I've had more than a few horses running through my gardens over the years. It's almost as if when a horse escapes his pasture or pen, a garden draws him like a magnet.
Yesterday, neighbor Randy was at the shop visiting with Cliff when Cliff, looking past him, said, "There's a horse running down the road."
"Probably one of mine," Randy said, and ran to look. Sure enough it was. Actually, not so much Randy's horse, but his wife's. Randy, like Cliff, is a tractor man. He recently bought another old Farmall. He doesn't seem to have a great fondness for horses. Neither does Cliff, really.
Horses and cows that are customarily kept in pens and enclosures realize it the minute they are "out", and celebrate by bucking, kicking up their heels, and making sure no human gets close enough to catch them and lead them back to captivity. Horses, being fast and graceful animals, are especially hard to catch.
Randy's wife's horses are Tennessee Walkers. This one was showing off his gait in fine style. First he headed for the highway. Randy got in his pickup in order to head him off. The horse came running up our driveway and straight for my garden.
Now, there have been many times when this would have concerned me, but not this year. I've downsized my garden considerably, and there is nothing out there that's all that valuable to me. I would have been disappointed, of course, if a tomato or pepper plant had gotten stepped on, but still, it would't have been a big deal.
I didn't watch to see whether he ran through the garden or not, but after the excitement was over, Cliff informed me that the magnificent animal had run straight through the garden lengthwise, tossing chunks of mud into the air each time he lifted a foot. I'm not sure I appreciate the admiration and hilarity in Cliff's voice when he described this, as though it was a wonderful and comical sight to behold.
Imagine my surprise when I checked out the garden and found not one iota of damage!
Speaking of strawberries, I'm going to have to make my hens stay in the pen and hen house for a month or so. The horse didn't damage them, but trust me, the hens would take a huge pecked bite out of each strawberry as it turns ripe, if I allowed them their freedom during this time.