Horses Do Stupid Things in the Cold Damp Dark

Sequel to The Horse in the Cold Wet Dark

We’ve had some…interesting…weather lately, that’s for sure. Enough to try the patience of DuncanHorse, who found himself closed in the paddock and denied his time under saddle.

There have been temper tantrums. Snortysnortysnorty.

So the other night, deep into the darkness while I worked on Secret Project, I heard the first round of snorty and thought, uh-huh.

But then there was the second round, snortysnorty, a sound of deep disgust. And the third. And…

I listened a little harder, because that’s what horse people do when something out of pattern happens in the darkness. Nothing.

All the same, I went out early to feed.

DuncanHorse: About time. Where have you been? Kiss my nose.

Me: Hmm, you look unusually humble.

DuncanHorse: Not at all.  I am mighty.  Now that you mention it.

*LED headlamp beam hits the barn door, illuminating the deep new scars in the wood*

Me: WTF?

DuncanHorse: Nothing to see here. Move along, move along. Feed me.

Me: Seriously, WTF? These aren’t kick marks, but…and why didn’t I hear this happening?

DuncanHorse: Feed me. Kiss my nose. You see nothing.

Me: This looks like you scraped up with your hooves–Oh, wait a minute. You got cast against the barn, didn’t you?

DuncanHorse: Maybe. Do you love me?

Me: *SMOOOCH the nose.*

And yet, knowing once more just how lucky we were. A horse is “cast” when it finds the perfect spot for a snooze and, in lying down, fails to make the minute calculations for the space necessary to get up. Or it rolls over into a wall, or slips down a hill (as it happens, there’s a significant slope in front of the barn).

*coff* Nature didn’t provide equus with a lot of walls during the whole natural selection process.

Anyway, a horse unable to get up is a horse in trouble. They aren’t made for anything but short naps in the sun; it’s why it’s such a serious thing when an ill or injured horse can’t stand. (The first time the head counselor at the Girl Scout camp where I taught riding saw some of our little herd lying down, she gasped, “They’re dead!”)

A cast horse trying to get up can damage itself severely. Bruises, flailing hooves cutting flesh, abscesses from the strike of hoof against hard surface, and sometimes a twisted gut.

A cast horse unable to get up…well. Duncan weighs a thousand pounds. This puny human can’t exactly tug him into a better position for another try.

So, yes, again we are very lucky, here in our totally weird spring weather (did I mention SNOW? And plenty of it? In May?). Duncan managed to get himself up. He had no cuts, no swellings, no broken bits. He was stiff, but a couple hours in the sunshine made a difference there. And I’m guessing that because he was swiping the barn instead of hammering it, we have a good chance of avoiding a hoof abscess.

The barn is kind of ugly. But the scrapes and dents will weather eventually…and whoever needs an excuse to kiss that horsie nose?


I don’t have pictures of that wintery day. I do have pictures of the day before, when we drove up to Santa Fe, and the development of the storm moving in…if you look closely, you can see what rain looks like from a distance when it’s just beginning to head for the ground.

Yay! Pictures!

About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
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6 Responses to Horses Do Stupid Things in the Cold Damp Dark

  1. Peggy says:

    Nice pics. Nice story. Too bad it wasn’t a story. Glad he got himself up and is ok. Hope he doesn’t think he can do ANYTHING now.

    • Doranna says:

      Peggy–that’s pretty funny. You probably hit it on the nose! “I’m done being humble and embarrassed. I can do anything!”

  2. Laurie says:

    Oh, DuncanHorse! Perhaps your mom should get you one of those hats that has a little LED light on it (usually for people to read/craft in the dark) so you can better judge your surroundings. (So glad to hear you’re OK.) The hat might help her find you in the dark, too! Of course, a smart as you are, you’d probably want something to read. H’mm. That might make you a tad TOO smart. Better stick with a large ::SMOOCH:: on that handsome nose of yours.

    SUPER pics, too! I loved the (way too short) time I spent in Albuquerque & Santa Fe, but your weather lately has been WEIRD to say the least. Hope it smooths out in the very near future.

    • Doranna says:

      Laurie–Yeah, I think I’d better stick with the nose smoochies. My goodness, I could create a monster! On Wednesday while I was out planting flowers, he came charging up from the paddock, tossed his mane into a noble arrangement, and demanded his mid-day meal. Well, THAT didn’t take long to learn!

  3. Judith Tarr says:

    There is a way to right a cast horse. Long, soft eadrope around nearest pair of legs, tug as he tries to roll, and let your combined movement (his strength, your maneuvering skills and some strength) pull him over. A smart horse like Duncan won’t freak and make it worse. He’ll get the idea and work with you.

    Babies go through a phase where they do this several times in a row, sometimes in the same night. I have a Lot of practice de-casting horses.

    • Doranna says:

      Hi, Judy!

      I even have the soft rope. 8) But I don’t think it would work out there–the slope in front of the barn is too steep to roll against. Definitely the first thing I’d try if it came down to it… I think you’re right, he’d work with me on it. He’s demonstrated often enough that he “gets” that I’m there to help him in a dicey situation.

      Given that he’s still sleeping in that same basic spot, I might just have the chance… Horses!

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