“Horses are out.”
Seems that’s frequently heard on the telephone, from the back porch, a kitchen window watcher and worst of all in the middle of the night when the front doorbell rings. Chills run down our back as a dash is made to figure how to get the round-up completed before horse, human or something else gets hurt. While it’s usually ours, it isn’t always.
First time we remember one of those middle-of-the-night calls came from the town marshal saying there were horses loose on the Main Street Bridge. Soon, five head were leisurely enjoying tender city lawn at the Madonna Of The Trail Park. The cop’s big flashlight blinded them for easy capture and return to their pen, where the gate was open.
Another time, the same herd went south of town and was trapped in a triangle acre pen, but was too ornery to catch. That was when Dad had to rope the ringleader with his only hand, while the rest of us missed our throws.
When we moved to our major highway ranch location, horses on the loose became more of a scare. There have been horses out many times, but the first tragedy came when we stupidly left the arena gate open as we went in with a tractor and disc, thinking they would stay in the corner. Within seconds, the pair was out the gate and onto the highway.
The first made it across, but the second came in direct path of a car and was killed instantly. Thankfully, the driver was unharmed, but his car was demolished. Another time, that night doorbell again announced a horse was out, was hit on the highway, and had to be destroyed. This one had rubbed a gate open. Driver was fine, but auto totaled.
One morning before light, a neighbor’s herd of seven horses was standing in the highway, and we ran into them going full speed ahead. One went right over the car and ended up dead behind us. That car was a goner, but we weren’t hurt, other than our teeth chattering and hands shaking so bad they wouldn’t stop for hours, it seemed.
Not a month goes by that a horse doesn’t get loose at our place, one way or another. We have felt fortunate though that the last three calls about “horses out” haven’t been ours. No accidents occurred in those cases, and we were glad to assist with the catches.
Just hours before press time, a new arrival, tempting to jump his stall entry, tore it to pieces and also went onto the highway. Dozens of vehicles had to slow down in caution, and no less than nine people assisted in capture efforts, which took close to an hour. Again, mercifully nobody or anything was hurt, other than the barn gate.
Horses on the prowl are like some people as reminded in Jeremiah 5:23: “Uncontrollable, untameable runaways. It never occurs to them to say, ‘How can we honor our God with our lives?'”
Closed gates typically prevent problems. Yet, there is a time we must all pray the gate is open as Jesus promised in Revelation 1:17: “Don’t fear: I am First, I am Last, I’m Alive. I died, but I came to life, and my life is now forever. See these keys in my hand? They open and lock Death’s doors; they open and lock Hell’s gates.”