Saturday, March 5, 2011
The White Blanket
The white blanket on our pasture is getting lower to the ground, but there’s still a lot of ice and snow before you hit grass. At the worst, it was actually almost reaching the top rail of the fence but slowly it’s melting, inch by inch.
I was gone for about five hours yesterday, visiting my mom and going to the grocery store. My husband was supposed to throw a couple of flakes of hay to the horses, but he got busy and forgot. So, when I came home, Silk was standing at the gate of the corral watching anxiously for my arrival. I didn’t see Siete until I walked up to Silk with some hay. There was my little horse, standing at the far corner of the pasture, four hooves on top of the snow like an ornament on a birthday cake. I called her to come get some hay. She was still as a statue.
I realized, oh my god, she's stuck, so I headed inside to put on my boots. My husband beat me to it, feeling guilty that he forgot to feed the girls. He grabbed a halter and lead rope and ventured out to rescue Siete. Each step, he sunk into the snow almost to his knees. When he reached Siete, she started shaking her head wildly. He petted her and whispered something in her ear. Did I mention that Siete is his girlfriend? She let him put on the halter and lead rope without any fuss.
I stood at the gate, worried that she would drag him but she wasn’t going to budge. Finally, he calmly and gently coaxed her to follow him. She took two steps on top of the ice and then, whoosh! Siete’s feet dropped into a soft spot in the snow, and she sank about a foot. After that, she was afraid to lift her leg again. I don’t know how he convinced her to try, but step by step, my husband patiently dragged the horse at a snail's pace across the white blanket. At the edge, where the snow ended and the small “runway” was cleared except for ice and mud, Siete started leaning on him like she couldn’t bear to take another step.
I was afraid she was going to explode as soon as she hit terra firma, but she waited until he unclipped the lead rope and stepped out of the way. Then, she took off running into the barn. Safe in her stall, Siete bucked and bucked and bucked and bucked. Then, she whinnied very loud at us. It was quite clear what she had to say about the whole experience.
I offered her a carrot to calm her rattled nerves, and I served dinner early to the girls. This morning, when I opened the stall door, Siete poked her head out and tossed her nose in the direction of the white blanket. I reminded her that there was nothing but trouble out there for her. She’s a smart little horse, so she stood at the edge of the snow for a long time today without lifting a hoof in that direction.
Soon, little darling, soon. Spring is right around the corner.