That’s Not A Horse, That’s A Mountain Goat!

Every once in a while the union of two horses produces an individual often thought extinct in the animal kingdom; ‘Got-too-much-time-on-my-hooves-let-me-see-if-I-can-commit-suicide’ horse.

I do own a horse who will go into buildings and climb ramps and stairs.  He even figured out that he needed to turn the doorknob to get into the arena lounge (after climbing onto the wheelchair ramp).  Fortunately, the doorknob was crushed between his teeth before he could get it turned all the way. 

But one of the scariest (for me) things any of my horses have done was a yearling filly (the one that grew into the elephant in the ‘Assessing Youngsters’ article) took a walk across the pond her second winter.  I happened to look out my office window and there she was standing in the middle of the frozen pond (it’s a big pond fed by artisan springs, but not especially deep). 

She was just standing there, looking around – then ‘relieved herself’.  It was snowing lightly and the ground was covered by an inch of snow.  Steam poured off her fresh poo.  Such a serene scene, almost postcard worthy.  Then she took a step and broke through the ice.  I thought, ‘Oh no!’ and started to panic, already thinking in my head what I needed to gather to save her; halter, lead rope, blankets, why the hell don’t I own fisherman waders?!

Before I could even move away from the window she took another step, then another, then another, busting through the ice with each step.  I swear I saw her smile.  I watched, with my chin on the floor, as she took her time and a VERY circuitous route – double-backing a few times – to the edge of the pond and solid ground.  Then she whipped her head around a bit and cantered back to the barn and her herd mates like nothing had happened.

What’s the silliest, craziest or scariest thing you’ve witnessed a horse do?


30 thoughts on “That’s Not A Horse, That’s A Mountain Goat!

  1. I call my Belgian/QH X part mountain goat. In the winter we tend to get lots of snow, so when we do get a load of snow and the horses start having trouble moving around we bring in the loader and plow the paddock leaving a giant pile. My 3 yr old daughter likes to climb it and one day my horse decided he was climbing up as well. After that he frequently would climb up, close his eyes, rest his leg and have a nap.
    Also a neighbor posted a video of one of their pony’s who climbed the stairs into the hay loft and how they had to walk him back down the stairs. Silly horses

  2. Years back my friend’s Arab (sorry folks, but it was!) was turned out and decided he wanted back into the barn. He jumped through the open top of the dutch doors which also had a 1′ drop into the barn. It had to be a 4′ square hole 4′ off the ground, dropping to 5′ inside the barn. Not a scratch on him.

  3. I used to ride at a barn that had a large, hilly pasture that doubled as an area to school cross country. Someone had a fall and an ambulance was summoned. The ambulance drove into the pasture but could not drive all the way to the fallen rider so the medics parked and walked the rest of the way, leaving the ambulance unattended. The horses turned out in the pasture came over to check out this thing parked in their pasture. They nosed open the back and then had a field day with the contents of the ambulance. Medical supplies ended up strewn all over the pasture. The medics were mad! Luckily they didn’t need any of those supplies for the injured rider (broken leg but otherwise ok ) and the horses didn’t eat any drugs or hurt themselves on any needles or anything like that.

  4. I never saw it happen, but I saw the results of Danny the Windshield Smasher’s work on a pickup truck, crushed the windshield, flatten the cab roof. But he had just cause. Danny likes attention, I got him some sleigh bells on a leather strip and hooked a rope to them, he would ring for attention.

    Fire slipped while free in the arena one time, got his back feet stuck in first and second rungs of the fence. Thought about it a minute, scooted his butt back across the ground and slipped his feet out.

    Scariest thing, was a not so bright farrier deciding to cauterize a crack to stop it from going up the hoof on a mare of a boarder at the barn I also boarded at, went too deep and horse caught him in the head with a foot, fell under the horse and was batted back and forth like a beach ball between front and back hoofs.

    My mare Cheddar was tied at a hitching rail with this same mare one time, mare spooked, pulled back, large cross post came off, mare keeps pulling back, bouncing the post along the ground, Cheddar stood quietly til the post got close, then she would take one big step back, other mare still jumping and spooking, and but Cheddar stood still unless the post got close to her. Cheddar has been pretty unflappable. Taught me not to use hitching rails around other horses and not use them at all if possible. High vertical posts, ropes above wither height and not rails or overhead lines are much better.

    Rascal can pull the treat bag out of the canvas carry all, set it down on the bench at the front of the barn, and take out one treat at a time. Horses’ lips are incredible.

  5. A few years ago (almost three), the barn I work at had two fillies. Both babies were still to young to leave their muthers, so they got turned out with them. One day, we were bringing in the horses. One baby, Ginny, and the mare were out in the second paddock, and the other baby, Zoe, with her dam were in the first paddock. Ginny did not want to come inside. At all. We opened up the gate and put a lead on the mare, and Ginny started running around. Then, the scary part, Ginny ran towards the fence -the electric fence- stopped, and crawled through it. Right into the first paddock, where Zoe and the other mare were. Ginny just stopped running and started eating, no one got hurt, but it was one of the most stressful situations I have had to watch unfold. At least someone had turned off the fence and had forgotten to turn it back on..

  6. There was a yearling filly at one of my yards who went through the barn roof – similar layout to the above story in that the barn was almost built into the hill, said filly got out and climbed onto the roof which gave way. She was incredibly lucky and survived because she fell onto a big pile of old, half rotted carpets that were in the corner. She escaped with a few scraps.

  7. I had an appaloosa gelding that needed a job. I donated him to the Washington DC US Park Police (He was in the last Presidential innaugral (sp?) parade) that for a while was used on the Mall. He now patrols at Great Falls Park. While he was still at the Mall, he figured out how to unlatch his stall door. I was told that before they figured out he was letting himself out, he not only let himself out, but one of his friends. They were found grazing next to the reflecting pool. They then put additional locks on his stall to keep him in.

  8. My best friend used to have this 28 year old welsh pony cross, about 13.2hh, smart as a tack. Could open gates, feed bins, whatever. The back part of the paddock was fenced off with star pickets and hot tape cause of rabbit holes. One day we went out and found pony on the other side of the fence. No idea, to this day, how he managed it.

    And my horse once managed to get his rug off, entirely in one piece, without having undone a single buckle or strap. Leg straps, chest straps and belly surcingles were all still done up. My horse is a contortionist!

    • Your horse did not do that! It’s not possible for them to remove a blanket without ripping it to shreds. This IS a FACT!!!!! What probably happened is that someone took it off and redid all the staps and buckles. 🙂

        • I have actually seen this done! Somehow, a bendy pony had managed to get his feet out of leg straps, I suspect he was scratching his belly. It was a really, really windy day, and while grazing, the wind caught the back of the blanket and flipped it right over his head. Glutton-y pony didn’t spook at all, just kept his head down and kept eating. When the blanket finally stopped flapping, it was puddled around his front feet. The pony just stepped out of it like – no big deal, whatever – and went to go roll in the mud. The whole thing took about ten minutes, and pretty much everyone in the barn had gathered around in disbelief.

  9. My Arab is a Houdini when it comes to gates and latches. Everything has to a string of electric in front of it. A carabineer takes him 5 seconds tops, he absolutely loves to undo anything of the sort. You can see the pleasure of the challenge all over his face as he undoes things. And don’t even try to put a flymask on anyone that’s within his reach. The sound of velcro is his second favorite thing! He’s pretty much been a terror since the day he was born that way. We had a tarp in his paddock for desensitizing him as a baby. He’d pick it up and chase his mother with it. Just a terror.

        • Great idea…two do all the work and then everyone else shows up to the party! Your ‘yellow’ horse is an interesting color, I see a striped hoof, is he an Appy? Odd to see black legs and a flaxen mane!

          • I highly recommend everyone with curious/mouthy/interactive horses try one; the horses and the human spectators love them. Your local syringe thief may be a candidate.

            Good eye on the hoof striping; she’s App/Spanish Mustang. She was born looking dun with white tail and mixed black, orange, and white mane; mane went all white over the years as she snowflaked. Even Sponenberg had never seen the combination, but weird appy effect (that would be my highly technical term, not his) is the best guess. Cream may or may not be present – I’m not quite curious enough to pay for testing. I usually just refer to her as “orange” for simplicity. May have to zoom in to see, but check out what the snowflakes have done to her dorsal stripe: (that gallery also has pics from some of the other piñata days if anyone wants ideas; 2013 will be in a couple weeks!)

          • Strange coloring! She’s obviously a dun, knee striping is very visible as is her now white dorsal. I’ve never seen a horse with modified dun factor, though I know nothing about App coat colors like snowflake. I was on a color kick years back but once the color breeds entered the picture, I threw in the towel. I wouldn’t be able to stand it…I’d have to test her! Very unusual mare, any pics of her clipped and bathed in the summer? Looks like the got the best of both parents, nice cross.

          • (Actually a reply to the below; must be too nested for the system to offer a reply link down there)

            Thanks! In general App/Colonial Spanish seem to cross quite well, which makes sense given where Apps came from. There’re some nice App/PRE crosses out of her dam and her dam’s half-sister (the grullo’s grandmother) as well.

            Unfortunately all my illustrative color pics and most of my photos in general are on a currently dead computer, with backup not compatible with the mac I’m using at the moment. Eventually I’ll resurrect things. Her summer spots at least are visible in this one:
            I’ve been out of following color genetics for awhile too, but if the notation hasn’t changed, she’s E_ Aa Dd and possibly a Ccr in there. Plus snowflake app; I won’t try to remember that notation. She’d still be mine if she were solid brown, but it does make her easy for people to recognize!

  10. This spring after administering shots, I inadvertently left a capped syringe on a large tote that holds blankets in the aisle. OTTB, being a curious girl, grabbed it on her way by. She had the entire thing in her mouth, molar deep! I had half my arm half down her throat in a heartbeat and pulled it out, still capped thankfully while her mom held her still. I still shudder to think what could’ve come of that. BAD BAD BAD. There are no words.

  11. We’ve had door openers, a horse that would roll a barrel back and forth across the ring with his nose.
    My Paint mare used to get picked on as a yearling, so she’d just jump the 4 ft wire fence and eat grass in piece on the other side (will not jump anything as and adult lol)… or if in the pasture with the stone fence, she’d climb on to it at one lower spot… walk about 20 feet along it – and hop down into the neighbours field at the low spot on that side, if you called her she’d reverse the process. Luckily she’s the easiest horse in the world to catch when loose… shake the treat bag and your only worry is if she’ll stop or run you over….. she is still bad for washing her feet in the water troughs… so we switched to an auto bowl waterer…. that girl is a special one – and the best trail horse you’ll find.

    • This reminded me. My Lip mare used to stand in her rubber feed tub feeder that was hung with eyehooks and snaps. I came in one day and she had both front feet in it and she was peeking over the stall wall at her neighbor.

      Of course, this is the same mare that had holes in the plywood on the back wall of her stall about 10 feet up…couldn’t figure out how they got there until the day I caught her practicing caprioles in her stall.

      Levade = feet in feed tub
      Capriole = holes in stall wall

      Let that be a lesson to all who aspire to do Airs with their horses.

      • The summer my gelding first moved up here he gave himself sore abs from all his time spent on two feet picking apples. (Sorry the embedding above was so big; will just link for apple picking: When the orange mare was first in a stall and heard something in arena behind, she opted for a multi-second levade to see what was going on – much cleaner than the apple-picking rear stuff. No caprioles from anyone, thank goodness.

        Scariest thing seen doesn’t compare to some of the others but with some lasting effects. Human induced – a farrier taking extreme measures tied up the hind leg of a horse tied to stout post to work on a front. Horse took extreme measures in response, broke the rope, and ran a pretty good distance three legged, hind still firmly tied up. Not surprisingly, the horse’s trust issues were not resolved by that incident.

        Funny how the roof video has only the teeniest two clips showing the roof access point. Hopefully they manage some more robust fencing.

      • I was having a hard time thinking of just one zany thing that my old horse has done, there are so many, but when he was a little younger he would sometimes capriole out in his corral. One day I was leading him on a road, and some guy rode past us on a horse that my guy took exception too, so out of anger he did a capriole in hand. The look on that other guys face was priceless!

  12. I had this really crazy pony/appendix cross mare. We bought her mom at the auction and got her as a *bonus*. She was really quirky but one thing she loved to do was stand on things. We ha a cow barn and me an my friends always tied our horses in it to brush them and hang out with them in the winter. But I quickly learned i couldn’t with her because she would step up into the manger.

    She also liked to stand on this wooden bench table that was in her pen. He would hop up on it an sleep there.

    I had a Gelding who to this day loves hay round bales. I was riding past one the first time he reacted to them and he moved over to scrape up against it. I kicked him away but instead of moving his legs buckled and i had to leap off. He will rub all over them and collapse against them. If the string are off he will jump right into the middle of one.

  13. When I was a kid we used to graze polo ponies in with our pet sheep. One spring day we found a dead lamb floating in the horse trough, then another the next day. We couldn’t work out how they were getting in there to start with, until we witnessed one of the older geldings chase a lamb across the paddock, pick it up by the scruff of it’s neck in his teeth and dump it in the trough. Never would have believed it if we hadn’t seen it. Needless to say, he was moved away from the sheep (he also chased the vets dog and a full grown sheep into the front of the vets car once, but that’s another story).

  14. I had to have the vet pull porcupine quills out of my geldings nose. He was/is very territorial of his pasture and I a sure he was trying to push the porcupine out of his territory

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