The horses have been "cooped up" in their dry lots (well, at this point, mud lots) for about a week. They each have about 1/2 to 3/4 an acre of space in their paddocks, so it's not like they are confined to an itty-bitty area. They stretch their legs and have plenty of room to move.
I haven't turned them out on the grass pastures because it's been raining and rain equals mud and horse hooves on mud equals torn up pastures and dead grass. I probably pamper my pastures more than is really necessary, but I will not turn horses out on muddy pastures. I'd like to keep them grassy and green, not big, weedy mud pits.
Anyway, the pastures were dry enough last night that I could turn them out this morning. The way Gabe acted you'd think he's been cooped up in a 10x10 stall for the past week! Sheesh! Snorting and prancing and arching his neck on the walk from his paddock to the pasture. He was bouncing along like he was spring-loaded!
They get turned out around 6 a.m. and at that time, the dew is still heavy on the grass. I'd rather wait to turn them out until after the dew dries, but if I want them to go out, that's when they have to go out, work schedules and whatnot.
After snorting and prancing and wiggling all the way to the pasture, Gabe couldn't wait to be FREE to kick up his heels. He leapt and bucked and snorted and farted around the pasture as soon as I removed his halter. He tore around the corners and did circles around Calypso who was happy to just stand and munch on the nearly knee-high grass while giving the youngster the evil eye.
Do you know what happens when you combine dew-soaked, nearly knee-deep grass with a Thoroughbred doing his impression of the Indy 500 around the pasture?
You get a horse who lands on his side when he thinks he can take that sharp turn at a pace a notch or two higher than he should. Yup. Gabe took a tumble this morning. He wasn't even flustered by it. Up he leapt right back up and continued his crazy, bucking circuit around the pasture.
My heart leapt into my throat and my stomach clenched painfully when I saw him go down. The only thing running through my head was "Oh shit, he's broken a leg. Shit." It's pretty scary to see a horse go down, especially when it's the big goofy Thoroughbred you've completely fallen head over heels in love with.
The big nut. I hoped he learned something about centrifugal force, wet grass and high speeds this morning!