Cop: "Do you own horses?" Me: "Yeaaaaa, whyyyyyy???" Cop: "Because they are at your neighbors house, and we are pretty sure that they are yours because I went down to your house and there are no horses anywhere." Me: "Okay, we'll be right there!" WHAT! Sarah and I happened to be out for lunch together when I got this call, not the kind you want to hear. Having no idea how this happened we got home as fast as we could. Luckily we were only about 5 minutes away. Knowing that the horses were okay because we were told they were, a very large fear washed over me as I pictured my over two dozen different species of ornamental grasses comprising 150 + individual plants (I collect them and they are my pride and joy) chewed to nubs by horses that were hungry to eat anything in site. Luckily this was not the case and they only got to 2.
This happened last thursday and sure enough as we drove past our neighbors house there were our horses, Czar and Divo, grazing away on our neighbors lawn. Keep in mind they have yet to be on green pasture grass because wewon't be installing the new pasture fence until early in July. We rushed home to get the leads and then back to the neighbor's house (2 doors north of us). We briefly spoke with the cop, animal control and our more than understanding neighbor. We brought treats to entice the horses and as soon as they saw us they walked right over as if nothing had happened, as if to say "what's the big deal, why all the commotion?" So we then walked them home and put them back in the barn, still not knowing exactly what happened that they got out. These horses are not jumpers so going over the fence was not an option. I checked with everyone that could have been over to deal with the horses and no one was. I am most likely to blame because the only thing I can think of is that I didn't latch the gate properly and out the went. i'm sure at first it was to simply wander around but once they realized they were free, boy were they ever free!
Following the hoof print divots and lawn damage in our yard they seemed to graze for a bit and then take off through 2 neighbors' yards (several hundred yards long between point A and B). I fixed the divots in our yard immediately because I knew it would make me feel better. Later than night I took a walk down to our neighbor's yard where the horses were found to fix her divots. Think golf ball divots on a green where you use a tool, in this case a crow bar, to get underneath and bring the earth back up and put it back together. I was thinking that I would need to fix a few dozen but a dozen lead to several more dozen and then more. Luckily the ground was soft in this yard making repair easy however I checked out my neighbor's yard that sits between our yard and the previous yard only to find several more divots in need of repair!!! Walking to each group put more and more in my line of vision and the task seemed never ending. There were hundreds! I think I got most of them. Both neighbors came out and told me not to bother but I couldn't not repair them. My next door neighbor Bill came out and jokingly said, "I heard we had polo match!" HA!
I'm pretty sure, from the looks of the damage, that our horses met up with 20 other horses and manically ran from place to place without much rhyme or reason: "hey let's go here, oh wait, what's over there...no let's check that out. This way, no that way!" An hour of fixing these divots after an already long day was not fun but necessary. The next day from all the up and down bending over I felt like I was run over by a bus.
Luckily events like this are rare. Just yesterday I stopped to watch the horses eat their evening flakes of hay. It really is perfection to hear them nicker, watch them interact, smell their heat and take an already perfect summer evening to another level. To have them around is not something that most people get to experience and it is quite amazing. In the winter taking care of them can be a grind and pretty much everyone that has a farm wonders why they are doing. In the summer time those feelings couldn't seem further away. In the middle of writing this it started to thunder and lightening which meant I had to rush outside to bring the horses in rather than leave them outside for the night. Those cozy moments where they are totally dependent on me and nightime in the barn are sublime.