Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wicked Windstorm


It was 8:30 last night, my husband and I were watching the surprisingly scary love-story movie, Ghost, when, besides the shrieking ghouls and subway fights on television, I was pretty sure I was hearing shrieking ghouls and subway fights in and around our house.

Stop the movie, I said. I hear something. After a brief discussion about whether what I heard was in the movie itself or somewhere near us, we paused it, and he walked over and opened the window. What I'd heard was, in fact, real, it was the wind blowing at 40 mph with 50 mph gusts. It was squeaking swingsets, blowing over patio chairs, and occasionally, lifting our house off its foundation.

Of course, my first thought was about the horses, so I went over to the window myself and strained my eyes in the dark to see what was happening with them--no horses could be seen.

I hadn't known it was coming, so I'd left them all out, and it was obvious, with my nervousness escalating, I needed to stop what I was doing, get dressed, and go to the barn to see if BG was hightailing it back to Beaty's Butte with the rest of our herd in toe.

My husband got dressed, too, because when mama's not happy....you know what I mean.

We got on the 4-wheeler, zoomed on out to the barn, and the first thing we saw when we got there was our, what has lately become, wild mare bunch--Cowgirl chasing Beautiful around the turnout--and three fat geldings eating calmly, circled around one of the two fresh roundbales in their corral.

Mares in chaos, fat and happy geldings. What is not new about this picture?

Besides the wind, they also predicted rain, and not wanting the mare fight to escalate and/or someone get hurt out there or run through a fence, I wanted to get all of them back into stalls. Some were easy, we just opened the doors and in they ran, however, Beautiful was hestitant and had to be lead in. When she did finally go in, guess which horses she was sandwiched between...Cowgirl and Shadow!

Great.

Of course, the mare fight continued, with Cowgirl, who is a tall horse, easily reaching over the bars of the run and biting her as she tried to get water. She just kept threatening and threatening her. So, we gave them all food thinking that would settle them down.

Oddly enough, it made things worse for BG. She started to back into each side of her stall--Shadow's wall and Cowgirl's wall--and kick it--HARD. She kept doing it and doing it--even after we'd moved Cowgirl to another. I spent a little time talking to her and calming her, and she finally settled down to eat, even as the wind threatened every loose thing in the barn: rattling and pounding at the doors, blowing woodchips and hay. It was a wicked windstorm.

My husband had already left to go back to the house, so I was out there alone. Eventually, I felt comfortable enough with the mood in the barn and the stall arrangments, so I decided to head back, too--exiting the barn door into the dark and the wind and walking toward the 4-wheeler.

All of a sudden, from seemingly nowhere, there was this loud Meereauwww, and there, in front of me, was a wide-eyed, white cat, tail flaired, arms and claws---all four--spread out, clutching the seat.

It was one of my barn kitties also terrified of the night. I could barely pry her claws off enough to get her back into the barn clinging to my coat. I had to lock she and her sister in the cat house so she'd stop following me. I'm pretty sure, last night, she would have run behind me all the way back to the house!

Before I left, I looked back over the calmed chaos that was my barn, and turned off the lights once again. Then I rode back, found my husband, and continued to watch the last hour of Ghost.

What month is this--October? Oh yeah, it's February--spooky February.

But today, it's all beautiful out there: sunshine, above freezing, a predicted 47 degree high for today (yes 47!) and horses at peace with another, grazing together in the north pasture. Even Cowgirl and Beautiful are together this morning, grazing side-by-side, leaving me to wonder....is there a scene about wild horses and a barn and a terrified cat in the movie Ghost? Did last night really happen??

10 comments:

  1. I think wind is the scariest weather for horses to deal with. Glad you got everyone calmed down for the night.

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  2. I'm with you on that one--I think it's the absolute worst.

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  3. I was beginning to really feel sorry for BG, with what Cowgirl is putting her through. I'm glad they were at ease today. Maybe the wind just spooked them, putting Cowgirl on edge last night?

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  4. Joanne--I'm guessing it was BG who was most frightened and got the others worked up because, usually, the older horses in the herd aren't much bothered by the wind when there are two fresh roundbales sitting out. In fact, those five have been out there in windy hailstorms where they've just stood together and made a barrier and braved it. So, my best guess is that BG was scared and trying to run around and be near them for comfort and disrespected the boundaries they'd laid out. It's my fault, I should have locked her up since she's still adjusting out there. :( Thank goodness, they're all safe and sound today.

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  5. The wind can get crazy around here too. We can get 80 and 90 MPH winds, so we have strict building codes.

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  6. Pretty awful wind. I drove home from Ellenburg in it. Drove out of it at Moses Lake but know it was coming this way. Nasty.

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  7. We had a wicked windstorm on this side of the mountains as well on Saturday night. My horses seemed to be fine but poor Delilah was a wreck. She didn't like all the noise as stuff clunked around outside.

    Do you suppose the Beautiful isn't used to being stalled in the wind? If that were the case she would probably feel trapped and it will take her a while to learn to be safe there.

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  8. I would think that except she has been stalled during windstorms before, but on the other side of the barn with the pony. I think he issue was more herd related. It's been a week now and things have changed drastically out there, but she's still not 100 percent with them yet. When I worked with her yesterday, she was a DOLL--so happy to be loved on by me. So, I'm thinking this good cop, bad cop routine with Cowgirl and me is definitely working to my advantage. I'm going to tie her to her new tie post tomorrow and see if there's a difference there, too. I can't wait!

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  9. Linda, I hate high winds these days! I developed this weird phobia after we had an ice/wind storm back in February'09. We live out in forested hill country. So, when the trees were falling and branches breaking that night, it sounded like what a war zone must sound like. Oh, and our power was out. I ran, well, slipped and slid because of the ice, with spotlight in hand,out to the horses at 3am. They were both in their run-in, wide eyed and obviously nervous. I gave them hay to help calm them.I didn't have anything to calm myself though.Used the spotlight to make sure nothing had fallen on the fence line. Next morning we had a huge wild cherry tree(Yikes again!) over the back fence,a tree down over the front driveway fence and a tree fell just missing our house! It was one wild time! Sine then, every time we get high winds I feel my anxiety grow.No one was hurt. We had a lot of work to do after that storm, but '09 was a very windy year. We fixed fences a number of times that year. Yes, I have high anxiety when I hear the wind come blowing through our valley!

    Interesting the mares were excited but the geldings munched away. That's what I was thinking,Beautiful became excited, the others wanted her to settle down but she isn't quite used to things yet. She'll figure it out.

    Love looking at your pictures!

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  10. Leslie, that sounds like a horrible, horrible, horrible night! If that happened to me, I'd be phobic (more phobic) of winds, too. Wind is so hard to predict because it's the gusts that can do the most damage. My husband and I always seem to choose the windiest areas to buy homes in. They're always somewhat near the airport, which you'd think, would have given us some clues. ;)

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.