Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Murray

Last year, Murray's birthday was overshadowed by Maggie's Kamikazee incident.
Thankfully, this year Murray had the chance to eat his birthday stud-muffins without all the chaos.

Monday April 11

The horses have been separated in their smaller paddocks for the past week to give their larger paddock a chance to dry out. Today though, with rain and wind in the forecast, they're to be reunited again-- so they can huddle together in the run-in shed if need-be.

"The girls" are already outside, choosing their hay piles by the time I bring Murray out. He walks obediently by my side, but I can tell by the spring in his step, that he's having a hard time containing his enthusiasm.

I open the gate, and walk him into the paddock. He turns his head toward the mares as I close the gate behind us. I stroke his neck and he jumps slightly. Yep, he's clearly on edge. I reach up to remove his halter, but just then, I notice that his blanket is crooked. I don't know why this bothers me. It's always crooked, and no matter how many times I fix it, it promptly slips back over to the left. But, for whatever reason, I feel the need to striaghten it before turning Murray loose.

The lead line slackens as I step to Murray's side. As I grab hold of the blanket, Murray can't contain himself any longer. He spins and bolts off at full speed toward the back of the paddock. I have a split-second decision to make-- do I keep hold of the leadline, or do I let go? I decide to hold onto it, partly because I don't want to risk having him running around with a leadline wrapped around his legs, and partly, because I don't want him to think he's allowed to do this. It's a long lead, he gains a fair amount of speed before he reaches the end of the rope. When he does, the force of the pull yanks my arm forward and nearly tugs me off my feet, but I hang tight, and Murray is forced to spin back around to face me.

He's clearly shocked to find that he's still tethered, and he balks at the pressure. He rears stright up, offering me a full view of his round hay-belly. Then he tosses his head and tries to yank the leadline from my hand, but I hold tight. I stalk up to him, glaring, and yelling: "YOU. DO. NOT. TAKE. OFF. LIKE. THAT. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!". But my anger is just a farce, and really, I'm having trouble keeping a straight face. After all, it's Murray's birthday. He's 23. I'm glad he still has the strength and energy to pull silly stunts like this.

Murray lifts his chin and offers an arrogant look which is clearly unrepentant, but nonetheless, he allows me to lead him back to the gate. He stands quietly while I straighten his blanket. He lowers his head as I slowly drop the halter off his nose. I give him a final pat on the muzzle, then whisper "ok". This time with my blessing, he explodes like a rocket into the middle of the paddock. He leaps into the air, bucking like a bronc the whole time. As he approaches "the girls", he tosses his head and twists his front legs sideways into the air, striking out at imaginary targets. He leaps and prances around them, trying to entice them into playing with him-- but they're thinking only of food.

Murray does another lap around the paddock in this half-gallop, half-bucking gait, then he pauses to rear up. He stands so tall on his hind legs that his front hoof clips the roof of the run in shed. After that, he spins in circles, then drops to the ground to roll in the mud. When he gets up, his blanket is twisted to the left. I don't even consider fixing it. I just laugh and wish my good old boy a very happy birthday.


  1. Happy Birthday to my favourite 23-year old (now that Al's turned 24...).
    Happy trails !