Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The night's silence was broken by the sharp, explosive WWHHOOOF! of air through horse nostrils, waking me. For a few seconds, I lay still, listening. When I heard the horses' alarm signal again, then once more, I jumped out of bed, threw the window open, and scanned the barnyard for trouble while yelling, "What's going on over there?!"
I could see the horses staring intently toward the bottom of the field. Everything else seemed normal, but Monty blew again. I went downstairs and let the dogs out to start investigating while I slipped into a snowsuit and boots. Floyd's big, booming bark rang out, but it was the sound of his "Guard Dog is Now on Duty" announcement, not the more excited bark he gives when he spots an intruder. Charlie, who only barks when he's alarmed or playing, wasn't saying anything.
It seemed that there was no problem out there, but I was dressed, so I went out anyway to look around. The full moon lit the field brightly. Monty was putting on a show, prancing out into the field with his tail up, like a war charger going to meet the enemy, but the dogs beside him were just sniffing around calmly. Bree had stopped paying attention altogether.
Probably, a predator had passed by and the horses hadn't liked it. We've had lots of wolves in the area lately and seen their tracks after they've hunted their way down the creek. There have also been lynx tracks everywhere in the past few days. However, there are also more rabbit and vole tracks than I've ever seen, so the predators should be well fed.
Echoing Floyd, I made my own announcement, calling out, "Whoever you are, just keep on moving! There's a human on guard duty here, too!" Then I stood for a few minutes enjoying the moonlight and the sharpness of the -15 degree air on my face, before calling the dogs in and going back to bed for the final hour of the night.