Trudy, our wonderful Saturday barn staff, recounts an interaction that she and our sweet (and brave!) little Lacey had recently:
“It’s arena turnout season… Where some of our sweetest pairs of horses get time playing together in the squishy sand footing. They get a chance to roll, frolic, and stretch out in bursts of free cantering. This is needed, because a fair handful of our grass paddocks turn into swampy puddles, lovingly termed ‘lake SAFE’ during the rainy season.
This weekend, it was Domino and Lacey’s turn. As we were walking towards the covered arena from their paddocks, a handful of geese launched up into the air from the grassy paddock ahead of us. This would frighten some horses, but Lacey barely batted an eye and didn’t miss a step. Not a spook in site. Her elderly gentleman friend behind her gained confidence from her steady reaction, and walked willingly along in her wake.
I wondered what had startled the geese, just as I saw a set of four paws trotting along the paddock road to the right. It was a juvenile coyote. They visit our property regularly, bordering the park as we do, they are usually just passing through. This young one seemed like he was thinking about turning up the road toward the barn, so we turned to head him off and encourage him to depart our property efficiently, rather than taking the long way around.
Lacey took up the challenge. When she saw the geese, it was as if Lacey had said, ‘yeah, yeah, no biggie’, but when Lacey saw the coyote, combined with my request to move towards it, she said, ‘well that fellow doesn’t live here’. In a similar manner to the look a cutting horse gets when it locks eyes with a cow, Lacey locked eyes with the coyote and said, ‘oh you little pest, this is our home, you get! get going!’ It was almost as of Lacey had laser beams shooting out of her eyes, and the whole time she had a relaxed float in the lead line and remained perfectly responsive to the human on the other end of the line (me).
The coyote heard Lacey’s message loud and clear, and he efficiently departed. A coyote is a small fraction of a horse’s body weight, and Lacey’s energy as she stared down the little fellow was intimidating. And he was alone, we were a pack…two humans and two horses, led by a brave little red mare defending her home.”