Today Jay and Melissa brought new recruits, Henry and Gracey, 17 and 20 yrs old respectively, two ‘white’ or ‘flea-bitten grey’ horses, destined to be shot behind the house by their impecunious owner. Both were ridden until a few months ago, but the kids involved have moved away, lost interest etc. and the cost of keeping them over the winter would have been too high. I didn’t know it was legal just to shoot a horse you couldn’t afford to keep. It would be so easy to require that anyone in that position first advertise the horse for adoption. ‘Flea-bitten grey’ is not meant literally, it’s rather a white coat with grey/black flecks. These two were not in bad shape, but needed, as it was said, more ‘groceries’. They had been living on a steep bare half-acre slope. Would they fall over on level ground? Their manes are badly tangled and knotted with neglect. It is easy to see how people can get into the business of rescuing horses. In the current economic climate, many people will ask whether they can afford to keep their horses.
I need to look more closely for wings, in case one might turn out to be Pegasus, the winged horse of legend. From a distance, it is decidedly possible. Even without wings, with gold bridles and a little coiffing, they could nudge the mythological.
Perhaps it was their arrival (and temporary quarantining while they are wormed), but that prompted enthusiasm on the part of their neigh-bors, the Heflingers, but not long after these three stooges managed to open the gate to their field and trot off down the drive. I gave chase with my 4x4, and captured and led Kaysee back into their field. Whereupon the other two returned and somehow persuaded Kaysee that he could jump the fence, and off they all went again. Angie, on the phone, suggested bribing them with food, and eventually I got them all back by shaking the bucket of sweet horse grain. It does look good – I might try it for breakfast.
So now, all seven horses are inside their respective fences, and all is right with the world. But I confess I am not quite sure about the whole fence thing. They say good fences make good neighbors. And yet it surely matters who decides where to put the fence, what is being excluded, under what conditions etc. We all want to be safe, but not in jail. Are these horses in jail? Must we not constantly, or at least regularly, justify every such fence, making it a playground rather than a jail – both the fences we make for others, those we submit to, and those we make for ourselves.