Having a larger herd (53 + 2 guests), I count noses and check everyone. When the number doesn't add up I count again and again.
Today started off badly, slept in - hate the time change - to be woken up by UC Davis here to draw blood on a horse for a preg check. We reschedule our gelding appointment until later this mont because of rain/mud.
While we're chatting they ask which boys are getting gelded, and I tell them about McLuvin the escape artist and how he's always out in the orchard. As I'm telling them, I see the little darling out in the orchard again. Fortunately he's very friendly and will come when you call. Catch him, lock him up in solitaire for the day and off to go feed the gang.
So, I'm feeding the mare herd, which is the largest group, and counting the gang like I alway do, including the stragglers still coming down the hill when I noticed Sarah (Wesco Farms Tricked Me Tina) wasn't there.
Sarah and April as a foal
April, her daughter, is here but no Sarah. They're ALWAYS together. So, I'm counting and looking again. It's not like one of the 'black mares' as everyone that knows me knows I love black horses and I can tell them apart from 1/4 mile away.but not everyone else can. It would be easy for anyone else to 'miss' one of them. Sarah, though, is a silver bay pinto with very distinct markings. So where the @#$%@ was she?
I'm waiting thinking she's going to appear, but no. Count again. Check and count again. Then the mind starts racing. Broken leg, caught in a fence, dead, WTF? Where is she at?
So, back to the house and get my daughter. I tell her Sarah's missing, she goes one way up the hills I go the long way around through the main valley, thinking she's slipped in the creek or is in the valley munching on grass. This time of year we'll randomly have group that decide for whatever reason the long hike to get fed isn't worth it, so we find them in the valley grazing.
There I am slogging though marsh grass, runoff, lots of mud, jumping puddles and creeks, while climbing out hills, slipping a sliding (or as my daughter Anya says mud skiing). The whole time my mind still racing.
She's dead, it's too wet and muddy to get a backhoe in here?
How long will it take for us to hand dig a hole?
OMG what if she's been munched on already?
At least there is no sign of vultures.
What if she's badly injured?
Where the @#%@ is she?
Up and down our hills (63 acres of up and down, with seasonal creeks) and I meet Anya at the other end. No sign of Sarah. That's good at least she's not dead or hurt, but where is she? Surely she didn't get out. No one would have stolen her specifically or if I was a thief I'd have taken more than one, right?
We're scanning everywhere, no big lump on the ground, under a tree or in the creek bed. The dogs are running around but not 'oh hey look at this'. So we start going back over the hills a different way thinking we may have missed her. My mind still wondering, and also a separate track of thinking why do people go to gyms. Fuck that this is real Stairmaster workout!
I'm really getting concerned thinking did we miss a part of the property, as our horses don't wander off my themselves. I know which ones hang out together, etc., so where can she be?
Anya has ran ahead to where the horses are still munching their morning alfalfa, while I'm checking the tree line along the road thinking maybe we missed something. Anyay waves me down as I'm having the heart attack coming down the last hill. She found her. Sarah was happily munching hay next to her daughter.
I'm glad Sarah's okay. Anya makes the remark maybe she thought we needed a good workout - thanks!
So where she was and how we missed her is still a mystery. But thankfully the missing horse today had a happy ending!