoughts of a simple bumpkin, I was hosing her down in the Equine Spa. Someday we’ll have a real indoor wash rack with hot and cold running water, a clean rubber floor, and, if I’m very lucky, an actual drain, but until that happy day the Equine Spa is a leaky hose bib under a tree in the barnyard, muddy and open to the elements.

I’m kind of a dim bulb, so I’m not sure how long it had been going on before I noticed the light aircraft. It was circling overhead like a turd in a toilet. A vast blue toilet.

You know, poetically speaking, if you take that toilet simile to its logical conclusion, the implication is that I am the sewer pipe. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that the plane was circling like a vulture. That would make me a putrefying carcass. Yes. Vulture it is.

So the plane was circling like a vulture in a vast blue toilet. Like, really close. Not close enough, perhaps, to count my mustache hairs, but certainly close enough to observe that I needed a shave. Over in the paddock my pet Arabians were moved by the unholy spectre to jig and snort and strike Breyer horse poses and contemplate crashing through the fence.

“What tha?” I said to Ginger Rogers. Fucked up shit is the norm around here, but it isn’t every day that we get barnstormed by the Red Baron. Alas, asking a horse to speculate on the hidden agenda of a menacing Cessna pilot rarely yields satisfactory results, and this was no exception. Ginger Rogers yawned, lifted her tail, and emitted a puff of gas.

I’m no paranoid, so my first thought was not that this was a Facebook spy plane sent to document me from above on accounta I cancelled my account with those controlling soul-sucking motherfuckers. That was only my second thought. My first thought was that some drunken power-crazed self-appointed border-patrol militia dude had gotten blown off course and was gonna crash in my pasture. My third thought was that some delusional pus-filled anti-feminist hata had finally gotten ahold of the dirty bomb with my name on it.

What’s the difference? I thought. It’s fucking rude either way. So I flipped’em off. Whereupon the plane appeared to dip a wing at me in a somewhat cheeky manner before meandering off into the vast blue toilet.

You see where this is going don’t you? You have cleverly deduced that the mystery pilot was indeed Earlen, my farrier. This had been my fourth thought.

I confirmed it the next day when Earlen showed up (only 40 minutes late this time, which I think must be some kind of farrier promptness record) to reset Ginger Rogers.

It has nothing to do with the story, but I might as well explain the curious, codependent relationship horse-crones have with their farriers. Because its feet are one of the most useful yet notoriously screwy parts of the horse, and because farriers who don’t mangle horse feet are few and far between, the quest to find a decent one keeps many a crone up at night, pacing the floor with a bottle of Maalox. Then, once you’ve found him/her, you end up boozing excessively to keep from worrying about what you’ll do if they die or join the seminary or, in Earlen’s case, fire you.

See, Earlen is a globetrotting jetsetting diva farrier. He’s in high demand. He shoes a truly breathtaking hoof and charges accordingly. For example, every five weeks I pay him the princely sum of $250 for a pair of fronts with pads, and I’m bloody grateful to do it. He won’t shoe for just anybody. He fires clients regularly for insubordination. We all live in fear of getting fired. He has filthy rich clients in Spain, Germany, Florida, even Louisiana! And then there’s me. He only shoes Ginger Rogers because she stands like a statue. If she were to accidentally swat him in the head with her tail, I’m sure she’d be out on her ear.

But I digress.

Ginger Rogers gets resetSo there we were in the carport, me and Ginger Rogers and Earlen. Someday I’ll have a real indoor grooming stall with crossties, a ceiling fan, and, if I’m very lucky, an actual roof to deflect the 2000 degree Hill Country heat, but until that happy day, horses get shod in the carport. Under a wasp nest.

The billowing burning-hoof smoke was making the wasps a bit restive. Earlen had just finished telling me about how he was going to tell all his clients to fuck off and give up all technology and go live alone in a cave for a year eating nothing but the meat he traps himself. He asserted that he thought that I thought he wasn’t serious, but he really was serious. I assured him that I certainly did think he was serious, but that perhaps the learning curve for an undertaking like that might be a bit steep and had he considered maybe trying it for just a week or two first? We fell silent for a moment before:

“I hear,” confessed Earlen, pounding a red-hot shoe with a giant arm, “that you’ve got a creepy new stalker.”

“I knew it!” I said, and triumphantly assumed the j’accuse position.

Only people who have never been creepily stalked think creepy stalker jokes are funny, but that’s another essay. I had long theorized that, with his vast income and rock star ethos, it was only a matter of time until Earlen used the money I pay him to buy either a private island in the South Pacific or a Bugatti Veyron. I should have known it would be a plane that he would use to try to shave my treetops and terrify my pet Arabians before absconding to a cave for a year. But it just shows to go you. Farriers, like many people who take up weird, niche professions, are goddam peculiar.

Nov 05

The decline of Western civilization

I was cautioned, when embarking on this feckless-crone-in-the-countryside blog project, to prevent it at all costs from devolving into cat blogging. How well I understand that worthy sentiment! Now that we’re all sophisticated internet users, cat blogging has justifiably become the symbol of Internetian culture’s wanton degradation. Cat bloggers waste valuable energy uncynically cat blogging while important news information goes unsnarked-upon. Cat blogging is an attack on intellectualism. Cat blogging drags The Discourse down to insipid depths of mediocrity. Cat blogging is the opiate of the people. Internet porn is, by orders of magnitude, more highly regarded than cat blogging.*

SmudgeSo you know that feral cat that’s been hanging around here? The black one I named Smudge, but which like every other cat I’ve ever had, I end up calling “kitty”? Well, to my horror, this cat Smudge has gradually come to somewhat suspect that I am not trying to kill him. Such that we have a comical ritual now. Around 8 or 9 o’clock, when I load up my hay wagon for the day’s final horse feeding, old Smudge materializes out of the aether. He accompanies me to the paddock, constantly darting just millimeters in front of my feet so I have to abruptly stop in order to not smush him, whereupon the hay wagon’s inertia propels it into what my 7-year-old niece would call my boo-takka.

It’s cat blogging AND cute things little kids say, all in one post! Did you hear that ripping noise? It’s the fabric of the universe!

Anyway, all this darting and bootakka-slamming can be something of a drain on the spirit of a weary crone who just wants to dump her hay and get back to the bunkhouse for a plate of nachos and the episode of “Homeland” she’s got waiting on pause.* So last night I resolved to put an end to this fucked-up cute-kitty bullshit once and for all. When old Smudge showed up with the notion that he would dive into my oncoming boots about 42 times between hither and yon, I summoned the ancient mettle of the crones. By which I mean, I impersonated a B-movie zombie (the slow-moving kind). I raised up my claw-hands and advanced toward him in a deliberate and menacing manner, growling “yaaaaahh.”

It worked! Smudge made like a liberal and left! Off he scrammed into the night, mercifully leaving me to trudge unimpeded with my simple wagon and simple thoughts, like the simple bumpkin I’ve become.

And then, out of nowhere, holy SHIT, what tha —

Something, possibly a wolverine, had me by the ankle. It had shot out of the shadows and ambushed me. You’ll never guess what it was.

No, sorry; it was in fact Smudge, the feral cat! With dastardly cunning he had pretended to flee, but in fact had lain in wait, all the while planning a deliberate, bloodthirsty attack. He was now clamped to my leg like a mukluk.

Smudge (artist's rendering)Luckily I was wearing a pair of cowboy boots, or else I’d probably be in the hospital right now receiving treatment for rabies, cat scratch fever, bubonic plague, and demonic possession.

Gently I shook the afflicted limb. My assailant released his death grip, struck a classic black cat pose, and shot off again. Seconds later he was back, rolling around on my boots. We then proceeded in our usual manner, the cat repeatedly darting, the crone abruptly halting, to the cat food cupboard.

* Ironic cat blogging, of course, is still OK.

** If I were any kind of decent cat blogger, I would have written “paws” instead of “pause.”

Illustration: “Smudge Striking Classic Black Cat Pose” by the author.

Nov 04

Why horses suck: Reason #174

Ginger Rogers

This is my fat hunter, Ginger Rogers.

Before coming to Dreadful Acres, Ginger Rogers lived in boarding barns her whole life. She was incarcerated with no turnout and got fed according to the industry standard, two times a day. This funky situation, combined with her natural alpha-mare charm, encouraged her to develop food aggression. This is what her food aggression looks like.

Because of this somewhat impertinent attitude toward her barn-mates at chow time, it was not without a smidge of trepidation that I decided to spring Ginger Rogers from prison and bring her home to join the pet Arabians on 24-hour turnout in the communal paddock.

My Dread-O-Meter was working perfectly. It indeed turned out to be a huge disaster.

Pearl, the feisty little Arabian, and Ginger Rogers, the big, dumb warmblood cross, initiated without delay a bloody turf war. Squealing, shrieking, striking, rearing, kicking, biting, charging — upon this violent and relentless pursuit of dominance did I daily cast a jaundiced eye. Astonishingly, the wily Pearl always emerged from these skirmishes with nary a hair out of place, but occasionally poor old Stella would get caught in the crossfire and end up with a chunk taken out of her butt.

“Yo, Crone, why didn’t you just separate’em?” you ask.

Well I would have, if there had been anyplace to separate’em to. But Dreadful Acres was in its infancy as an equine facility back then (and by “back then” I mean “last year”). I had a 2-acre paddock and a 2-stall Preifert barn with one little porta-panel run, and that was it. This set-up worked well enough for two pet Arabians who basically get along, but turned out to be pretty insufficient with the introduction of a third mare of the burly/surly variety. The layout was designed by me during a fit of stupidity, so naturally the Preifert barn is right in the middle of the paddock (facing the north wind, I might add), with no way to prevent direct equine access to the stalls. If I put one horse inside, the other one would simply sidle up and recommence the combat through the grills.

The damnable Preifert barnThe Preifert barn, incidentally, is a flimsy piece of crap. It was designed exclusively to shelter frail animals between whom there exists a warm bond of friendship and good will. It clearly was not meant to contain robust adult horses who from time to time are moved to exhibit a bit of antipathy toward one another, unless the object of the exercise is to incur huge vet bills. The barn has never quite come crashing down, but whenever a horse so much as exhales on it, it rattles and groans and creaks like the Titanic sinking. When the awesome new barn is finished in 6 weeks or so, the first thing I’m gonna do, after wiping a tear of joy from the cronal eye, and after buying a sledge hammer, is to take a sledge hammer to that Priefert hunk of junk.

Meanwhile, a week or two into the experiment, the Pearl v. Ginger Rogers hostilities showed no sign of abating. I contemplated sending Ginger Rogers back out to live among strangers until I could revamp the infrastructure in a manner sufficient to address our issues. I cannot recall precisely the line of reasoning that led me to ditch that plan, but probably it had something to do with my aforementioned stupidity. And cheapness.

Work on a second paddock had begun, but alas, was not finished in time to prevent this.

Ginger Rogers vs. the fence

And this.

Ginger Rogers vs. the fence

Ginger Rogers, in an attempt to double-barrel the shit out of Pearl, had got both hind legs hooked over a fence rail, ripping them to shreds. I probably don’t need to describe the extraordinary degree of slack to which my jaw was subjected upon perceiving this gruesome tableau. I mean, one dreadful thing or another blows my mind around here practically every day, but when it’s horse legs cut to ribbons, the jaw-slackening is simply world class.

Ginger Rogers at the vetOff to the clinic, a 40-minute trailer ride away. The news was good: no tendons or ligaments or bones appeared to have been endreadfulized. So they shot her full of bute and antibiotics and wrapped her up tight (amusing side note: when you bandage a horse up to the stifle, her subsequent first steps resemble those of John Cleese from the Ministry of Silly Walks, thus ensuring that the bandage blows out at the hock). She was, however, discharged with instructions to, what else, incarcerate her again. Thus doth dreadfulness come full circle.

So all that was about six months ago. Mangling her legs seems to have given Ginger Rogers a new perspective. After she came off stall rest she was a different person. A kinder, gentler Ginger Rogers emerged. Nowadays all the mares are often turned out together, without incident. Sure, there’s the occasional pinned-ear wrinkle-nosed head-bob, but for the most part, the dispute appears to have been settled. Pearl and Ginger Rogers can often be seen dozing within a few feet of each other in the same loafing shed. Miraculously, Ginger Rogers is completely sound, but she will carry the hideous battle scars from this incident to her giant grave. As will I to mine.

Ginger Rogers' scar

Nov 02

Of fences and anxiety attacks

Stella and Pearl

Dreadful Acres has a handy 20-acre hay field. Of course this field has lain fallow for decades, and since I haven’t the faintest idea how to grow hay, it will probably lie fallow for decades more.

“Lie fallow” is not a phrase I ever had occasion to use before I moved out here.

Anyway, some pretty decent grass manages to survive there despite my depraved indifference. For years I’ve been wanting to turn the mares out on it; as former show horses, it’s possible they’ve never seen 20 contiguous acres in their entire tragic lives. Unfortunately, the fence surrounding the field has until recently consisted of a few strands of ancient rusted barbed wire (or as they say here in Cottonmouth County, “bobwire”) sagging between some rotting cedar twigs and the occasional bent T-post.

Bobwar FinceAll fences are potentially fatal to horses, but you can’t put a horse within 17 miles of a strand of barbed wire. That’s because its first and most overwhelming instinct is to seek out the barbed wire and get tangled in it and mangle itself and die of sepsis. Here is a really horrific photo of what happens when horses and bobwire meet.

So last month, while in an extravagant humor, I finally hired some dudes — it’s always dudes — to take down the old “fence” and put a new one up. You can just make out a bit of it in the photo. I am in ecstasy over this fence. It will fascinate you to learn that it’s 8-inch diameter cedar posts sunk in concrete at 10 foot intervals with 5-foot 4×2 wire mesh. The main way a horse can cripple itself on this fence would be to get a hoof between the ground and the mesh in an effort to self-amputate at the pastern.

Crap, I’m really sorry that I just had that thought, because now whenever I look at this fence with which until seconds ago I was deeply in love, I’ll be able to think of nothing else.

The herd, meanwhile, is not sure what to make of the new pasture. You might imagine that the first thing they’d do, upon being turned out on so large an acreage for the first time in maybe forever, would be to gallop and cavort and perform caprioles of happiness like magic faerie freedom ponies. However, since they’re actual horses, what they actually did was take two steps, start stuffing their faces with grass, and remain within a couple hundred feet of the gate the entire time.

Remind me to tell you of their delightful herd-bound panic attacks when it’s time to lead them back (one or at most two at a time; I’m only one crone) into captivity at the end of the day. They all think they’re gonna die when they’re separated for even three minutes. Horses suck.

Edited to correct unholy lay/lie usage error per TwissB’s grammar policement. Thanks, TwissB!

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