Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Non-Horse People in the Pasture

The doorbell rang this afternoon to reveal a utility line worker who wanted access to our horse pasture to replace the numbers on the poles that are in there. He didn't want to bother me on a cold day and said all he needed was permission to go in; he'd take care of it himself.

Gray Mare Letting Herself Out of Pasture Fence I could think of a lot of reasons why I didn't want him in there without me, with the first being that our old mare - Joy - can let herself out of the pasture if the gate isn't properly latched. Also, if the horses are gathered at the gate, they have been known to try and shove their way out.

Our horses are also very friendly and I knew they'd follow him - as long as Joy couldn't open the gate for a romp around the yards - and would try and "help" him do his job. I didn't know how this would affect the lineworker and didn't want him getting scared and maybe trying to throw things at the horses to keep them away and then have them running and milling around.

For the safety of both the workman and our horses I told him I'd be right out to take him into the pasture. As it turned out, it was a good thing I did so. As we came up to the field, the three horses saw us coming and headed for the gate at a good clip. The lineworker saw them coming and came to a halt, saying he was awfully glad I was there to let him in!

Horses Gathered at Pasture FenceAs I opened the gate it took some persuasion to get them to move out of the way - they're always on the ready for a handout! - and then they all wanted to meet the new person. Until I made them move, they had him backed up against the fence. His comment was, "wow, they're big!" Must be a city boy!

I accompanied him to each of the poles and as our big dun gelding started coming up to him he mentioned more than once that he was glad I was there. I was too as he was pulling the old numbers off the poles. I made sure that he kept track of all the nails - I've had a horse step on a nail and drive it into their foot before and it took quite a while to heal. He hadn't thought of that.

In one 20-minute segment of time I had thought of a number of safety issues in having someone go into our field:
  • keeping the gate safely latched;
  • making sure none of the horses pushed their way out;
  • keeping a non-horse person from being overwhelmed by a herd of friendly horses;
  • keeping the horses safe from a potentially aggressive situation.

Today, none of those things happened, but it's a good thing to make note of in case you have a non-horse person coming onto your property.

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