I went for an early morning walk to the back of the property — something I haven’t done enough of this summer. (My excuses being the plethora of pokey grass seeds that get stuck in my socks and tennis shoes … and plain ol’ laziness.) As I got near the far end, where the road peters out to a two-lane trail cutting diagonally over the pasture to the corner gate, the sun was just touching the tips of the hillside rising behind the horses who were clumped together near the fence line.

As I clipped along the trail (OK, walked as briskly as I could, being a little stoved up from a stiff back, whatever), Charlie, my paint pony-horse, broke from the herd and walked toward the trail ahead of me, not at me. I watched her odd behavior, trying to decide if she was “running away” from me thinking I might be up to mischief (aka, work-the-horse-type activities). But she isn’t normally sly like that — smart and clever, but not sly — and she just seemed like she was really interested in me. Just not walking toward me. It really seemed like she was trying to meet me on the trail, intercept me actually.

Charlie, aka, Chuckles

Could it be that she really is that clever, I wondered … so I stopped. And she stopped. And she stood there staring at me, then took a step toward me. So I started down the trail again, and she shifted her direction … to meet me.

At this point, I was content to let this play out, and as I sort of broadened my focus and we got closer to each other, I realized Charlie was dragging something through the grass. Her stride was too even for the something to be attached to a foot or leg, and she wasn’t panicked at all, so we just kept walking until we met up … exactly where she thought we would.

She had the end 6 inches of a 5-foot length of old (read: antique) barbed wire tangled in her long tail. It must’ve fallen out of an old vehicle or piece of farm equipment that had been drug out of there last winter to be crushed. The wire had lain in the tall grass until Charlie swept it up in her wake.

I dug a pellet treat out of my coat pocket and gave it to her for entertainment while I started untangling the wire. About halfway through the project the other two horses showed up to offer their special brand of assistance by crowding Charlie and making her shift around nervously, so I bent the wire back and forth to break it (not hard to do with this old stuff), then folded the long length into a mangled bundle and stuffed it into my coat pocket. (Rule No. 1 of a good chore coat: big pockets). This way, if she did have to trot off to save herself from the two yahoos, she was safe from further entanglement.

In no time, I had the short chunk removed and the twists basically worked out of her tail hairs. She got some good pets and another treat (though by this time I had remembered that they had been in my pocket since the spring so I questioned their treatfullness, but she seemed to feel special for getting them, so we were good).

I told John the story when I got back to the house. I didn’t even hint that I thought she was deliberately trying to intercept me, only saying, basically that she walked over to where we met up on the trail and I found the wire. He went straight to the conclusion that Charlie was deliberately finding me so I could save her from her predicament.

I’m going with that premise.

We have clever ponies at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com