Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's 4:20 a.m.

I was awakened about 30 minutes ago by the sound of our neighbor's three-legged dog barking. The only reason I mention that the dog is short one leg is because I find it remarkable, even now... at 4:20 in the morning.

Thankfully, the dog is not a watchdog nuisance, but more of a reliable sentinel. If that dog is barking, then I know there's a good chance that something might be going on out back with my two horses. That's because the three-legged dog's home is on a bluff that overlooks my corrals. So I dragged myself out of bed, fumbled in the near dark for my pair of muck boots, and tromped out to the backyard. Wally was half asleep, standing in the turnout where he spends the night. Lexi, my palomino mare, was doing quite the opposite. She was ripping around her corral snorting like a dragon. She seemed to be extremely annoyed, perplexed or distraught over something down the hill.

I looked. I investigated. I strained my eyes to see but I saw nothing other than a sleepy street. My neighborhood was quiet. The only thing that seemed a bit out of the ordinary-- different from the other 184 nights Lexi has spent here-- was that the people down the hill, at the back of our property, had left the lights on that illuminated their swimming pool. All that meant to me was that they were wasting electricity. But to Lexi it was a cause for great alarm.

Not wanting to run an experiment to see just what can happen when a mare going bonkers is confined in a small space, I pulled a switcheroo and put Wally back in his corral and put Lexi in the big turnout. And yes, this is at about 4:00 a.m. And I am in my flannel pajamas.

Immediately Lexi scooted around the turnout like a ghost with a golden sheen. Her tail was arched over her back, her nostrils were flared. She sounded like a vacuum cleaner on overdrive, snorting with every lofty stride. I ran to the feedroom and gathered up an armload of carrots. Fortunately, carrots soothe a savage beast. I stood there for a good 10 minutes, shoveling carrots into her mouth in order to distract her from pool lights. Once she seemed to settle down (at least to the point where I didn't think she was going to pull a Pegasus and fly out over the fencing), I came back inside. And here I sit, typing away, because I can't possibly go to sleep now. Besides, the sun will be up in another hour. And then my neighbors will turn off their pool lights.

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