Wednesday, July 1, 2015

And in today's featured ungulate joins us for some fun

We had an appointment with our farrier, Saint Butch, this morning so we planned to take Harley and Rolex for a ride to take the edge off, since they'd been stabled the previous night due to thunderstorms. We hit the trails by 8:45 under fresh sunshine and sparkling wet woods. Quick trotting along the Orris Falls Trail warmed everyone up--loosened my muscles and made Harley reminisce of his race days. Every now and then, he'd break into a canter, leaning on the bit, chasing Rolex down the trail. I felt the surge of his muscles as he accelerated--hang on, Lisa.

John planned a jaunt through Orris Falls with a road walk back to the barn as a cool down. Things went all pear-shaped (as the Brits say) when a loose goat barreled out of a yard, bleating after the horses. Harley and Rolex saw the goat and threw on the brakes. We convinced both horses to keep heading down the road, but the goat trotted after us, his plaintiff bleating scaring the heck out of Harley. He spun around to face his "attacker" from the rear, sidestepped, turned back to run, whirled back around, and pranced in the road. It was one of those self-preservation moments--bail out, Lisa! With me standing between him and the goat, Harley settled. John held the horses while I began knocking on doors, trying to track down the owner. No one appeared at the house where he'd come from, so I tried across the street, to no avail. So, the goat decided to join us for the ride home. I planned to call the police and let them know we had a missing goat when we got back to the barn.

We determined he was a wether, the correct name for a fixed male goat, and probably someone's pet, given his friendliness. With absolutely no fear of the horses, he quickly fell into step right alongside, nearly on Harley's hocks. He seemed happy to go on an adventure with us, and I was happy to get him off the road. I felt quite silly flagging people to slow down as the goat meandered in the middle of the road. On the trail, narrow space forced the goat to tuck in between Harley and Rolex. Every so often, Harley would stop and wait for the goat to go out front so he could give him a sniff. Harley accepted the goat as another trail partner, albeit a funny-smelling one. With the goat sandwiched snuggly between Rolex's nose and Harley's hind end, he bravely clambered up and over Brown Hill, the high point in the Orris Falls Preserve. I wondered if he'd stop and drink once we reached water--his panting had me a bit worried. But no, instead he offered us an example of goat agility as he leaped across the stream. Good thing Harley didn't see the action--it might have made him jump too! I said to John, "Let's see what he does at the foot bridge. I'll bet he uses it." John replied,"If he does, hang on, because that will certainly spook Harley!" Well the goat surprised us both and hopped from stone to stone, ignoring the foot bridge.
Butch was waiting, as I expected, and I apologized for the delay. He saw the goat and exclaimed, "Where did you get the goat?" A full explanation followed while each horse their feet trimmed. I put the goat in one of the spare stalls and contacted the local police to inquire about possible missing goats.

By the end of the day, the goat's owner was located and he was transported back home to Emery's Bridge Road. The owner filled us in on the goat's story--he used to have a goat buddy and an equine pasture mate. Now wonder he was such a friendly little guy and wanted to join us. He was just plain lonely. I hope the owner took this to heart and will think about getting him another pal. Otherwise, he may be off on another adventure--next time a horse passes by.

Best buds--Rolex and Harley

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