Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Horse + Pool = ?

I’m not great at algebra, but the above equation is not one that can turn out to anything good.

Sunday as I dove up to Mom & Dad’s, I noticed a loose horse. It happens. The neighbors were outside, so I backed up and asked if it was theirs. They informed me that it was a “community horse” that had been hanging around for several days.

That’s not normal.

When I got to Mom & Dad’s, I found out that the horse had indeed been hanging around for several days. Nobody had claimed the horse, and the police had been no help. They said they didn’t even know if Animal Control could help. Seriously? A loose horse running around (that no one was able to catch, by the way) and Animal Control couldn’t help? A bit ridiculous. The Police Chief had been out. And the Mayor had been out to talk with Neighbor S and had offered no solutions. (And he’s in a run-off for his job today. He might’ve lost a few votes over the past week.) Neighbor S had even called the County police that very day and had gotten a not-so-helpful response from them. I think everyone was a bit irritated over the whole situation.

So on Sunday afternoon after lunch, we were all standing around outside, talking about all manner of things, including the horse. HLB and Caedmon were riding the four wheeler up and down the 1/4 mile-long driveway and for a short time had the horse in one of Mom & Dad’s pastures. She didn’t stay long. We’d discussed the neighbor’s brand new pool and surely the horse wouldn’t bail off into the pool. About that time, the horse ended up in the neighbor’s yard and their son was doing his best to run it off. He got the horse out of the yard and came across the pasture to where Fidget and her boyfriend(?)/friend who is a boy were trying to fly a kite.

(Yes, she was trying to fly a kite in November gale-force winds. I know she’s weird. But that’s for another time.)

The next thing we knew, we heard yelling. Urgent yelling. We instantly knew what had happened. Then we looked down to the neighbor’s and our fears were confirmed. The horse was in the pool. The brand new pool. That nobody had even gotten to swim in yet.

Every one of us ran down to help. Literally. We ran. It’s about 1/8 of a mile from Mom & Dad’s to the neighbor’s house. Grade A was the first to make it. He pretty much sprinted. Squirt grabbed a halter and rope from the horse trailer before she took off. Fidget, her boyfriend/friend who is a boy and the neighbor’s son were already about halfway between our house and theirs, but they had a fence to climb. Mom was smart. She jumped in the truck and drove down, but I’m proud to say she made it there about the same time as this pregnant girl, who ran all the way there with everyone else to help.

I use the word “help” in reference to myself quite loosely, because I really had no idea how I was going to be useful. I had my camera in hand when we all sprinted down the road and Mom had hers, so I quickly became the official incident photographer.

HLB and Caedmon showed up to help and Caedmon went inside to play with the kids. It was a good thing they could keep each other occupied while the circus was going on outside.

Neighbor S was the one who’d discovered the horse. She heard the splash when the horse went into the pool. She’d jumped in to run the horse up to the shallow end and get the tarp untangled and was wet from the shoulders down. It was in the low 60’s on Sunday, but with the clouds hiding the sun and the wind blowing like crazy, it was almost cold. She had to be freezing.

(This is her after she got out of the pool. See? Soaked. I was cold for her.)


Now, I should mention again that everyone had tried to catch this horse over the last several days and had been unsuccessful. These are horse people, ya’ll. They own horses and certainly know how to catch one. We had no idea how difficult it might be to get her out of the pool, or if she could be caught even while she was confined to the pool. And panicky.

Everyone (except me – I was hiding by the corner of the house, taking pictures & video with two different cameras) lined the edge of the pool around the deep end to try to keep her in the shallow part. 



Meanwhile, Neighbor R was able to get close enough to get a halter and rope on her and guide her out of the pool.

And when I say “guide her out”, I mean that he tugged on the rope and she not-so-gracefully put her front feet up on the sidewalk and basically jumped out. She skipped the steps altogether. 


There’s no telling what kind of damage was done to the liner of the brand new pool. And it was too cold to actually inspect. The cover was ruined. Everyone (again, except me) pitched in and pulled it off the pool and got it folded and taken care of.



Neighbor R tried to get in and fish out some large rocks the horse had kicked off into the pool. He got one and had to get out. It was too cold.

Let me just say, the neighbor kids were quite upset that a horse got to swim in their pool before they did.

Neighbor S once again called the County police. The dispatcher was suddenly concerned about the horse that no one had cared about earlier. She didn’t ask about the people involved who could have been injured (or nearly have hypothermia) or property damage incurred. No, she wanted to know if the horse was alright.

Now, we are horse people. We care about animals. But everyone was just a bit angry that no one had wanted to take responsibility for the stray animal that was a danger to itself and others and now that it had caused damaged to someone’s property, everyone was suddenly concerned about its welfare.

And just so ya’ll know, the horse was fine. She had a small cut on her pastern (ankle), but nobody knew if that came from the pool or from her running around loose like a maniac for several days.

Once again, the City police came out. The officer told them he couldn’t do anything to help. He asked around, but no one he spoke with claimed the horse or claimed to know anything about it.

The guys got together and decided they thought they knew where the horse came from. So Neighbor R, Dad, and Deputy Guy went down the road to the place they thought the horse belonged. The police had evidently been there, but the guy they had spoken with knew nothing about the horse. The guys ran into the same guy, but recognized that he did not, in fact, live there. They knew the people who lived there didn’t speak English. But this guy did, so they asked him to translate and he agreed.

Get this.

The horse belonged at their house. But it wasn’t theirs. It belonged to their friends, who they didn’t really know. They said they would find out who their friends were who owned the horse. They left the horse in their pasture with a couple of cows…that also may or may not have belonged to the people who didn’t speak English.

Obviously they’re very observant. When a large animal goes missing for several days, you’d think someone would notice. Or when the police come around asking, you’d think that perhaps they’d just go check and make sure they could lay eyes on the horse that was left in their care and belonged to people they didn’t know. Apparently not.

The whole thing was crazy. And unnecessary. In so many ways. I could go on about how ridiculous it is that neither the city nor the county did anything about a stray animal that was a potential danger. I could say more about the idiots who left their animal in the care of people who obviously weren’t actually taking care of it. And the people who weren’t taking care of the animal left with them.

But I won’t. I’ll just sigh really big and stop typing, because this post is long enough and I’m sure you can probably figure out what some of those words would be.

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  1. The pool is damaged. It will require draining about half the water, patching the liner, then refilling the pool. I am personally so aggravated with the city and the county for being so inept and passe'. The horse was on the loose for 4 days. The city knew about it 3 days and had multiple phone calls from concerned neighbors. For those of the Un-horse world - although we have pastures you don't just pasture unknown-stray horses with your personal horses. There are all kinds of dangerous complications that can arise from that combo. Next time we'll just get in behind the stray horse and herd it to the city offices - so it'll be easier for them to be motivated to action.

  2. I'll bet they can pay for the pool damage with the proceeds from selling that horse. It obviously doesn't have an owner. So no one will mind.

  3. Anonymous9:34 AM

    Sell it to Elmer's. Holiday glue for everybody! I'm an un-horsed person and that was a joke. It was crude by horse people standards, but I don't care. I thought it was funny.

  4. Actually... we horse people discussed calling the horse Elmers or Alpo. Just to have something to call it that was shorter than "that stray sorrel horse with the blaze that no one seems to want."

  5. That is a crazy story! I was hoping you had gotten photos!!

  6. Wow! What a story! That is so crazy!

  7. Fidget11:29 AM

    What's wrong with flying a kite in November? It wasn't cold, and I haven't flown a kite in ages. I wouldn't have thought anything of it, until Boyfriend suggested we go find a kite.. Myself, Boyfriend, the neighbor kids, and your son all found it quite entertaining.