Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's Electrifying!

Every Sunday, I go to the stables. A couple of weeks ago, as I put Gem in the cross-ties, I asked LA how he had been over the last few days.

LA: "Well, we had a bit of an incident yesterday."
Me: "An incident??? What happened???"
LA: "Well, Gem decided to take a tour of the neighbourhood and went galloping down the road."
Me: "WHAT?!!!!! Holy crap!"

Let me back up a bit. Gem shares his field with 3 other horses: a 14.3hh blue-eyed black/white paint, DH, who beat up the other horses when he came on the scene and is now leader (I think he has short-man syndrome), a 15.2hh brown/white paint named S. (really sweet) and a 14.3hh brown QH named J. (shy, unassuming). Gem used to be the leader, but then DH arrived and they had it out (lots of bite marks!). Gem gave way to DH and now DH is top, Gem is next, S. is 3rd and J. is lowest ranking. Gem tolerates DH.

Last summer, I bought one of those rubber balls with a handle (in chartreuse, of course!) for Gem to play with while he was separated from the herd. It eventually ended up in the corner of his stall. LA asked me, about a month ago, if she could put it out in the field for The Boys to play with; they were getting bored. Of course! They love that thing. They run around chasing and kicking it. It was a great idea to give it to them.

On the day in question, The Boys were running around the field, kicking up their heels and blowing off a little steam. The ball came into play a few times. LA was enjoying watching them while she was doing her chores in and around the barn. Boys will be boys, though. Somehow, S. lost his footing (ice?) and fell right down....across the electric tape fence, the section facing the back of the arena. This stopped play for about a nano-second. S. quickly got up (unharmed), both he and Gem looked at the gap in the fence, noticed the absence of gates beyond where they were standing and decided to go for a trot and then a gallop...right past LA!

LA yelled at her helper, who grabbed a couple of halters and started off after the escapees on foot, while LA and her husband brought DH and J. in and then jumped in the truck. The race was on! The stables are located on a quiet road, so traffic was not an issue. But if the horses had deviated from the road, there were plenty of farm fields they could frolic in. S. and Gem weren't gone long. They only went down the road about 1/4 mile when they stopped and looked around and realized that the herd was no where in sight. They were easily caught and walked back without issue. Gem had a chunk missing from his front hoof as a reminder of his escapade.

As usual, the next time I was at the stables, I asked how Gem had been.

LA: "There was another incident."
Me: "WHAT?!! You have got to be kidding me!"
LA: "Nope. DH was involved."

Oh, no. I assumed that there had been a blow up between him and Gem.

Me: "Good grief. Is everyone OK?"
LA: "Yep. DH got electrocuted this time."
Me: "What?! You mean.......
LA: "Yep."
Me: "Crap."

Based on the details LA provided, this is what I think happened. Gem instigated a game with DH. Play ball with me. I am your friend. I won't hurt you. DH and Gem were tearing around the field tossing the ball back and forth. Gem took the game to the side of the field that faces the pastures. Gem threw the ball long and deep. DH went for it and crashed through the electric tape fencing. As DH struggled to get up (bzzzt! bzzzt!), Gem stepped over him, stuck his tongue out at DH (OK, maybe I am making that up) and trotted off to be with the herd. DH (unharmed), S. and J. stayed put. Gem was eventually brought back, looking very smug (OK, maybe I made that up, too).

It's hard to believe that a face like this could be devious. These incidents, as much as they are worrisome, have given me a whole new respect for Gem's intelligence. I believe it clicked that if he could pull down the electric tape, there was a new adventure waiting on the other side of the fence. He knows that the electric shock hurts and I think he was smart enough to realize that he would need to sacrifice one of his roommates on the fence to be able to start his adventure. DH was the perfect choice. :-) DH would get zapped (that will teach you to bite me!) and Gem gets to party.

I offered to pay for the electrician and repair of the fence. LA declined my offer. "This is just horses being horses", she said with a smile, "Comes with the territory." Thank goodness! Hmmmmmm, now I wonder what OTHER plans Gem is developing......

What was I thinking....?


  1. Sounds like Gem is a lot smarter than his playmates! I'd love to see a video of them playing football, it must be hilarious. Glad they know how to amuse themselves to keep the boredom down. The fence sounds like it's taking a beating though.We have a temporary electric fence down one side of a paddock until some construction we're doing is finished. They all got out one day when they figured out it wasn't turned on and took a merry romp around the farm for themselves. Much to the delight of the workers, who wouldn't know how to catch a horse if they had a halter and lead. They just thought it was fun watching these crazies galloping around.

  2. Hello GHM! Sounds like your bunch had a good time! Yes, I think that Gem is the smartest. :-) I will try to get some pictures of The Boys playing. The fence is taking a beating! There have been no breakouts since, but you never know! Apparently, this is the first time it has happened - go figure! The fence will be reconfigured soon in any case. They will be cutting off access to certain pastures soon, so the herd will move in closer to the barn area. I think its to allow the fields to dry out. This means that Gem and his roommates will have a smaller area to play in.

  3. Anyone who says horses are stupid has obviously never met an actual horse.

    What a prankster that Gem is! Maybe you should change his name to Coyote. Geez if Jollyballs instigate that kind of behavior maybe I won't get one for the quarters (wink).

  4. Nope, a boy with a face like that cannot be devious.
    He's just very smart.
    Pony smart.

    I would also like to see some football-players, please!

  5. S. - I LOVE coyotes. For the same reason I love my terriers, and crows. They are problem solvers. I guess Gem is in good company. :-)

    HoC - I think he really must be smart. The weather is supposed to be good this weekend (+7C). I will try to get some pictures of The Boys playing!

  6. Wow. That is one smart horse!! We have all electrical fencing and we had one horse that managed to limbo under it.

    Or perhaps he had some sort of military training. There he'd be, munching away at the roundbale. LOL

  7. Very funny story - glad everyone is OK! (Thanks for stopping by!)

  8. Hi Breathe - A horse limbo-ed under the fence??? Wow! I would have loved to see that.

    Hello Kate - Thanks for visiting! I enjoyed your site very much.