Saturday, January 19, 2013

Really NICE, really LONG weekend . . .

I decided to stay home yesterday to go buy some super-strong chain and attach all the gates to their posts with chain.  I thought I better do that to TRY and keep Duke from getting out again.  So I'm going to have a 4-day weekend since we're off on Monday anyway.  Nice!
I'll tell you what, though -- it really surprises me that Duke just isn't very "horselike." Horses generally just aren't that anxious to get out, except for stallions if there's a mare nearby.  But Duke? . . . that is definitely NOT the case.  The poor guy should probably have been acquired by someone young and energetic and adventuresome - instead of us. 
He spent 5 or 6 years initially being ridden by a trainer up in North Louisiana.  And we were told that he hauled Duke over to Alabama on a regular basis so they could go ride with his brother who lives over there.  So Duke apparently learned early on that climbing into a trailer and going for a ride leads to a nice, fun experience.  The good thing about that is that he is VERY easy to load.  The bad thing, though, seems to be that he is easily bored and often gets a serious desire to go visit strange places. 
And the worse thing is that he is a big, strong boy who is able to break things down, and who is also able to jump! . . . we found THAT out when he knocked over the side gate and it tipped over but didn't come off completely.  He was unimpressed.  He just jumped out over that 4 1/2-foot high (therefore 4 1/2 feet WIDE at that time) gate that was still about 2 feet off the ground!  Hey - who knew the boy could JUMP???  He's not a tall, thin thoroughbred-type guy who looks like he's a jumper, that's for sure!
Definitely a "stocky" boy -- much more like a draft horse than a Thoroughbred
(he's actually a Missouri Fox Trotter, of course)

No super-long legs like that thoroughbred below either, that's for sure

Just a big, stocky boy (who loves Lisa -- he was definitely jealous of that baby goat she had that day)
Well, I guess owning Duke is a lot like owning Pete used to be.  Poor Mark worked for a good year to figure out how the heck to keep Pete, a Catahoula Leopard dog, from getting out.  (See "Remembering Pete" if you didn't know him.)  Apparently it'll be the same sort of thing with Duke -- keep changing things out until we are absolutely sure he can't leave.  Well -- maybe that's not QUITE how it works since we are ALWAYS positive he can no longer get out . . . until he does -- AGAIN!   The problem with him, though, is that it's much more serious than a dog getting out.  Having a horse get out can really be dangerous.  There's a major highway just a quarter mile down the road to the East.  And there are a lot of very expensive, very well landscaped homes between our place and the Mississippi River a mile or so to the West where he can really mess things up -- particularly when the ground is as wet as it is now!  Look at the ground in poor Lizzie's paddock.  She has to wade through all that mud to get out into the front where she's been allowed to graze now that it's not raining.  And when she does she sinks into the mud up to her ankles.  She hates that, but she wants to go graze badly enough to do it anyway.  Poor baby.

What a mess, huh?
And that mud is not just in HER paddock, it's a lot of the ground around here right now after more than a foot of rain in the last couple weeks.  That's why all three of them are a real MESS at the momnent -- particularly their legs.  Yuk!
Duke's feet when he came in for breakfast this morning.
There's very little really dry ground in the back pasture, but once Lizzie gets out of her paddock, most of the front yard where she's grazing now is pretty dry compared to the back.  It's a bit higher ground out there.  It's apparently dry enough -- she was laying down out there a few minutes ago.  ;-D
She ran off this morning before I could get her blanket off, but she looks pretty comfy anyway --
even though it's in the 60's today.
Well, at least over the next four days I can keep the front gate locked and keep an eye on Duke.  This morning when I first woke up and went looking for him, he was back over there at that gate where he got out Thursday - pushing hard against it again.  But the chains (VERY sturdy chain, I made sure of that!)  held the gate in place this time.  Well, hopefully he'll be like Arthur and quit trying to get out again in the same place after a week or two.
I hope.

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