We all have that doorway that gives us the excitement jitters…
For some, it is gates into Disneyland, or to a Broadway Show, or the entrance to a new job or the threshold of a turning point in one’s life… you know what I mean.
We all have that special trigger lets lets loose the flock of butterflies in our stomachs.
For Finn, BG and Wrigley, it is the Hallelujah Gate.
THE HALLELUJAH GATE
The genesis of the Hallelujah Gate was quite simple.
One day, three years ago, my neighbor was fighting with his 10 acres of tall grass. He happened to look over the fenceline and saw my three horses looking back at him. He also noticed that my horses were standing on short grass – or no grass at all. A lightbulb went off.
He called me and asked – if he put a gate into our mutual fenceline, would I send my horses over?
Well, before he could finish his thought, I was already running towards his house to pick him up and squeeze him.
YES!!! The thought of my horses being able to graze down his 10 acres of natural grasses just about left me breathless.
So, in about a day, my neighbor had created the Hallelujah Gate.
Finn and BG were alone in the opposite pasture at that time. They supervised the construction of the gate and were quite interested in whatever this human was doing to their fenceline. It hadn’t occurred to them that they would be able to go through the gate to the grasses beyond. Not yet…
THE FIRST DAY
As you all know – if you have ever let a horse into a new safe area – they will put on a show with their HALLELUJAH Dance.
Each of them will do their own variation. Generally, it starts with a snakey neck jig followed by a stiff legged hop, then a twisted buck, a rear, a head shake, a whinny, a squeal, a fake bite, pinny ears, a blow, a spring upwards on all fours, a sneeze and a number of variations in between.
The day I opened the Hallelujah Gate, they flew through like a hurricane and continued for about 1o seconds before they put their heads down and got to the serious business of heavy grazing.
ALL SUMMER WAS BLISSFUL
They ate all summer into Fall.
Neighbor and I set up a system where the horses went over on the even days of the month. Finn and BG understood to the routine. When they saw me walking through the arena towards their pasture, they’d get ready. Both of them would dance and buck as they fell into line behind me. (I have no idea why they thought they had to follow me – but they did.) Finn first, then BG who kept popping her head out to the side to see how far we had left to go.
I was like a Pied Piper of tightly wound horse power.
The whole summer of grazing was a beautiful thing…
LAST YEAR – NOT SO MUCH
Last year, my neighbor was very excited for his horsey lawn mowers to do their thing once again.
He said, “Bring over as many horses as you want! There is too much grass!”
Me, being stoopid and not thinking it through, decided to send over Finn, BG and the two who were sharing their pasture at that time, Violet Beauregard and Wrigley.
VB and Wrigley the two horses that constantly got themselves into mishaps like the Perils of Pauline. These were the two that I found in my hay loft on top of 40 bales of not-evenly-stacked hay. These are the two horses that were trapped in my tiny feed room in this post.
These are the two that should have never been let through the Hallelujah gate.
VIOLET BEAUREGARD AND WRIGLEY
The first hour of the first day that I sent them over seemed to be OK. But then I got the call…
Neighbor: “Ahhhh, help! Come get the horses!! They are running on my porch, one has been in the pond, they’ve spun the hammock so many times it broke and they’ve turned over every single chair on the patio!!”
Needless to say, all of the horses were banned from that day forward.
I felt horribly for Finn and BG because they had been so polite and would have never done any of the unmannerly antics of the younger two. VB was notorious and I should have known better than to send her over, with her unwitting foil, to ruin it all for everyone. I was very sad and embarrassed.
I took away the hose and water bucket and the Hallelujah Gates to Heaven were closed forever.
Finn and BG pouted by that gate, every other day, for months…
YESTERDAY, MY NEIGHBOR CALLED!
I guess the tall grass got to him and he offered to re-open the Hallelujah Gate!
I rapidly spilled out the words that VB was living in Montana and that I would only send over polite horses. I was so excited, I could barely contain myself!
RE-OPENING OF THE GATES!
Yesterday was the day… I gathered my Hallelujah hose and trough. Finn and BG watched me in questioning amazement.
Finn: (prancing around me) “Are you doing what I think you are doing?”
Me: Uh huh.
Finn: (an explosion of exitement behind me) “Wahoo!!”
They both followed in behind me exactly as they had always done. They both stood carefully away from the gate as I fumbled with the now rusted chain. And when Wrigley arrived, I decided he could go too.
I opened the famed gate and they burst through.
THE REST OF THE HORSES
Gwen, my little Einstein, figured out that the Hallelujah Gates had been re-opened and immediately went into her routine.
Gwen: “If you let them graze out there, then I get to graze on the front lawn.”
Me: (for some reason, this made sense to me…) Ummm, I’ll think about it.
Gwen: “I’m going to pace here like a maniac until you open my gate because if you don’t, I’ll know that you love them more than me and I don’t know why you love them more because I’m prettier and love you the best.”
(She always uses the same guilt trip on me and it always works.)
So, I let her out to graze on the front lawn.
Of course, Mama Tess and Sam (tipped off by Gwen) were both standing at their nearest gates, too, asking to be let out. Well, I couldn’t let them out so I tossed them a flake to share.
As I passed Bodhi, he started his low loverumble suggesting that he knew the others were getting something he wasn’t… and Remi stared at me heartstruck, “How could you?!”
So, I threw them a special flake as well.
Then the ponies clamored at their gate and Norma brayed, “WHAT ABOUT US?!” Yup, they got an extra bit of lunch hay as well.
Everyone loves the Hallelujah Gate…
When it was time for the Hallelujah horses to come back home, I wondered if they would remember the routine. Would I have to round them up over the 10 acres or would they be standing there, ready to come back to their pasture?…
I brought my cottage cheese container of bribe pellets.
I shook it and called, “Babiiiiiiiies, Baaaaaaayyyy beeeees!”
And as I came up over the hill, there they all stood; having a drink and waiting for me in front of their beloved Hallelujah Gate.
There was no frantic call from the neighbor. There were no broken flower pots or horses swimming in their pond. All was peaceful and serene. My horses had behaved.
I let the trio back through the Gate and they calmly walked to the bribe pellets I had spread on the ground in their pasture.
I was proud of them like a Mom is proud of her kids when they go visiting and remember to use their manners.
Sigh. (relieved and smiling) My well-behaved horses will again be able to graze all Spring and Summer in my neighbor’s property. Hallelujah indeed!
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