Moments ago I was snuggled in my warm bed. My dogs were curled up close under my well worn purple comforter. Touched by an Angel was playing on the tv and the angels had just appeared when I heard a loud bang outside. It is one of those sounds that a backyard horse owner doesn't want to hear.
Two days ago I went out to feed in the morning. It was cold and I had a bucket of chicken feed on one hand. Next to the barn my little sled was filled with hay and there standing next to a pile of hay, outside the paddock was little Ike. I sigh. The gate is broken. I call to Abby, who pokes her head out of the barn door. She is followed by two donkeys and two more minis. Luckily it was so chilly that none of the equines wanted to go very far. I doled out some of sweet feed to the horses and lured them back into the paddock.
Those are the moments that people who board don't have to deal with. They curl up in their warm beds and don't worry about their little horses safe in stalls. Those are the moments that we backyard horse owner's dread. Broken fences, low on feed and hay on cold nights, deicers that stop deicing, gates that are bent in half, the list goes on.
So I got out of my warm bed and pulled on my tall snow boots. I grabbed my dirty tan barn coat with three pairs of gloves in the pockets. Too lazy to zip up the knee length jacket, I wrapped my arms around myself as I tried to peer hard at the gate, which is now kept closed with a lead rope. The moon is out and shines down on the little barn, but it is still hard to see in the shadows.
It is not as cold as I thought it would be, and the outlines of little horse start to take shape. The shapes appear to be on the right side of the fence. As I get closer I can hear them munching on dinner. Dominique is there with Madison. I throw a little more hay over the fence and Rocky nickers from inside the barn. I toss more hay to him too.
From around the back of the barn a very large black animal looms. Abby walks up to the gate. I hold her head in my arms and pet her jowls. Resting my forehead against her star we just enjoy each other's company. I don't think I can quite put into words what those few quiet moments feels like. It makes getting out of a nice warm bed, very worth it.