Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Manager in the Mist

Today was filled with a most penetrating, gravity-defying sort of rain. Water hung in the air, condensing into swollen drops that seemed to resist falling to earth. Cleaning stalls late this afternoon, every time I dumped the muck buckets I returned to the barn wetter, without ever actually being rained on. I was raking new shavings into Dar's stall when I heard squealing. I pulled the muck cart up to the dumpster and then opened the passenger door of the Pathfinder. I sat sideways on the seat, my feet on the ground. Somewhat sheltered, but surrounded by an unsubtle, oozing mist, I watched the horses.

Those guys were in a bad mood today. Perhaps they were fussy in their sheets, or maybe just tired of two days of rain and wind, but high action unfolded before my eyes. Keely monster reared high, menacing girlish Molly on the other side of the fence. Sam snaked his cribby nose at Dar. Dar pinned his ears and pawed his gate, shivering it in metallic blows.

Through the murk, I made out Scout standing quiet, her head high, her face watchful. Bored of Molly, Keely backed her rump into Dar's gate. He began to nibble at her sheet. Keely bucked and squealed, then rocked her rump into the gate again. Dar paced and pawed. Sullen, Keely cranked him up more. Boom, boom. She pressed her rump into the gate. Dar pushed back. The squeals intensified. Sam and Molly had words of their own, adding drama to the scene.

All done now. I could see the decision happen in Scout. Firmly, with purpose in her stride, she crossed the paddock and sent Keely to stand in a corner. All it took was one look. Then she settled herself next to Dar's gate, standing just out of reach of him. She looked anywhere but at him, waiting. He tried pressing toward her while she stood seemingly oblivious to his efforts. Finally, he relaxed into futility, and began to turn away. Scout's a canny, calculating mare. She chose precisely that moment to stun Dar with a well-timed lunge, snapping her teeth with a ferocity that truly surprised him. Game over.

Things you see, witness, that can be described so briefly, but reveal so much. Horses.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Wonderful! She sounds like a mare that knows what she's doing!