Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wondering What It Is

I've been pretty silent for the last several days - nearing two weeks - trying to figure out what has been going on with the horses.  About a week and a half ago, I had gone out to feed the nighttime meal (usually around 6:00 pm).  The horses had hollered at me as usual, but would NOT come when called.  They had stashed themselves in a small corner of the corral where the water tank stands, currently frozen as they use the stream.  As long as there is running water in the stream, we don't bother with the tank.  I walked over to check the tank; sure enough, frozen solid with no sign of them being interested in it.  You know, no nose smudges in the snow on top of the ice, or hoof prints trying to break it open.  So what the heck?  Why stand here?

They followed me back to the hay feeder and basically had a normal meal.  A couple days later, same activity, only at the morning feed.  This was just before my birthday, so when Compass called to say she had seen a lynx sitting on the front porch of her cabin, I explained to my crew that - to my knowledge - a lynx was probably not going to be a problem for them.  They appropriately hung their heads and apologized for being 1000 lb wimps.

OK.  Fine - for a couple of days.

Here we go again.  We get a lot of snow and MUCH more aggravated behavior from the horses and I noticed them hanging out at the lower end of the corral, keeping careful watch.  I walk down to check and see that Compass and crew seem to be turning a storage shed into something else.  They had cleaned it out (we had seen multiple PU loads of stuff being hauled out), added a lean-to to the long side, and cut a huge hole in the upper half of the wall.  Now this shed happens to be just between her cabin and our corral.  Hmmm?

How many of you have had the chance to see a very angry Mustang mare?  I've had Jesse 11 1/2 years now and she has almost always gone directly to 'fight' status, leaving out the flight thing, and not a lot invokes fear in her.  If something enters her 'living space' that she doesn't think belongs, she has no problem with 'taking it out', quite literally.

Imagine how I felt when I went to feed last night, found the two geldings holding up in the water corner again, and Jesse in full fight mode.  When I stepped into the corral, she raced up to me, did a sliding stop, then raced between the fence by the shed and the fence by the feeder.  That's when I finally put two and two together.  The lightbulb had finally gone off for me.
If you biggify this picture, as my daughter says, you will notice a path going across the back yard of a neighbor's cabin, coming from a shed way in the background.  All the horses watched this constantly while eating - should have been a clue - and they would only eat if I was standing there at the feeder.  I was beginning to worry.  The horses had been spooked the worst two nights of the storm, not even eating the extra hay I had laid out for them.
See it more clearly?  That leads directly to our hay feeder.  I had mostly ignored it because Compass' dog tends to make that path first thing in the morning.  However, yesterday I had noticed that the first part of the path the dog takes from Compass' place to ours was missing.  I couldn't check for tracks because the wind was keeping it blown over just enough to see it was being used often, but not by what.

Then it hit me.  She had gotten some chickens (maybe a month or so ago) and was keeping them in a portion of her tack area just inside the barn.  Bill and I had discussed what she could possibly do with them when she needed that area this summer for tacking up the horses.  I think the shed is becoming a hen house, and what a great location.  Right between the cabin whose porch the lynx likes, and a likely 'living quarters' in one of the deserted sheds - with our corral directly in the middle.  And why, pray tell, would a lynx not think a hen house could come in handy?  Especially if maybe she was pregnant and having trouble hunting in the cold?  Or if he was getting older and stiffer?  Just last winter a bobcat had hung around those empty sheds for a couple weeks, so they must be inviting to cats.
This was the scene at this morning's feeding.  Bill had gone out to check the horses earlier and actually found them in their own shed; happy campers and they came directly to their bowls when they saw me.
I can only hope that whatever had upset them has now passed.  Only time will tell, but I can tell you that Jesse is pretty sure she has rectified the situation with all her stomping, snorting and charging around!

I feel badly that it took me so long to make the connections, although, not sure what I could have done about the situation anyway.  So glad they take care of themselves so well.
Bionic Cowgirl


  1. No! She can't have chased it off yet! I've got a game camera on the way so we can see what it is! Bad Jesse!

  2. Dang. I haven't seen a lynx in years. Love those things, they are so cool!

  3. Oh my goodness.

    A horse in FIGHT mode is a pretty intimidating thing. I can only imagine Jesse taking care of any threat!


I had to turn verification back on. Ten "spams" an hour is making me crazy...