Zelda’s pasture is right next to an access road that leads into a popular trail system and at this time of year — with no leaves on the trees — the horses are very exposed. And, apparently, inviting. Please note that I have put signs up asking people not to feed or touch the horses and that they have to walk off the trail system to lean over the fence.
Judging by Zelda’s behavior, some of the walkers have been offering treats. How do I know? Because either Zelda is practicing for a new career as a Walmart greeter, or she expects that these walkers are the human equivalents of Pez dispensers.
It’s hard to resist Zelda when she’s in her endearing, feed me mode. But I wish that people would. In fact, watching the general public interact with the horses has given me new respect for private property . . . and the potential liability if people don’t keep on their side of the fence. And I’m not just worried about the horses. God only knows what people are feeding them, and I bet they won’t be around to ‘fess up to the damage if one of them chokes or gets sick.
A few recent examples:
Frequently, dogs come into the pasture. Sometimes, but not always, unaccompanied by humans. Mostly, they ignore the horses, but the potential for damage (of either dog or horse) is certainly a distinct possibility. One time I asked the walker to keep her dog on a leash if she couldn’t keep it out of the pasture. She told me she “didn’t need to leash her dog” until she got to the road. Wrong.
Then there’s the mother who dangled her baby over the electric fence so the child could see the horses. I guess that mother has no imagination because it would take just one swing of Zelda’s head to send them flying like bowling pins. Folks, this is not a petting zoo!
Even people who should know better . . . don’t. Last week I was fixing some fencing and I saw a man walk up to the fence line. “Please don’t touch the horses,” I asked. “I’m just trying to be friendly,” he answered. “I have horses.” Great, so go touch your own horses. No, I didn’t say that. Instead, I explained that every time people see someone patting and/or feeding the horses, they think it’s okay. And those people may not know how to behave. Unimpressed, he stalked off.
Finally, I came up with a solution. Not to the dogs, but I hope to the people. I’ve put up new fencing to keep the people out!