If my Thoroughbred gelding, Ben, weren’t so calm, sensible, and trusting, this could have been a horrible wreck.
My mischievous little (!!) boy likes to play with things. When he’s finished drinking, he likes to pick up his almost-empty water tub by the handle and fling it around. Likes to grab the edge and tip it over. Likes to paw at it. Likes to stick a hoof in and whack it around inside. This is all great fun. The poor innocent green tub cowers by the fence when he hasn’t pulled it over and dragged it away. Which he likes to do. Because it’s great fun.
This is also why I keep finding great long cracks in his plastic water tubs. As I did last evening when I came to the barn to turn him out for the night. The tub was now useless and I couldn’t find another to replace it. Finally I dug up an oblong plastic tub, about 18 inches deep by 18 by 24 inches. It had a crack in the side of one end but by propping that end up with a board I was able to fill it with enough water to hold him till I could get a replacement in the morning.
I got to the barn pretty late this morning, after everyone else had finished their chores and gone. I stopped at the house on my way in to talk to Annette, the barn owner, who told me Ben was playing with the tub again. We discussed replacements and I drove around the shedrow to park near my guy’s paddock. I pulled up…
And saw Ben standing a little way back from the fence, his right front leg trapped almost to the knee through a break in the upside-down tub’s bottom.
Just standing there calmly. Looking at me quietly, with happy trust in his eyes. Of course I’d come to rescue him! No, I didn’t stop to take a picture – hell no! I got out of the car and headed for the Benster, expecting any moment to see him start panicking and thrashing. (Although now that everything’s okay, I wish I had – in retrospect it was hilarious.)
I kept up a calm facade and a relaxed chatter as I went to him, although inside I was shrieking “OHMIGAWD DON’T MOVE OHMIGAWD!” He just stood there, waiting. He must have been pawing at the upside-down tub, and was trapped through a long crack, not a hole, that he’d plunged his hoof through and that had snapped shut on his leg, so it was a struggle to get the thing off – at one point I had to let go of his leg, put the mess down, and try to break the crack wider. Now and then he’d nuzzle my back as I bent over his leg. Finally I was able to pull it off him. He put his hoof down, nuzzled me again, and wandered off in search of hay. Not a scratch on him.
Man! When I think of how badly he could have hurt himself if he’d panicked and tried to run, or flailed his leg about, I still shake. I’d planned to put a metal garbage can in the paddock and fill it for a water tub – let him try to break THAT! – but decided instead to put a Rubbermaid wheelbarrow outside the fence, fill it with water, and let him stick his head through the rails to drink.
So far, so good – he’s drinking and hasn’t (yet) figured out how to wreck it. I left him there in his paddock this evening, happily munching away, the unmolested wheelbarrow almost full. I wonder what I’ll find in the morning.
I mean, besides this face waiting for me.