In the future, do not turn out horses in the barnyard, no matter how elderly and feeble they may be!
Before I explain, let me just say that one of the reasons I love the horse world and horses so much is because you always have something to learn no matter how long you've had horses or been riding or teaching or managing a barn...... something always happens that you don't expect that keeps you from ever "arriving". It's great! Keeps you humble, and keeps you spontaneous.
Ok, now for the explanation - Our barn is entirely fenced in, with two smallish paddocks to the left and right of it; with immediate acess by gate into the barnyard. Our two larger fields are further off from the barn. We use the paddocks for quarantine for the thoroughbreds and other new horses; or for sacrifice areas when we're trying to grow grass in the pastures. Right now I have Major and Jazz in one, while the pasture is rested; and the two new TBs we brought down last week in the other. (One of those TBs is scheduled to go to another owner this week.) The other horses are turned out down in the big pasture along the creek.
So I have been turning Cisco, my re-rescued rescue I picked up a couple of weeks ago, into the barnyard at night. I am hesitant to turn him out with the younger, feistey, playful TBs. He is a little feeble with his arthritis, and just needs to take it easy, and gain weight. I shut all the stall doors, tack, feed, and bathroom doors and let him wander around, eat his hay, munch grass, and come and go as he pleases. So far, so good.
Until this morning.
Each of our paddocks and pastures has it's own hydrant for water. Each paddock has it's own water tank, also. There is also a hydrant in front of the barn. This morning, as I walked up to the barn entry, I saw the hydrant had been yanked up out of the ground and water was pouring out like a geyser, and there was a resulting lake and waterfall flowing down through Jazz and Major's paddock. They were standing there, staring at it.
I stopped. I looked at Cisco. Cisco looked at me. "What happened last night, Cisco?" (I don't know why, but I always have these one sided conversations with my horses.)
I imagined Cisco saying back to me: "Don't look at me, Mom. I didn't do it! Look at me, half crippled with arthritis. Do I look like I could do that?"
Cisco and I walked to the feed room, where he watches me fix his breakfast and dinner every day, and then I called Kevin; who rushed right over.
There is no way to deny, Cisco had to have done it. The hydarant was broken at the water main several feet underground. So we shut off the water and will have to get to fixing it later after we deal with baleing our hayfield today........
After concluding that Cisco had to have done it, of course we checked him over for cuts or whatever on his head. He must have gotten his halter stuck on it and yanked it out. Even though he is elderly, and slowed down from the arthritis, he has been gaining lots of weight and getting his strength back. And, he is a very big horse, being appendix QH; and 16 hands. I usually don't turn horses out wearing halters, as they tend to loose them, break them, and it can be dangerous. I just opened Cisco's stall last night before I left and didn't remove his halter. Geesh.
Yep, that's my "kids". Keeping me on my toes, and keeping me wondering what is going to happen next. Fun times!