Every Sunday, I go to the stables. A couple of weeks ago, as I put Gem in the cross-ties, I asked LA how he had been over the last few days.
LA: "Well, we had a bit of an incident yesterday."
Me: "An incident??? What happened???"
LA: "Well, Gem decided to take a tour of the neighbourhood and went galloping down the road."
Me: "WHAT?!!!!! Holy crap!"
Let me back up a bit. Gem shares his field with 3 other horses: a 14.3hh blue-eyed black/white paint, DH, who beat up the other horses when he came on the scene and is now leader (I think he has short-man syndrome), a 15.2hh brown/white paint named S. (really sweet) and a 14.3hh brown QH named J. (shy, unassuming). Gem used to be the leader, but then DH arrived and they had it out (lots of bite marks!). Gem gave way to DH and now DH is top, Gem is next, S. is 3rd and J. is lowest ranking. Gem tolerates DH.
Last summer, I bought one of those rubber balls with a handle (in chartreuse, of course!) for Gem to play with while he was separated from the herd. It eventually ended up in the corner of his stall. LA asked me, about a month ago, if she could put it out in the field for The Boys to play with; they were getting bored. Of course! They love that thing. They run around chasing and kicking it. It was a great idea to give it to them.
On the day in question, The Boys were running around the field, kicking up their heels and blowing off a little steam. The ball came into play a few times. LA was enjoying watching them while she was doing her chores in and around the barn. Boys will be boys, though. Somehow, S. lost his footing (ice?) and fell right down....across the electric tape fence, the section facing the back of the arena. This stopped play for about a nano-second. S. quickly got up (unharmed), both he and Gem looked at the gap in the fence, noticed the absence of gates beyond where they were standing and decided to go for it....at a trot and then a gallop...right past LA!
LA yelled at her helper, who grabbed a couple of halters and started off after the escapees on foot, while LA and her husband brought DH and J. in and then jumped in the truck. The race was on! The stables are located on a quiet road, so traffic was not an issue. But if the horses had deviated from the road, there were plenty of farm fields they could frolic in. S. and Gem weren't gone long. They only went down the road about 1/4 mile when they stopped and looked around and realized that the herd was no where in sight. They were easily caught and walked back without issue. Gem had a chunk missing from his front hoof as a reminder of his escapade.
As usual, the next time I was at the stables, I asked how Gem had been.
LA: "There was another incident."
Me: "WHAT?!! You have got to be kidding me!"
LA: "Nope. DH was involved."
Oh, no. I assumed that there had been a blow up between him and Gem.
Me: "Good grief. Is everyone OK?"
LA: "Yep. DH got electrocuted this time."
Me: "What?! You mean.......
Based on the details LA provided, this is what I think happened. Gem instigated a game with DH. Play ball with me. I am your friend. I won't hurt you. DH and Gem were tearing around the field tossing the ball back and forth. Gem took the game to the side of the field that faces the pastures. Gem threw the ball long and deep. DH went for it and crashed through the electric tape fencing. As DH struggled to get up (bzzzt! bzzzt!), Gem stepped over him, stuck his tongue out at DH (OK, maybe I am making that up) and trotted off to be with the herd. DH (unharmed), S. and J. stayed put. Gem was eventually brought back, looking very smug (OK, maybe I made that up, too).
It's hard to believe that a face like this could be devious. These incidents, as much as they are worrisome, have given me a whole new respect for Gem's intelligence. I believe it clicked that if he could pull down the electric tape, there was a new adventure waiting on the other side of the fence. He knows that the electric shock hurts and I think he was smart enough to realize that he would need to sacrifice one of his roommates on the fence to be able to start his adventure. DH was the perfect choice. :-) DH would get zapped (that will teach you to bite me!) and Gem gets to party.
I offered to pay for the electrician and repair of the fence. LA declined my offer. "This is just horses being horses", she said with a smile, "Comes with the territory." Thank goodness! Hmmmmmm, now I wonder what OTHER plans Gem is developing......
What was I thinking....?