When I arrived at the barn to feed this evening I found . . . chaos. And a lot of innocent looking horses.
Not me, they all said as I looked at the mess.
The first sign of damage was a missing panel in a wooden door. A piece about 1’x3′ was lying in the aisle. Right next to a heavy stall door which had been pulled completely off its hinges. That door weighs at least 75 pounds and isn’t easy to move when it’s not attached. I should know. That was the stall door that broke my rib when Kroni bolted out of his stall a few years back. It knocked the breath out of me and left me lying in the aisle making a mental assessment of which parts of my body still worked.
Tonight I found it lying inside a stall. Each of the 10 screws that held the hinges in place were fully exposed, just waiting to attack a horse. I pictured puncture wounds and vet bills.
Freedom was the closest to the scene, making him my primary suspect. There was hay stored in the stall and he’s certainly helped himself over the stall door in the past. But there wasn’t a mark on him.
Then I saw Curly. She’s a Bashkir Curly horse and built a bit like a small tank. She had a “hay won’t melt in my mouth” look on her face that was belied by the two large scrapes across her chest. A more detailed examination revealed more scrapes along her left flank. Considering the damage that was done to the door, she got off easy.
It’s hard to believe that she pushed the door in just to get some hay. The herd was turned out on grass all day and they rarely go into the barn during the day. They generally have more hay out for them than they care to eat. However, even though she hasn’t ‘fessed up, she must have had a hankering for hay. Curly obviously knows that her bulk carries some serious power and she leaned against that door until she had her way — right into the stall.
Her biggest concern tonight? That I kept her from her dinner while I applied the triple antibiotic cream. I did catch her looking over the electric fence later. I’m sure she was wondering how to get back into the other barn for her free choice hay.