It was warmer this afternoon and the horses whinnied eagerly when I came into the barn to mix up their supper, voicing their usual complaint that I am the slowest supper-preparing human on the planet, and my hideously slow prep means they could starve to death, falling in a heap of bones, if I don’t get a move on. (I’d like to see them open four different containers, measure four different measures with the correct amount of Supplement A, Supplement B, Wormer, and Feed, and get those into the correct feed pans any faster! Ahem!)
They were, however, were clearly distractible. Birds zoomed by–heads looked toward birds. A cow bawled somewhere in the distance–heads looked toward the sound. The neighbor’s goats were in the lot next to the south horse lot and their attention wavered. Then R- took his garden cart to the hay barn to bring some more bales back since I was feeding from the last bale in the aisle and they alerted to its odd little noises. I kept working.
Just as I called Tig to the big barn gate to come in, both horses were completely distracted and suddenly took off for the south fence. I looked. Someone was running in the goat lot, and the goats were running too. Bleating and running. Running and bleating. The human had a rope…made a loop…whirled the loop.
On our side of the fence between, the two horses showed amazing lateral moves, staring at goats while shifting right, left, right, left…heads and tails high, ears pricked, eyes practically out on stalks. It was like a sofa full of fans leaning this way and that watching a crucial football game on big screen TV. Minus the pricked ears of the horses.
Whenever the boyz get all hyper about the goats, I refer to it as goat-TV, the premier horse-entertainment channel. (They also watch cattle, but “cattle TV” doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as “goat TV”, and the cattle are always in a much larger field, goes all the way to the dry creek, much farther away than the horses can go. They *were* interested when a young bull found some downed branches and started mock-fighting them. ANYway.)
Rags and Tig weren’t paying any attention to me…the guy roped a buck goat by a back leg; the goat bucked; the guy tried to grab it; much exciting leaping and yanking and so on went on while the horses passed invisible popcorn back and forth. As the guy moved to the far corner of the lot with the captured buck goat, the horses went even wilder, loping around feigning kicks at each other, and then running back to the fence to see more. I went inside. I can’t just let them come back up to eat in any order, because Rags is a food-obsessed little guy and will try to sneak Tig’s feed (and special supplement) so Tig has to go in first, and then Rags, to be sure Tig has a chance at his own ration without a scuffle. (Why not put them in separate stalls to feed them, someone’s going to ask. Because Tig is stall averse.)
So I left them for half and hour, roughly, went back out, and they made it clear they were seriously insulted by having been denied their supper ON TIME. I said Yeah, yeah, I know, come on, Tig, come up to the gate. I suppose, said Tig. But it wasn’t fair. I let Tig in; he went straight to his pan; Rags followed Tig at a courteous distance and veered off to his pan. I watched for a bit and then put out some flakes of hay to hold them until Night Hay time.
Never a dull moment.
And having looked at the little video of a panda eating bamboo, I have to say that horses eating either hay or grain (or for that matter grazing on grass when we have any) are far more stress-reducing than a panda. For me.