Here’s Your Ticket, Pack Your Bags

Work: day off.
Report: I’m gonna be burning down a house. No worries, the conflagration less lyrical, more legal. The bag in question holds my turnout gear.

Cute horse and fire anecdote: We were on a brushfire, which is a small, tame, domestic version of a woodland fire. Usually someone is burning trash and “left it for just a minute.” By the time we arrive, low flames are spreading in an everwidening circle across a pasture, field, or lawn. As long as one has enough folks to head off the growing arc, the flames can just about be spit out.

flapper

So there I was stomping and flapping out the sparks when a call went out for help catching a horse. Now, I’m a mediocre firefighter at best. This isn’t false modesty. Firefighting requires upper body strength, mechanical ability, and teamwork. Three things I’m not known for. Catching a horse? That I can do. So I drifted over to the next field. Half of the field had burned. Engine 266 was moving down the fire line spraying water. A young chestnut stood in the unburned section watching. A halter and leadrope were pressed into my hands. The halter didn’t fit, so I had to jury-rig the rope. The colt (?) stood still while I fiddled. He walked along next to me, his only requirement was that be allowed to face the fire to keep an eye on it. An exceedingly reasonable request.

As we passed through the gate to the next field, the fellow holding the gate dropped the metal chain onto the metal gate, producing a bodacious noise. At which point, the poor fellow came completely unstuck. He handled fire, water, flocks of strangers in weird clothes, even a big red engine invading his field. The noise was too much.

I shudder to think what my finely tuned sporthorses would have made of the whole thing.

How does your horse handle sudden unexpected events?

Previous FF posts: Manic Monday, The Fish/Pond Equation.

Categories: Barn Life, Horse Behavior, Horses

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2 replies »

  1. How did he react? Did he rip the lead out of your hands and tear off with it flapping behind him, or did he rear or just start and stay connected to you? Curious to know if you had to go run after him and catch him again…

    • He pulled back, the halter/rope arrangement disintegrated, and we all went our merry ways. The new field was already occupied, but we figured better with them than where he was. Interesting to think that how stranger might end up moving one’s horses around.

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