Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry ...



-- Robert Burns, Scottish poet (1759-1796)

So true, as my blogging plans definitely went awry, thanks to an earthquake and then a hurricane. But I will be on schedule again soon and cannot wait to share some fascinating stories with you. 

So how do horses fare in crazy weather, anyway?

Wild horses handle the weather much better than we do. We humans seek out multiple sources of information about what to do, how to prepare, where the weather is coming from, where to go, etc. Their instinct is to simply experience the weather in the moment, find higher or lower ground (depending on the conditions), huddle up and endure the weather together with a sort of zen-like, collective consciousness. 

Horses, like other animals, have a sixth sense meaning they are much more tuned into their environment than we are—they feel the barometric pressure will drop before a storm or sense an earthly tremor moments before we notice the walls shake. You’ve probably witnessed interesting pre-weather event behavior with your own pets.

If you follow me on Twitter (and, hope you do: @midlifehorse), I’ve tweeted lately about my visit with the herd of wild horses in Corolla, NC, the northernmost part of the infamous Outer Banks, and the organization that looks after them. Post-hurricane, I’ve learned that they have fared the storm well, as they have for centuries. A similar herd South of Cape Lookout, the Shackleford herd, is OK, post-Irene as well.

Ditto for the Chincoteague, VA ponies, who were allowed to leave their protected refuge to seek higher ground, in keeping with their instincts. I have not heard about the ponies on the Northern end of Assateague, but since they are the same stock, they probably did just fine as Irene spared that part of the shoreline. And, there are volunteers and resources at both locations to look after them.

I have also learned that the folks at Equine Adventures, in Frisco, NC (south of Hatteras lighthouse), bravely rode out the storm with their herd of 20 trail horses. I hear that the horses are acting as if nothing happened. This part of the Outer Banks took a beating—the storm washed out several sections of road connecting them to the mainland, and they are still without power. Recovery there will take a long time! The owner has launched a blog recently—no doubt she will have some amazing stories to share about the storm.