And no, it wasn't Steele.
I've noticed a change in Irish the past little while. Rather than being quiet and sweet he's been a bit, well, saucy.
About two weeks ago I asked him to move over in his stall and he pinned his ears at me. I asked again, more firmly and he snapped at me. Not anywhere near but still. I was surprised but there can only be one person in charge when we're both in the stall and that's me. It's a non-negotiable. I don't care what the reason would be, if I ask a horse to move over in a stall they must move. So I didn't spend anytime worrying about it I just spent the next 5 minutes moving him around his stall. Once he was nice and respectful we were done. And then I could spend some time thinking on it. I had a few hypotheses- one was that he was in pain. The other was that I had not been spending much time with him lately. So he could be pining for attention or it could be that because he's in charge of Steele he decided that our relationship was up for discussion. I decided to tackle the easiest hypothesis. I started making sure that I spent time grooming him, fussing over him and just generally hanging out.
He began to perk up. In the field I noticed him moving around and except for stiffness early in the morning he was looking pretty sound.
Which brings me to last night. Ed and I had some friends over for a couple drinks and some snacks by the fire. We went to bed a little later and all was fine. I had fed the horses a bit of extra hay so I could sleep in a little later. I woke up in the night (I later found out it was around 5 a.m.) and Ed was not in bed. I didn't think much of it and rolled over. I then heard Belle downstairs and figured he had gotten up to let her out. When he came to bed I asked what was up.
"oh nothing. Just putting your horse back in the barn"
"WHAT?" I was fully awake.
"oh don't worry. Irish broke his dutch door and Steele was having a fit. I have it rigged until I can fix it later."
"You should have woken me"
"I wasn't sure what it was. But I handled it"
The benefit of our set up is that if the horses get out the dutch door, they are just in their field. So it's not a panic situation. But still....
I dozed back to sleep but not deeply.
Around 6 I heard Steele yelling again. I opened my eyes. Yes. I did hear him.
I got out of bed.
As I headed out to the barn Steele kept calling. I came into the barn.
"morning Steele" I grumbled. He looked at me in horror-
"Irish is out. HE'S OUT and-and-and I'M IN"
"calm down I'll get him"
"CALM DOWN? YOU WANT ME TO CALM DOWN? HOW CAN I?"
I walked out Irish's door. He managed to get the two bolts off the wooden frame.
"Irish" I called.
d'Arcy ran out to the field. I figured that he was heading to him. Sure enough. There was Irish in the lower field. He raised his head and looked at me.
"oh, hi. Good morning."
"what are you doing?"
"Oh my doors opened and I was hungry so I started on the grass"
He came trotting up to me and I threw the lead line around his neck and we headed back to the barn.
I fed them, let them out and then headed into the house for some much needed coffee.
I have no idea what happened in the night. Sometimes I think I want a webcam but then I figure that it would drive me crazy.
Later this morning I rode Irish and he was pretty darn good. He did stumble a bit behind at the canter so I backed off. But what was nice about the ride is that he was keen and cooperative. We were schooling not just riding.
Everytime I headed out the barn today he was there to greet me.
It's nice to have my 'old' Irish back.