Jazz went out with the other 4 horses on Sunday afternoon. We let Java out with her first because he was least likely to bother Jazz. The entire time Java was out there, Cali was screaming in the stall and lunging at the door with her ears back and teeth bared. (She was very jealous of her man talking to a younger woman.) Java looked from Cali to Jazz to us, pondered, and walked to us rather than upset his mare.
Next, we let Bo out and he really wanted to be friends with Jazz. She is much more his size than anyone else and you could tell that he desperately wanted to say "hi." She took it in stride and firmly established that he was not to push her around.
Capone was the next one to meet Jazz. He tried to bully her but she firmly said "I don't think so!" and threatened to kick him if he pushed her around.
Cali doing her "Pretty Warmblood" face
Finally, we got ready to let Cali out. All the humans went to the safety of the stalls to stay out of the horses' way. We expected lots of screaming, kicking and biting between the mares. Cali burst out of the stall and ran straight to Java. She herded Java away from the new mare and refused to let him get anywhere near her. She didn't even say anything to Jazz, didn't sniff her, didn't go anywhere near her except to drive Java away. He looks very resigned to the whole thing.
Java and CaponeAnyway, yesterday was when the real fun began. Everyone was going to go out to ride which has never happened before with all of our busy schedules. But it was like the perfect storm with everyone getting out of class or off of work at 5. So everyone was planning to be out at the barn at 5:30 and ready to ride by 6. As I was driving to the barn, I got a call from Diana and she said "The horses are gone." It turns out that someone (probably Jazz) ran through the fence in the back, breaking the wire, and let all 5 horses out.
By the time I got to the barn, Diana had heard from her husband that 4 horses had been found a few miles away, trotting down the center of the very busy and hilly road. A passerby was able to (somehow) corral them in a paddock of a run-down barn. Then he started calling horse people in the area. Someone knew that we had 2 greys and 2 bays so he drove to the barn and said where he had put them. All of us were thinking "But we really need that number to be 2 greys and 3 bays." Everyone was worried that the missing horse was going to be the new girl.
Diana's husband and father hitched up my trailer and drove over to the place where the 4 were captured. Greta had luckily gotten to the barn at that point and went with them. She definitely stopped them from trying to capture a horse statue and put it in the trailer :) They put Cali and Capone in the trailer and took them back to our barn.
At this point, I've gotten to the barn and Diana and I are getting all of our saddles and bridles for Bo and Java. We still had to find Jazz so one of our only options is to ride back to the barn the way they might have come. We were definitely blazing our own trails. In two areas we had to ride over fallen wire fences because that was the only way to get home. I'm so glad that neither gelding was stupid while doing that. It could have been a real mess. In another spot we had to go through a creek that had a 2-3 foot drop down into water with a steep (and narrow) deer trail leading to the stream. Bo definitely said "no" to that idea so Java went first. We were headed in the direction of home so there was no stopping Java! He blazed down the incline and ran up the other steep side, luckily avoiding all of the holes along the way. Bo followed right after him because he definitely did not want to get left behind!
While we were riding back and calling for Jazz, Diana's husband and Jazz's owner took a truck and went driving through a neighbor's field to see if they could see Jazz. Greta was saddling up Capone, getting ready to ride toward us to see if she would meet Jazz along the way. Diana's father took off on foot to follow the horse tracks. The people in the car spotted Jazz in the distance in the field behind the barn property. We think that she heard us calling her and started for the voices. They called Greta and she went out there. Jazz wouldn't come to a human on foot but she would follow Capone. Greta was able to get her back through the fence though the mare broke through the fence again in another spot. Once again, we were very lucky that no legs got cut up.
Diana and I were 2 fields away but we were able to see Jazz and Capone so we knew that everyone was safe. When we got back to the barn, everyone realized that Diana's father was still out looking for the mare and that he didn't have a cell phone (he doesn't like them so he never carries one). So Diana, Greta and I rode back out to try to find him. We rode directly to the top of the hill of the field behind the property and were able to see him. So finally we got everyone back to the barn.
None of the horses had a mark on them even after all of their excitement! We were just so lucky!
We kept riding around the arena to cool out our horses and so that Jazz's owner, Carol, would have time to saddle her up. Jazz was not pleased about this idea and started to act up a little bit. I got on her and, after a mini battle, we finally started to go around without popping up or giving little jumps. After a much longer period of time, we put Carol back on Jazz and they had a mini lesson.
Oh, I forgot to mention in all of this excitement that I had locked my keys in my car. Of course, my cell phone was in the car so luckily I was always around someone who had their phone still on them. Greta had to drive me home to pick up the extra set of keys and then back out to the barn. It was definitely a long and eventful day!
When I went out to the barn this morning to take pictures, everyone was thankfully still in the paddock where we had put them! Java is still looking browbeaten with Cali telling him where to go. Bo has definitely taken to Jazz and will stand up to Capone for her. If Capone trys to push her around, Bo will get between them with his ears pinned and head snaking. He is in love :)