I arrived at pasture aware that there was a large black cloud to the southwest. I hoped it would travel away from me, following the usual storm track, so I could complete the task at hand: bringing Bowthorne Matty and her five-month-old filly Willowtrail Mountain Emma home to commence Emma’s weaning.
As usual, Emma’s sisters Honey and Madie were the first to appear. I tied them to fence posts and gave them their vitamin buckets. Then I started walking towards the willows along the river to the place I expected Matty and Emma to cross. That’s when my luck ran out. A huge blast of wind hit me and I was challenged to stay standing. Honey and Madie seemed to be tolerating the wind, so I continued heading toward the river to find Matty and Emma. Matty decided to cross the river upstream of where I was, so I ran back the way I’d come to intercept her. I was nearly blinded by my hat flipping down over my face when I turned into the wind. Then my puppy started biting at my heels, sensing the excitement, and nearly knocked me down.
Just as I got Matty haltered and through the gate to the strip pasture to her vitamin bucket, with Emma close behind, a black plastic bag that had been flying on the wind caught on the wire fence along the highway and began flapping wildly. That was past what the girls who were tied could handle, and Honey went vertical briefly, managing to free herself from the fence post. She was now dragging her lead rope, utterly confused. Ignoring Honey’s dilemma for the moment, I got Matty loaded onto the trailer, and Emma, bless her heart, decided she would load despite the trailer door moving erratically in the wind.
After Matty and Emma were secure in the trailer, I made my way back to Honey and Madie who were still jumping about because of the madly flapping plastic bag. I removed Honey’s halter and lead since she was already loose. Next, I retrieved the bag from the fence and stuffed it in my pocket. I could immediately feel the girls relax, though they were still higher than usual because the wind was still blowing incredibly hard, and rain drops were occasionally pelting us. I untied Madie and led her into the strip pasture and was very thankful that Honey followed us. I closed the pasture gate, released Madie, and told the girls I’d return in half an hour.
Spirits were high at home when we arrived because the storm cloud was just passing that location. Emma and Matty were perfectly cooperative, though, as we unloaded and I got them reunited with friends they hadn’t seen in a few weeks.
When I returned to pasture to get Honey and Madie, the black cloud was sitting over the high peaks in the distance, and the girls were their normal mellow selves. The sun was shining, and the wind was calm belying the excitement of a half hour earlier. Loading Honey and Madie went as calmly as it normally does, and the trip home was uneventful. What a difference better timing made!
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2016