watchful eye

It doesn't matter what I am doing outside, Nemo keeps track of me. I have no doubt he does even more so with Brad, as he loves him more then any other human. When I am outside hiking or doing whatever, Nemo stops his world to keep a watchful eye on my whereabouts. Even at a distance. He likely considers me part of his herd. 

Nemo on guard (Jan 2020)
the other two are chomping away at the feeder 
Harmony and Koda seem to care less. Maybe it isn't their job, and they know Nemo has surveillance covered.

Nemo (Dec 2019)
I have been trying to keep a closer eye on our small herd dynamics, and think about why they do what they do. Although our herd is rather subdued, it is still fascinating!! I don't know a horse person that doesn't love herd dynamics. There is SO much to be learned from observing horses. 

Koda, Harmony and Nemo (Dec 2019)
I have been taking photos of the big guy for many years, and have yet to get a photo of Nemo without his watchful eye - directly on me. Unless of course I catch him with his eyes closed, or masked. Even when the horses are running and interacting, he is looking at the camera. I can't help but wonder, how does he keeps one eye on me at all times?

Nemo (May 2019)


lever latch

The inevitable eventually happens. As you may have read two of our horses escaped for the first time since moving to our land over a year and half ago. During the couple minutes it takes to walk back into the barn and get the next horse for turnout, the strong wind blew the unlatched pasture gate wide open. I can assure you, this never would have happened if latched. There is always a possibility of horses getting out by going over/under a fence, but in our case it is unlikely. 

Our gate latches are different then the common chain notch system we've used for years. These latches are meant to operate from the ground, and also allow opening while mounted on horseback. Brad really likes them, and wanted us to have the ability to ride in/out of the pastures without dismounting. They would have come in handy for all the times we rode in/out of the pasture at the old family farm, and also the pastures at Brad's trainers.

We use the Single Piston Lever Latch made by Priefert. The system has two built in latches. The top long lever handle slides back-n-forth into a metal holder secured on the post. A second smaller latch flips over onto a metal bolt preventing the top latch from sliding. 

A chain could be added to our gates for triple security, but for now what we have is enough. Just ask anyone who has ever tried to open our gates from the ground, especially if the bottom latch is forgotten. I may or may not have said a few profanities when operating our gates. Pretty sure our latches will need some oiling to operate from horseback ;)

half locked gate
(top lever is latched, bottom is not) 



Walking past our kitchen window and what do I see, but two brown horses standing in front of me!!  Oh #&%@ our horses are OUT!!! 

I hustled to throw on a pair of shoes (no time for socks) or boots (it snowed last night) and grab a coat and my hat (conveniently located above coat). By the time I got outside, Brad was walking past the front of our house with a snorting Nemo in hand. 

In my morning "I haven't had coffee yet, stuper" I said "where are you going??" Brad replied "I am just following tracks" as he started down our long driveway towards the road. Gulp!! Silly me to think Koda & Harmony would choose to stick around. Ha!

"I'll grab some halters" and headed to the barn. I also put Tank in a stall, don't need another animal running loose.  He was likely wondering what the heck was going on, this isn't the morning routine. After breakfast, the horses go in the pasture. Yep, that's what I thought too. Looks like this is going to be a long morning! 

I saw Brads phone in the barn, so I popped into the house to grab mine. Just incase of an emergency. I headed down our driveway and saw Brad & Nemo already coming back from the road with Harmony nearby. My horse on the other hand had decided to explore the neighbors yard a bit more. 

Harmony wasn't sure
what to do, stick by Nemo, do more exploring, or come to the person carrying the halter calling..."Haaarmony" ...my thought was to get the closest horse. Harmony was more dialed into Nemo & Brad, Koda on the other hand was heading away from all of us for more fun exploring...so I switched to..."Kooooda" ...he came joyfully running towards me past me, and stopped a short distance away in our field. The field that will eventually in part, include our outdoor arena. He grazed as I haltered him. Good boy Koda. 

I handed Brad Harmony's halter, and we all headed back up the driveway towards our house/pasture. I got "the sigh" from Brad when I stopped to take the worlds fastest selfie. 

Nemo & Harmony
walking away back to the pasture
Koda is with me.

Notice neighbors house in distance (along treeline) our road is beyond it.
Brad found Koda and Harmony across our road, munching in the neighbors field. He said once they saw Nemo, they were like "uh oh, I don't think we are suppose to be doing this" and crossed back over by them. 

I am thankful for so many things: our horses are level headed, that Brad had not turned Nemo out yet (our Alpha horse), we recently did walk-a-bouts with all three, fresh snow (for tracking), it was Saturday morning before 8am (less traffic) and most importantly everyone made it back home without incident.

I couldn't help myself and asked Brad "what did we learn this morning?". His reply "cold wind really has a bite in the mornings" Ha ha, he knew where I was going with this...annnnd, I said "the pasture gate doesn't stick anymore, you have to lock it every-single-time!!" Stuff happens.

When I saw Harmony and Koda standing so pretty outside our window (ohhh the photos I could have taken lol) I knew exactly how the horses got out. The gate used to wedge snuggly on the wooden post, but it has swung open every time for a while now. I always lock it. When turned out, usually the horses either take a fresh drink or head to the hay right away. They don't bother the gate. But haaay, if the door swings wide open they are going to walk through it!! Who wouldn't?! Surprise!! I am awake now! Let's hope the rest of today is less eventful.


who's up next

It was really nice having Brad home for a staycation. I realized after the fact that I didn't scoop much poop while he was off work, yaaay!! That was a nice break for me :)

Most days we split chores into two parts, first call to action is always getting the stinky stuff picked and hauled away. Thankful that during Winters my friend bob(cat) is home! We usually head back to the barn in the afternoon after stalls air out a bit, spread PDZ (love that stuff, thanks Arlene!!) add shavings, clean out water dishes, take care of the kittens and most days sweep. Hay bags usually get filled at night, but sometimes the hay bag fairy fills them in the morning! 

We were all but done with afternoon chores, when Brad said he was heading out to lunge Nemo. Wait, what? The big guy is going to be SO happy! He gets very jealous and grumpy when Brad chooses any horse other then him. 

In usual guy form, I had no warning (insert eyeroll) so iphone photos it is. As soon as Brad walked out to get Nemo, a swirling blustery cold wind kicked up! So much for our cloudy but warmish weather. He told me Koda was in disbelief when he walked right past him (Koda always comes to the gate, always) to get Nemo, who comes to the gate when he chooses. Koda raced past Brad and stopped between him and Nemo who was munching at the feeder "here I am, take me, take me". Ha ha!! I said it before and I'll say it again, Koda needs and wants to do stuff with his humans. He gets bored and naughty otherwise. I missed all the funny. 

I finished up the last bit of chores, and headed out to the imaginary outdoor arena to observe and snap some pics. Notice the random Fall 'er Winter leaves blowing around willy-nilly in the short video clips.


Nemo doing the loopdy loo

Nemo was, Nemo. High headed and spirited at first, but with control for his trusted human. Brad knows Nemo best, and let him burn off some excess energy before asking for the intended light trot/walk lunge. Nemo is highly sensitive, and incredibly intuitive. To know him is to love him, he is such a good boy!!

The whole time Nemo was out, Koda was glued to the gate. Harmony called for their fearless leader. Koda was one happy boy when he found out it was his turn next!

Koda's merry-go-round view

Koda's Fabio-ish hair blowing in the wind

Brad mentioned he was so happy with Koda's behavior. It doesn't take much for him to become the good boy he can be. 

This time it was Harmony that was glued to the gate, and it wasn't because Koda was out. She didn't even care about Nemo's pasture whereabouts. She wanted to see what was on the other side of the barn, just like everyone else. Can't blame her. 

Brad had no intention of taking Harmony out, because, well our daughter doesn't like any one doing any thing with Harmony without her....enough said. After turning both boys back out, all I said was "she is STILL waiting at the gate" which is very unusual for her. 

She was happy to be up next! He took his other girl out for a stroll, and even ended up doing a short lunge. Harmony gave the biggest spook the second she walked past the bucket/tractor/bobcat and saw the other side of the barn monsters. She jumps in place, but you can feel it a mile away. It is a tight feeling space to pass through with the column etc, apparently the extended view on the other side of the barn was a surprise or ? They paused for reassurance. I began to wonder if taking Harmony exploring was a good idea...

Harmony was very lookie

one tight rope

While lunging Harmony was paying attention to everything but Brad, but other then that she did nothing wrong. In the old girls defense, who knows the last time she was out and about. She was happy to be included, and see what the others got to see. Such a pretty mover. 

It has been a great horsey end/start to our year!! The hardest step is always the first one. I'm hopeful our exploring will continue, and expand for everyones sake. Weather permitting. Looking forward to being hands-on and out from behind the camera. 

I sure have been a chatty-cathy lately. Don't worry, I am not going to post every single time we lunge our horses lol. These first few times were noteworthy, for me. I appreciate your reading my wordy thoughts, and commenting. Hope your year is off to a good start as well!!