Thursday, August 14, 2014

Broomsticks in the Paddock?

Could wind direction affect animal behavior?! (hee,hee)
About a month or so ago while out checking the water levels of troughs in the different fields, I happened to walk past the small paddock that houses our hay barn.  In the middle of the paddock was a blue handled broom. At the time I thought it was odd, but I was on a mission and made a mental note to check it out and move it later.  Well, I guess I can blame it on either old age or the heat, but needless to say, I forgot about it.
A few weeks after that, we had the truck loaded with about 80 bales of hay (will only last a few weeks once the hay feeding season begins). This was the first of many loads and we were on a tight schedule to get them loaded into the barn in order to still have time to pick up several more loads.

Frankie- alias, "The Trickster"

Well, we opened the gate to the paddock, drove in, then stopped for me to move the broom!  The broom---that mysterious broom. As I picked it up, I tried to remember when and for what reason this broom would have made its way to the paddock.  I couldn’t remember.

In order to make the unloading of the bales of hay easier, it’s best to back up as close as possible to the barn. That way as someone is throwing the bales off the truck and into the barn, someone else can begin the process of stacking them for easy access in the winter. I went to open the double doors of the barn so that I could back the truck up as close as possible.

Missile - the other possible culprit!
As I reached for the lock, I noticed the bolt wasn’t there. Odd…. Then as I grabbed for the door handles to turn, I realized they were already in the “open” position…..So, they were open, just not ajar.   I tentatively began to swing back the doors (one at a time) not sure what I was going to find. After I got over the shock, I started laughing. I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t even begin to explain to anyone else what I had discovered….it was best for them to see for themselves.

The inside of the barn was in shambles. Everything was strewn from one end to another. Buckets were tossed; the bales that had still been in good shape were ripped apart and trampled. Whatever had been neatly placed was no longer where I’d left it.  And right in the middle of it all…………………was a pile of horse manure!!

My older daughter’s horse had been clicker trained by her when he was younger (Lexingtontofrankfort —Frankie for short).  He had been taught all kinds of tricks but could also get into all kinds of trouble.  Usually the horses don’t have access to the hay barn paddock, but because this past winter had been particularly brutal, I had opened even more paddocks for all the animals to access more grassy fields when they weren’t buried under snowfall.  Well, obviously he found a way to get the door open and go inside to play. You have to realize that this meant maneuvering steps to some extent!!  He must have thought he was something special, figuring it all out.  I’m sure he tossed the buckets, played with lead lines, kicked around the water heaters, ripped open the bales of hay to sample the various ones, threw the broom out into the paddock, and then ‘marked’ his territory!

Frankie checking out the llamas while waiting for supper.
 My time table for unloading and stacking hay came to a screeching halt.  I had to muck the hay barn, straighten up everything (and I mean everything!), and then begin the process of storing winter hay.  It made for great conversation as we speculated how the whole event had played out among the horses.  What made it funnier was that all the horses galloped up to watch from across the fence as we worked.  It was if they were in a “line-up” and daring us to guess the correct culprit……however, we are certain that there was only ONE------Frankie!

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