The Hallelujah Gate.






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.

My neighbor’s 10 acres of tall grass and rolling hills…

CONSTRUCTION

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.

The Hallelujah Gate.

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…

Here is Finn, barely visible as he grazes in the tall grasses

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.

This is the water feature that VB decided was her personal pool… those are the tables and chairs they toppled as well as the the alley they ran through and the porch they danced upon.

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…

Here is the broken chain where the hammock used to hang before they spun it so tightly they killed it… Oh and they also rearranged the chairs behind this tree.

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.

Here is Shiva waiting for me on our side of the gate on our first day back through the Gates.

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.

This is Gwen, giving me her ‘guilt trip’ fence pacing…

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.

Here are MamaTess and Sam at their gates, staring at me…

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…

Here is Gwen grazing on the front lawn with Dex supervising on the porch

HOMECOMING

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.

Finn and BG drinking with Wrigley behind as they line-up to come home after their PlayDate.

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!

The empty bribe container and my very happy horses taking the bait

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!



5 comments have been posted...

  1. Judith Epker

    I know nothing about horses but I just love your stories. Thank you!
    I read your blog every day.

  2. Lori Savit

    Honey – I love your writing! And enjoyed this story so much. Aren’t we all looking ot have a Halleleujah! Gate in our lives – sometimes we can get really excited about and live fully! Every day I find I am more and more like the horses -they are my teachers, wise and playful and sometimes annoying friends and partners that teach me on the journey of life. Thank you for writing and sharing.

  3. Jenifer R

    No website and no blog yet but reading THIS blog sure inspires me! Anyway my own horses have what I will now forever call a “hallelujah gate” into our 8-acre field but for my older geldings it isn’t so much the grass as it is The Girl Next Door who is a lovely retired bay Morgan mare who thinks my geldings are All That and shows them with enticing whickerings and mane-tossings that she thinks they are SO handsome. I have a draft X age 10 and an Arabian Senior Citizen in his 20s and both need to have lush grazing carefully managed so going thru the HG isn’t an everyday treat and even the turnout days there are limited to mornings before the grass gets “hot” (high sugar content). The draftieX always comes when he’s called, no bribes needed, the Arab I usually threaten by advising him if he doesn’t come when he’s called he won’t get out there again…”okay now I’m counting, one, two….” and at that point up comes the head, up comes the tail and he heads for the waiting halter. I swear, he does know plain English when he hears it!

  4. evielynne sanchez

    If you want to write a little something up and include one picture I’ll throw it on my blog so we can spread the word about your VERY much needed funds…

    Today’s article was funny… Your neighbor if they read this – We love you… Now I am sorry there are just not enough people like you out there…

    I love your horses and when I die I want to come back as one of YOUR horses!

  5. Kitty Bo

    You described it all perfectly! Ah, happy horses…..I have a gate that I called the Highway to Heaven. I would let the horses out into the bottom pasture. At first when let through, they would walk stiffly, heads up, and then IT would hit, and off they’d go, just like you described. It’s hard not to get happy when horses get happy.

    My Arabian was polite about things, but the old grade ranch horse was mouthy and mischievous. I made the mistake of leaving the tractor out in their pasture, and the old guy pulled all the spark plug wires off. I had to go on the internet to find the order to put them back. I bet he enjoyed every minute of it. Happy horse…..

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