WS8 Oko 8
Monday, Apr 18 to Sunday, Apr 24, 2011: high 62, low 23
Late this afternoon, these four horses, as well as the two in the background above the head of the paint, posed a conundrum: They were in the reserve pasture so i had to get them out, but i had to do so on foot. After a skittish introduction, these four came up to me, apparently curious about what i was doing.
Now if this was in the old days, i would have had a bridle and bucket of oats. After luring them in with the oats, i would have caught one, probably the cinnamon-colored one on the left above, and led him out of the pasture, with the others almost certainly tagging along behind. Then i would have shut the gate, turned him loose, and the job would be completed. But i don’t have any oats, and hadn’t thought to bring a bridle, so that strategy was off the plate of options.
In the background to the southeast is the Wingsprings headquarters building. The gate these horses came through into this pasture is just east of the house. It was still open. On my way from the house to here, i had opened another gate on that side of the springs, and on a line over the back of the horse above. So here was my strategy: chase these four horses across the springs and through the gate, and hope that the other two horses would be curious enough to catch up and go out the gate. If they missed that gate, then i would chase them up toward the house, steering them to the north, or left, of the house and out the gate that they originally came through. In the photo below, you can see that the first part of the strategy worked–i’ve chased the four horses across the foreground springs, and one of the other two horses indeed did catch up and join them. The sixth horse soon joined the small herd, but unfortunately, they ignored the open gate just to the left of the picture frame and galloped off toward the house.
Out of breadth, i nearly caught up to them in time to turn them to the left of the house and out the main gate. Before doing so, i snapped the pic below. The cockpit of the house is barely visible in the lower right of the picture.
But, they must have sensed my intention, and instead of playing along, they didn’t head toward the gate, rather they ran a bee line to the wicoti in the draw south of the house. The chase was now on: they fleet afoot and feeling spring in their blood. Me–ploddingly slow, breathless, and short on endurance. No contest.
They waited for me in the wicoti. I caught up to them, but then they ran to the south gate, which was closed, and waited. After i caught up to them there, and while i was trying to open the gate, they ran the quarter mile uphill slope to the west fence. I shut the gate and walked up there. Slowly. And to their credit, they waited again. And this time, they paced patiently while i opened the corner gate. Then they thundered through the gate as though making a desperate escape from a dangerous situation. I commended them on their brilliance and bravery, closed the gate behind them, and walked the half mile to the north gate down by the springs, which i closed before walking back to the house and closing the gate there, which if i had originally kept closed would have avoided this entire conundrum.