Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ben's Rainy Day Corral

Gee, I haven’t posted anything for a while. Maybe because I had nothing of note to say? And you, yes, you over there, hush up about never having....

 Anyway, it’s time for another pointless but amusing (to me, anyway) photo essay. This one goes way-way back, back before the Serious Photographer/Serious Camera (stop snickering, dammit) to the point-and-shoot days.

Years ago, when I was boarding my Thoroughbred Ben at a riding stable rather than the farm where he now resides, I wanted to clean his stall, without him in it to get in my way. Normally I’d have turned him loose in the inside ring while I worked, but people were riding. I could always put him in a turnout paddock, of course, though it was raining and he’d get all muddy. Then inspiration struck.

There weren’t any grass paddocks for Ben to graze in at Seven Acres Farm, but there was a grassy area next to the main barn. Three sides were fenced in some way: the barn side, a paddock fence running off it, and a tree/brush-lined slope for a third barrier. The fourth side, though, was wide open. What, oh what could I use to keep Ben confined? I looked around, and spotted the solution:


That’s right, plastic lawn chairs, and one lonely bucket. I set up the Arc of Imprisonment, led Ben in, unhooked the lead line, put the entrance chair back in place, and stood back to see how he’d react. Would he freak out? Blast through the flimsy barrier? Ben’s a biddable boy, quietly content to obey whatever his humans require of him and keenly aware of his duty to stay inside anything fencelike, but....


Now and then Ben left off massacring the grass to gaze away into the woods, though he didn’t bother to tell me what he was hearing or smelling.


 Or he’d check out the hose to the sump pump for draining the swale in the paddock behind him.


But mostly he grazed happily on his rare green treat.


 Satisfied that he wasn’t going anywhere, I went back to his stall, breaking off from the mucking every few minutes to look over and assure myself Ben was still where I’d left him. Meanwhile, the light rain dwindled to a mist; the mosquitoes began emerging, and Ben began to be annoyed by them.


The grass was still good enough to keep him occupied while I finished the last bit of mucking, refilled his water buckets, and stuffed fresh hay into his stall.


 I went to retrieve the Benster – and just in time! A monster was stirring in the woods...


 ...and he turned to me to save him, save him!


And that was the end of Ben’s rainy day corral.