One thing about boarding at a commercial stable—there are a lot more people around to give you guff about your horse's little foibles.
No, actually my new stablemates are too nice for that. But that doesn't mean they haven't noticed that Blue is a terrible influence.
To cause minimal waves in the local herd, Bob turned Blue out with a sweet old thing named Sunny. Sunny is 18 years old, and he is the first horse his young rider has ever owned. Sunny is absolutely the stereotypical "babysitter" senior horse; there isn't a mean bone in his body.
Blue, being a clever mustang, immediately began exploiting the trust everyone had in his pushover of a pasture buddy.
And that is how it was that I arrived out at the stable on Sunday to find my horse tucked into his stall in the middle of the afternoon. It turns out that Blue and Sunny were enjoying being out in the stableyard paddock (basically the awkward space between the the main barn and the arena). This paddock is used for gentle souls like Sunny, who would never dream of disrespecting a fence. One narrow, obscure offshoot between two outbuildings is blocked off with a single band of electric tape 18 inches off the ground. The tape isn't hot because it has never needed to be... until now.
Somebody figured out that he could step—or maybe hop?—over this piece of tape. And then, apparently, somebody else followed him out to do a little sightseeing. And that's how two horses ended up hiding among the Christmas trees on the back 40 and taking an hour to catch. They led Bob, and Sunny's young owner, and Sunny's young owner's beleaguered mom on a merry chase all over the property. The fugitives had just been caught when I arrived, in fact.
But Monday night I went out there feeling confident that the problem would be solved. Surely Bob had found a solution for the escape artist.
Imagine my surprise (and secret glee) when I pulled into the parking lot Monday night and my horse came trotting right up to the truck, followed by Sunny... and also by Echo, and Bob's two little sorrel arabs. As soon as Bob came out of the barn to investigate the commotion, Blue trotted off toward the blackberry bushes, and the whole herd followed him like a bunch of thousand-pound lemmings.
My horse is a trendsetter. Or something.
There really is a part of me that can't wait to see what the old trickster comes up with next. And another part of me that needs to figure out how to contain him in a ride camp this summer. It might finally be time to invest in solid corral panels. It's either that or leave the poor thing tied for two days. Clearly, he doesn't take the hint where electric tape is concerned.
Bob says that Blue has a wanderer's spirit. I can't think of a better personality trait for an endurance horse!