Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Boss is Back

Dave survived his first stint as stable manager mostly unscathed-- and thankfully, so did the horses. Though there were a few bumps along the road.

I was halfway through my stint away from home when, during a phone call to Dave, he revealed that Murray was a "bad boy".

Me: Really? What did he do? Is he ok?
Dave: It was my fault.
Me: What did you do?
Dave: Murray bit my finger.

Now, at this point I knew that Dave was right, it was his fault. Murray is a quirky, complicated, flighty animal, but he is safe to work around and DOES NOT bite or kick. I did manage a quick "are you ok?" before grilling Dave as to what he must have done to provoke my innocent horse.

Here's what Dave told me:
It's evening, time to tuck the horses into their stalls for the night. Dave decides they deserve a bedtime treat, so he digs into the bag of carrots. He gives Murray a bite first then, while he purposefully crunches away, Dave turns toward Maggie's stall. She reaches her head through the open top-half of her door, and greedily grabs her allotted portion. Without turning to look, and while still coddling Maggie, Dave reaches his carrot-filled hand back toward Murray's searching muzzle. Murray (understandably) grabs what's left of the carrot. Unfortunately, Dave is not holding it flat in his hand. Instead, his fist is closed around it, and as Murray tugs the succulent orange treat into his hungry mouth, he can't help but tug Dave's thumb right along with it.

It's at this point that Dave feels a stabbing pain jolt through his hand. He instinctively attempts to yank his hand back toward his body. Murray, frightened by the sudden movement, instinctively leaps backward in his stall--without releasing his grip on the carrot, and the human appendage attached to it. Dave's thumb is torn free of the vice-like grip of Murray's teeth, and both Murray and Dave are left wide-eyed and frightened. Dave reluctantly looks at his hand and is relieved (and somewhat shocked) to find that his thumb, while throbbing intensely, is still wholly intact.


The next day, when I call and asked how things are, this is Dave's response:
"well, you'll be happy that I didn't burn down the barn".

My thoughts immediately turn to the heater mounted on the ceiling in the isle of the barn. Along with releasing heat, it also emits a burning smell when plugged in. It does help bring some warmth to the cold barn, but I rarely use it for fear that I'll forget to unplug it, and that it will somehow ignite the hay and shavings, and the barn will go up in smoke.

Me: Did you leave the heater plugged in?
Dave: No, nothing like that.
Me: Ok, what then?
Dave: It was the fence.

It's a cold, rainy morning and Dave is running late. Murray makes things worse by eating his grain even more slowly than usual (probably in an effort to put-off going out into the sloppy weather). With Murray leisurely lapping up his breakfast, Dave opens the door to Maggie's "daytime" stall, and props it open with a piece of concrete so that she can come in and out as she pleases.

Still waiting for Murray to finish (I'd told him not to let Murray out until he finishes his grain, or he likely won't come back to it, and he's too skinny to miss a meal), Dave plugs in the electric fence. He looks at the clock and curses Murray's slowness. But then, as he waits, he hears a clicking sound. It's the sound of the electric fence arcing. That's not entirely uncommon, but this time it's different. It's loud and it's very close. With time to kill, Dave investigates. He's about to step outside when he notices an orange glow which appears in time with the clicking. The glow is not along the line of the electric fence, it's along the metal edge of the stall door. Somehow, the energy from the electric fence is sending a current right through the door, by the floor of the stall which is covered in wood shavings. It's a fire waiting to happen, not to mention a cruel shock for Maggie if she happens to bump the door on her way out.

Perplexed, Dave steps outside to see that the piece of concrete he's used to prop open the door is actually pushing the metal-framed door back against the electric fence. Suddenly, it's all becoming clear. That piece of concrete had originally been behind the door, thick enough to keep the door from hitting the fence. But we moved it, thinking that its weight would work well to hold the door open. Dave turns off the fence and shoves the block of concrete back to its original position. He uses bailer twine to tie the door open. The clicking stops. Disaster averted. Thank you Murray for being so slow.

So, all in all, Dave and the horses made out ok, though he swears that when he went to work on Friday, the two of them were "talking" over the fence, and planning a mutiny. I guess it's a good thing I got back when I did.


  1. ohmigod!! I read this aloud to Tyler (without glancing through the story first!) and we both exclaimed "Dave had his finger severed????!!!!" before finishing the story and finding out what happened. We love the second part of the story where Murray was taking his time (since Dave probably pressed snooze too many times!! LOL)

  2. That's HILARIOUS - and I'm glad your "huny" survived relatively unscathed :)

  3. haha!!!!!I had faith in Dave!!!!I knew he could do it.Just don't leave him to often.