On Tuesday, our neighbobr stopped by to ask if he could used our recently cut hayfield to work his new team of Haflingers, a small draft horse breed. We had no problem with that, and shortly thereafter we saw them in the field. The ponies seemed to be working well pulling a small two wheeled cart, and after watching for a minute or two, Dan and I went back to our evening chores. I was harvesting salad greens in the garden about an hour later when I heard our neighbor commanding his horses to "whoa" loudly and repeatedly. He was standing beside the wagon, and soon the horses got so upset that they took off running at full speed, luckily leaving him behind in the field. They started running toward the road, and the wagon began to bounce high in the air behind them, and I could hear the sound of equipment breaking from a long way off. The field ends and there is a 4 ft drop to the road, so the ponies swerved and started heading toward our barn. When they came to the large wooden pasture gate they tore through our cornfield and back up into the field where they started. At this point I ran to get Dan and we took the truck up to that part of the field to see how we could help. Our neighbor is older and our first concern was that he wasn't hurt. At first we though the ponies had run back to their barn, but as we rounded the bend in the road, we saw them at the far side of the field, against the fence where they had gotten stuck. We parked the truck and began walking to avoid scaring the ponies, and let our neighbor walk up to them. Then Dan helped to unhook them and drove them back to the barn while our neighbor caught his breath. One of the ponies has a cut on his back leg but they were otherwise unhurt. After returning the ponies, we took the truck around the fields and collected the pieces of the wagon and surveyed the damage to the corn field. Luckily, they made only one pass through and stayed to the perimeter, as the corn in thoer path was destroyed. We were also thankful that they didn't run through any of the fences. We returned the wagon pieces and tried to piece together what happened. The ponies were 3 and 4 years old andhad only been hitched to a wagon twice before. They could have gotten spooked by something no one else noticed, maybe they were just fed up after an hour of work, or possibly something on the cart broke before they ran away. All I know is that it really makes you aware of how dangerous a large animal can be and that even with a trusted team like our Belgians, one must always be aware of what is going on at all tiles to avoid being seriously hurt.
Hope, our Boer/Saanen cross female, had twins last night, bringing our total to 11kid goats born this month! We have had some torrential rain this week, and although Dan found them safe and sound in the barn last nigh as he was shutting in chickens, I haven't seen the babies yet. The rain looks to be letting up so I am headed out there now. The other babies are doing wonderfully, I truly think there is nothing cuter in the world than to see them playing and running about in the barnyard!