A friend and I went by the barn late yesterday afternoon to give Galahad and Nevada a bit of grazing time and to feed Midnight his third meal of the day. It was already pretty dark by the time we got there—a lovely, chilly evening. We were standing around in the yard near the barn, listening to the munching and crunching.
Pita the Barn Dog—a half-grown Border Collie pup—was playing like she usually does, picking up whatever comes her way and tearing around with it, growling like mad. First it was an empty plastic milk jug, then a piece of hoof left by the trimmer. We and the horses pretty much ignored her as it got darker and darker.
Suddenly, both horses spooked. A small, bright light was zipping here and there across the lawn! The horses snorted as it got closer and closer…but relaxed when we all realized it was Pita, carrying…a cell phone. Fortunately, Pita understands “drop it!” pretty well, and we were able to rescue it and return the phone to its owner, who had been down in the pasture with a flashlight looking for it.
After putting Galahad and Nevada back, I got Midnight’s evening meal ready: beet pulp and senior feed soaked in hot water. He loves it!
Of course, Pita went with me to call Midders, who whinnied and came running across the pasture. Meanwhile, Pita trotted along across the bridge over the creek, carrying something else that required a lot of growling to keep it in line. Even her light weight made the boards on the bridge rattle, too.
Midnight, who was on his way to cross the creek, saw a small, dark shape moving across the bridge, making all kinds of ugly noises: Clearly, this was the proverbial horse-eating monster. Then it crashed into the brush, obviously on its way to eat him for dinner.
So Midnight took off at a gallop.
Meanwhile, Pita who had apparently misjudged the distance from the bridge deck to the brushy ground beneath it on the other side of the creek, picked herself up, shook herself off, and was about to continue her romp when…
…Midnight discovered what it was making the noise. Well, Midders has a temper. And he hates to be fooled. So he put his head down and charged after the dog.
Pita, shocked, ran for her life, with little Midnight galloping right at her heels. They splashed across the creek, Midnight’s teeth two feet from the pup’s behind. Pita flew up the bank and just kept going. Midnight skidded to a stop inches from the gate, snorting and blowing his irritation. That was the last we saw of Pita that night.
That wasn’t the end of our evening’s adventures, though. As Midders was enjoying his dinner, my friend and I decided to put his lightweight blanket on, so I went to find it. Just as I got within ten feet of him on the way back, he finished eating and decided to have some fun.
Of course, I hadn’t put a halter on him—I never do, because his priority these days is always FOOD. When he finishes, I just put a lead rope around his neck to put him back out. Tonight, the blanket foray threw my timing off, and he saw his chance. Off he trotted, in that purposeful way of his.
Finding a black horse on a pitch-black night isn’t the easiest thing, especially with eyesight as bad as mine. I can still hear, and followed his movements by sound. Occasionally I caught a glimpse of his white star when he turned around to look at me. He wouldn’t come to me, though. Oh no! He had adventure in mind.
When he headed for the barn, I thought I had him: He’d just go into a stall. Nope. He walked right on through and out the other side. Fortunately for me, his stomach got the better of him, and he made a tactical error: He turned to check where the round bale used to be, and I was able to cut him off.
Needless to say, he wasn’t pleased at being caught, and he made that clear as we put the blanket on him—threatening to nip, trying to move away, and all the other games he plays. But he went quietly enough, in the end. I think we all enjoyed the romp.