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Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

Monday, February 28, 2011

Not a good way to start the morning!

 Saturday morning, my husband noticed that he didn't have horses underfoot near the barn and shop like normal. After seeing them no where around, he took off looking for them. Following their tracks up the road from the corrals and barn, he stopped at the house to follow further in a vehicle. It was barely above zero at that time and a breeze blowing, not a day to go too far afoot.
The horses' tracks led him over our first cattle guard, on the road past our main herd of cattle in their pasture. They kept going, staying on the road, onto the next cattle guard, then past our bulls and the neighbor's house. Reaching the third cattle guard, they crossed it and headed west onto a main county road. They were able to just walk across the cattle guards because they are full of snow. Due to the deep snow in the fields and ditches, they stayed on the road until reaching their final destination in the escape.
Once on the main road, they traveled for close to two miles to a fork in the road, turned north and kept going for another four miles. Upon reaching the intersection with another road made another turn to the east, kept going for another mile. This brought them to a neighbor's place.
They ended up in their hay yard and evidently their stud horse jumped a fence to get to where they were. The rest of the neighbor's horses were in an adjoining pasture. My husband followed the tracks all of the way to find them there.
 I was waiting for him so we could head north to Williston, ND to spend the day with our grandkids,son and daughter-in-law. I finally called him his cell phone to see where the heck he was and was told about "the escape". He didn't sound too happy about it. I waited awhile and then set out towards the neighbor's where he and he horses were. I met him not too far from home, just him no horses. He was going home for a feed bucket and the trailer. He told me to see if I could get them started down the road, since they wouldn't move at all for him.
I got there to find our horses and four horses belonging to the neighbor with a fence separting them. My horses started coming towards me when I called them, and then stopped. I ended up walking into the wind to them and my ears were numb by the time I reached them. I left the house with out a hat, not a smart move when the chill factor had to be -20F. Had to walk thru deep snow the whole way too! When I got to them, they of course crowded around me and then followed me a little ways.
Then,I found out why they wouldn't go very far. The neighbor's stud horse was in the same place where they were and he wasn't wanting them to leave. My three geldings and four mares would head one way then the stud would come running and turn them.
My husband came back, more unhappy because the feed truck wouldn't start so he didn't have a big truck to hook the trailer to since I was driving the other big truck. After repeatedly trying to get our horses away from the darn stud horse with a bucket of cow cake and onto the road, we finally got them on the road. Things still weren't going well,as the darn stud had managed to get out somehow and try to steal our horses back. This time, Joe, one of our geldings, had had enough and really took after the ugly little stud, ears flat back and teeth bared. Our horses started moving down the road with the other horse trying to go with them or turn them. My husband was driving a smalle truck and was able to get between them and the stud. I followed behind ready to turn him back if he made a run for our bunch. It was a challenge for about two miles, a battle between the little stud and my husband in the truck. Our bunch seemed oblivious to the other horse, they were headed home and that was all they seemed to care about.

Eventually, the stud, gave up, turning and then jumping the fence. The fence was so deeply snow covered only the top strand of barbed wire was visible. The last we saw of him he was headed home. Our horses just kept moving towards home.

They kept strung out in a line at a lope the whole way, changing places as they tired. hey bodies were frost covered and they were blowing steam.

I got ahead of them to make sure they turned into our place instead of running on down the road. I really didn't need to worry about that! Once they reached our mailbox, they crossed the cattle guard, then the next two just the way they had when they made their escape. Our horses have never gotten out like that, let alone travel so far. Snowfilled cattle guards are just one more reason to hope we get a chinook or a few days of warmth to melt the snow!


Shirley said...

I wonder why they traveled so far? And where was the owner of the stud horse- I bet it would have been nice to have some help. Love the lead horse in the first photo of them coming home all strung out, and that grey horse sure is built too.

The 4 R's said...

What an adventure. And I thought we had it bad when our horses got out during a snow storm at 2 am last year. But they were only half a mile away.

Sarah said...

reckon the wind drove them that far? They had quite an adventure, and so did you and Doug! Hope I never have to trail after mine so far! Did you have any mares having an off season? Might have a surprise colt? But hope not!

Crystal said...

Wow they sure travelled! Whenever our get out, I have a "tattle tale" he never leaves the coral or fence and just runs around like crazy tellin us what going on. watch for a baby, I had a mare in heat last week, hopefully not either.

Sharmin said...

They just decided to visit a little. We've got a couple of nosy guys, too.

Horses Are Our Lives said...

that was quite a morning! did they go about 8-10 miles? I can't imagine how hard it was to get them separated from the stud and to get them back on to the road to home!