You stroll out for the evening chores. The last streaks of fuchsia still decorate the sky, and the cool Delta breeze brushes past your face. You smile as you glance toward the peaceful chicken coop, surveying the surrounding greenery and … a pretty paint mare gazing peacefully toward you, while she calmly munches her ill gotten gain.
You move past the small pump house to the path between the barns, and there she comes. Placidly marching up to you with an expression that says, “Good evening. I’m so glad you could join me!” She stops and places her head against your chest, allowing you the privilege to rub it. How can you be mad? Yet you know that a mess awaits you in the barn.
You turn toward the front of the large barn and the mare follows, after a brief pause to scratch some urgent itch. You pause in the entrance to survey the damage; she stands at your shoulder looking on. “Wow. I did all that?” you imagine her asking herself. As you clear the debris from her path, she moseys past you into her stall. Once inside, she turns and waits for her carrot.
She watches you intently as you reinstall the eye screw that attaches the door chain – the chain that is there in case of door failure. She watches as you attach each clip of the stall guard – not there to keep her from reaching out of the stall, as she can on either side of the door. But there so she cannot lean too hard on the door. On this day it has clearly failed.
Her hay now in the corner, the mare softly munches as you continue with the repairs to the door and latch. It is now dark in the barn, so you hang a work light. This was not your plan for the evening, but you find it hard to get mad as she occasionally reaches over to rub her head affectionately against your shoulder. This is not the first time she has done this, and you doubt it will be the last. Her record of destruction is beginning to rival that of the hot headed chestnut at the end of the barn.
The stall now secured, the various grain cans are checked for damage. She’d popped the lid off the goat pellets, but was only able to access the scraps at the bottom. Relief that at least a vet visit can be avoided.
You finish the chores, and hand out bits of carrot on your way back to the house – lastly to the pretty paint mare in the stall at the front. As you stroll back to the house, you ponder when might next experience an unexpected greeting in the barnyard. Such is life with these large ungulates who’ve won our hearts … but how can you be mad?
Be good to your horses!