Team Half-Ass and the Week of Jailbreaks

I haven’t done a written update for some time – not since our ten mile weekend at the end of June! To be honest, not a lot has happened. I didn’t ride at all for the two weeks after that; not a big deal, except by the second week Xato was bored and looking for other ways to entertain himself.

So basically, Xato doesn’t actually HAVE to stay behind our electric fencing. He can literally let himself out whenever he wants. However, he only does so under certain circumstances: 1) because I have turned up then gone away again without giving him food or taking him with me, or 2) because I have taken someone else out of the paddock who isn’t him. He will honestly spend 12 hours in a diet paddock behind a non-live fence with fresh grass on the other side and not once think about pulling up a post and letting himself out … but if I arrive, then go up to the yard to make dinners? Yeh, he’s coming straight out. He doesn’t break anything when he does it, just pulls out a post and steps over the downed fence – often leading Marty out with him.

They are largely unrepentant. Also largely large.

This was all fun and games until Friday morning when Little Mare was found in the opposite field, on the other side of the wire fence*, with her pen and all our electric fencing completely trashed. One of our plastic posts was snapped into three pieces and our tape traced a long line across our field, over the fence, and into the other field; suggesting that LM had been attached to it as she’d fled.

* No, I don’t like that wire fence. But it’s not our yard so we have to make do; I usually fence it off if we’re in there.

As you may remember, LM is still recovering from her last escape/jump attempt. When I heard of her latest escapade I immediately had the sinking feeling that Xato may have been at fault, or that he would at least be blamed by LM’s owner based on his prior conduct for the week (and understandably so) … however, Ben inspected the scene of the crime and everything pointed towards the tape of LM’s pen being broken from the inside, which would mean that she ran straight through her fencing, through ours, and then across our section of the field before jumping out for no clear reason. I’m amazed to say that apart from a few cuts, she’s fine.

Everyone has now moved back to the hay field and I’ve started riding again, so hopefully that will be enough to keep Xato where he’s supposed to be!

Xato has been put to work for a living, too.

The boys had their feet done last week, and I didn’t once consider sending them off to Egypt to¬†show them how good they’ve got it here … so that was nice. Xato still needs his forefeet held, as he’s liable to remove them from the stand as soon as Emma uses both hands to grasp the nippers (and she needs to use both hands, because Xato – like Marty – has hooves like iron); but his misbehaviour was more “Why shouldn’t I?” rather than his “You’re making me really mad and I’m going to Hulk smash” attitude from before. He has the osteopath out on Thursday anyway, so if anything needs tweaking it will hopefully be sorted then.

One of us has scuffed toes and should learn to pick their feet up.

Marty was very good for three of his legs, and we thought – somewhat optimistically – that he had finally forgiven Emma for plucking a single hair from his belly four months ago. But no. When she came to do THAT leg, he quivered and snorted and scuttled backwards with his mouth pursed tight. Poor Marty. It’s behaviour like this which means that his halter aversion makes a strange sort of sense; as all physical problems have been ruled out, I’ve been baffled by his consistent terror of the halter – all I can assume is that he had a one-time bad incident while being haltered and has remembered it. He is not a very forgiving mule. He has never had any problems with Emma before; she’s been nothing but kind and gentle and patient with him. But one accidental hair pluck later, and that’s it – trust betrayed, irrevocably!

A Remarkable Marty Moment was that Marty allowed Scary Ben to rub around his ears and poll! In fact, he specifically came up and asked for it!

Marty just has some strange ideas, I think. The other day he went from grazing to flat-out panic – ragged breathing, trembling, tension all over – just because I happened to walk past with a couple of fence posts. I gentled him with my soothing words of “Don’t be a monumental dum-dum, Marty” and gave him a treat for being brave enough to touch the offending posts, after which we were friends again. But what did he think I was going to do? I guess just because no one has ever hit him doesn’t mean that someone might, one day.

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