When I got back from town, Raven was out in the west pasture down in the gully behind the pond bank, grazing. While I was using the rest room after bringing in the groceries, Raven decided to go through the half open gate and visit the ladies. He distinctly heard Sue say she'd bring her mare back July 29th or 30th, but she didn't, so he took matters into his own hooves.
Down the fence line he'd be inside other years he went at a gimpy trot, sides heaving, calling his favorite mare, Canta Libre, who, yes, just happened to be hard in heat, to him... she backs up to the 4'6" fence with the native oak board on top, he gets ready to breed, and I arrive with a halter... Which he stands there flat hooved and allows me to stick on his face while she moves off when I tell her to...
I lead him down the steepest part of the bank, which is straight across from the car. His breathing sounds terrible. He is very tired, and reluctant to take the steep bank, ginger at the ditch at the bottom, but comes along with me, taking tiny steps. I get in the BMW and stick the rope out the driver's window, which puts him in the middle of the road.
I keep his head centered in the car window, pacing him. He's walking down hill, in beat with the music on the radio. He's puffing terribly, and covered with sweat. This is NOT what he needed.
As I'm leading him past the double electric wire around the front yard at the bottom of the hill, where Coqet and Omyno are, NO suddenly JOINS US ON THE HIGHWAY. Raven wants to challenge, and I am afraid I'm going to get a leg in the face or hooves through the windshield, so I holler at him and yank, while the car heads toward the electric wire.
Okay, switch to plan B; steer, and pray the stallion will come, and the traffic won't come...
I holler at No to go find Coqet, who is NOT on the road...
I turn into the driveway with only one stud. I can't see over the tops of the weeds and trees to see where No is, almost push Raven off the edge by being in the wrong wheel trace trying to spot No, but as I go up the driveway, I see Coqet standing in the corner closest to the pasture, with Karess (also in heat) on the other side of the fence. As I pass the clear spot, NO joins her. What a relief! Gates open, but at least nothing is on the road with sunset coming.
I lock Raven in the west pasture at the top of the driveway, so he celebrates his puffing by CANTERING down the fence line. I go back and lock the front gate (NO evidently UNLOCKED the front gate to join the parade... he's good at getting out of the front yard, which is why he can't be in it generally, but Coqet won't leave, so he stays... Before, this past winter, he'd leave with the gate still closed...)
I grained Coqet and No again, mainly so he got a reward for GOING HOME... then brought Raven's grain up the hill. Now, I did all this at a walk, so why were my shirt and jeans soaked through??? It was nearly sunset, the temp wasn't that bad, but oh, talk about humidity!
I sure was ready for my second shower... I knew it was silly to take one before I went to town.