In addition to our five acres that we have at our place well also have a quarter of land that has been in our family for generations. The Quarter is 180 acres total with 40 of it being hay pasture, and the rest is trees, trails and a dugout. So for the horses it is a paradise where they can be wild and free. This is where our senior horses live and when we aren’t using our horses at home we take them out there to enjoy some freedom as well. There is only one problem with this and that is when they get up there they don’t want to leave. This was the case with one horse named Bond and when I say he didn’t want to be caught I mean he really didn’t want to be caught.
We had owed Bond for a few months and he was on the skinny side so we thought we would take him up and let him have free range grazing, what I didn’t know was that his genetic code was going to reset back to his ancestors and he was going to take the role of being wild and free seriously.
Bond was booked in at the trainers for the next day so my dad (Papa Cliff) and I headed up to the quarter to go catch him and bring him home so he was ready to go. The quarter is crossed fenced and Papa Cliff has the horses trained so that when they hear the truck and the horn honk they get a treat. There was nine horses up there that day including Bond and they all came happily running across the field and into the 20 acre section to get their oats. Once they were all in I shut the gate and Papa Cliff poured out the piles of oats. We do this for two reasons, one so that we can always do a herd health inspection when we need to and as so we can easily catch them, I guess Bond missed the memo about this making it easier to catch him. With the oats out the horses settled in to eat them. It was at this point it became “operation capture Bond.”
I have caught enough hard to catch horses in my life to know that sometimes you have to be “sneaky” in your approach. I rolled up some binder twine and put it in the front pocket of my jeans and then I tucked the halter into the back of jeans so he wouldn’t know my intentions. I walked around the herd petting and talking to everyone but him, not giving him the time of day so that he would feel left out and be so happy that I even paid any attention to him that he would be a breeze to catch….wrong
When I finally made it over to him he did not seem to be grateful at all in fact he acted like he knew what was up. I employed my sweet loving horse voice and gently talked to him as I moved closer, he didn’t leave his pile of oats but he didn’t look all that committed to them either. I made it up to him with my ninja like moves and put my hand on his neck, I reached into my pocket with the skill of a seasoned pocket picker and started to remove the twine to place on him so that I could then put the halter on. Well, even though I employed all my stealthy skills he took off at a full gallop across the small field. Fine time to break out the next trick, the old keep them out of the herd so that they will want to be caught move. I have used this method before with success so I didn’t see any reason for it not to work on this day. He would turn and try to come back to the herd and I would cut him off, we went on like this for a while until some of the other horses saw that a game was in progress and they thought they would join in. Now the only way for the keep them out of the herd method to work is if the herd isn’t now galloping across the field with the horse your trying to separate. I mean they were having a blast running, kicking up their heels and even letting the odd buck go. No catching him now, he had safety in numbers. I just stood back and waited for them to figure out that I had stopped playing.
After what seems like forever they finally settled down and started grazing and going in to a zen like state, this is the perfect time to catch that wildie now. I picked some grass and headed over in Bond’s direction pretending that I too was enjoy the lovely grass and not all interested in him, I even threw in a couple, “yum this grass is soooo good,” while avoiding eye contact that would cause him to suspect other wise. Once again I made it to him and even got my hand on his neck but this time I didn’t even get a chance to reach for the twine and he was gone. So I did what every mature person would do, I threw the halter in the direction of his form as he put some distant between us and I called him by his new names, there were quite a few. I then started off in a full run with the honest intension of running him down. Now it might be good to point out that I usually do not run unless there is something chasing me so to say that I was in marathon shape would be a lie but I was mad and this was good enough to spur me on ward towards my goal that is now at this point running around with his tail in the air and not a care in the world except to ditch the crazy chick that was chasing him. I was really starting to feel like I was gaining some ground on him when Papa Cliff yelled out,”be careful of you bad ankle.” I had hurt my ankle in a dancing accident and it never really healed, in fact sometimes it gives out on me. I guess my body heard what Papa said and it was then at a full run that my ankle went out and down I went. Well that was enough to make Bond stop at a safe distance look at me long enough to give me a new name and walk off with no fear of being caught now.
I limped back to the truck with my pride low and got in. Papa was doing a good job of not laughing out loud and keep a straight face and said “tomorrow well come up and make the catch pen bigger.”
So now on the Quarter not only is there a hay-field, trees, trails and a dug out but there is also a huge catch pen that the horses have to go into to get their oats.
Have A Beautiful Day!