I am sure we have all heard this little maxim before, and it is ever so true when it comes to the well being and safety of the horses in our care. This is why I am positively paranoid about the safety and functionality of my fences. Gates latched and locked at all times. All lines up and properly charged, with a decent amount of joules at the terminal end. Good luck or fate, most of the horses I have had in have been very respectful of my fencing-even if they don't always know it's an electric one to start....usually, it only takes one good zap! and they stay well off the lines, for good.
The same can not be said for others in the area. There is a guy down the road, has had a total of three horses there over the years. In previous years, he was pretty active in the local rodeo scene, as a roper...he had both a header and a heel horse. He has since sold most of his property to a developer and last I knew he had actually moved off the property to another house. His horses stayed as a succession of renters/employees lived in the trailer house left behind. No barn or anything, just panels. When he had cattle they were always out, creating havoc in the area but those went away a few years ago. Now there is just the one horse left over there, a Tobiano paint gelding.
This past spring, not three days after I had planted my vegetable garden, I found the paint gelding at my barn, loose. He had torn the heck out of my new garden, and was generally creating mayhem up there. Called AC, they came and got him fairly quickly. I later heard that the owner fiddle farted around for three days before finally trying to find someone to haul the horse home for him. At that time, the paint with the crippled and fused knees, was in good flesh, but had an untreated wound on his fetlock-likely from running loose. At any rate, it ended up costing the owner over $300.
To say I was surprised to find the same horse at my barn in the dark this morning is an understatement. I walked out and saw one too many heads, and thought "Oh no!" and made a U turn to get on better footwear. When I get up there I see the same old lame horse, he's a little rattled but just my voice calms him enough I can get him haltered. I stick him in the round pen out back of the barn, and proceed to call AC. Which of course isn't open that early, so I end up at the Palmer Dispatch, who informs me AC does not open until 10. Oh great! Head back up, feed the rest of the horses. Call my coworker to inform her I am going to be late, and why. As I am sitting in my car, drinking coffee, daylight shows that the horse had been there quite some time. Hoof prints and four piles of manure prove this. I feed the old horse some grass hay to quiet things down up there.
I had hoped to speak to someone at AC, but of course their policy doesn't allow for easy communication between the public and the officers themselves. I get a call just before 10 that they will send someone right out. By 11, I am concerned enough to call back, only to discover that all officers are in a compulsory meeting of some sort. Yeah right, and whats not compulsory about my boss needing me at work? 15 minutes later I get told to leave a note by the horse, they will come pick him up. Which I do. Leaving my work phone number of course.
It's now almost three and I don't know if the horse has been picked up, no one has called and of course you can't get any information out of the triage types manning the phones at the front desk.
I had wanted to explain to the officer myself, that the horse had been over the previous afternoon, shortly before I arrived home from work. My new boarder, who is pretty much a novice handler after 15 years away from horses, had taken her mare out to the round pen for additional exercise when the paint galloped on up the hill to the barn. This scared her silly, but she was able to shoo him away and he took off again. I shudder to think about what might have happened if she had been at the barn with a mare on a lead (in heat of course) when the horse came visiting.......very scary thought.
That horse had been loose all night, from at least somewhere between 4 and 5 pm, and 6 am this morning. No one came looking for him, no one called, and he obviously had tummy issues as he had very loose stools. Poor old fart. I took pictures with a disposable camera I happened to have on hand. I still want to discuss the changes in the horses' physique with the officer who picked him up as it's obvious he has lost weight over the summer.
So you may be wondering why I didn't bother to find the owner, if I know his name. Well, first, the guy really is a jerk. Everyone was thankful when he moved out of the area. He had come over to my place five years ago, crying about having no hay for his rope horses. I "loaned" him 250 pounds of hay which I could not really afford to let go-of course he never replaced it, despite promises to do so. Strike one. Strike two was when the horse showed up the first time. Today was strike three. If he didn't care enough about the horse the first time AC impounded him to talk to me about it, then screw him. He surely won't care this time as the horse is in worse shape now. If the poor old horse is lucky, he'll get three or four days at the AC facility, to get some decent feed and access to a barn at the very least.
I wonder if AC knows that there is no shelter there, as required by statute......