Who needs a guard dog when you can use a horse instead? 15 hands and 33 years old, he’s definitely not your average guard animal. He is pretty scary to the UPS man when he comes trotting at him looking for grain.
But we don’t usually have horses wandering around our yard. After we built electric fence last week, our horses were limited to eating off the round bale. Being so old, the other three horses aren’t very good at sharing the hay with Barney, and he isn’t very good at eating it when he gets some. So until the grass gets a little longer, Barney is stuck being our guard dog munching on the front yard (he goes back with the other horses at night though).
Barney has been a part of our family for almost ten years. Back then, I was one of those horse crazy kids that had to have a horse NOW. By chance, a guy at my dad’s work was headed to Alaska for six months and needed a temporary home for his horse and mule. So I got a horse for me and a mule for my riding buddy (or whoever I could con into riding with me). But at the end of the six months my nine year old world ended, and Barney and Ruby (the mule) had to go home. Six months later they came back as their owner headed to back Alaska and they haven’t left since (probably cause they didn’t have the heart to take them away from me again).
Barney wasn’t just my first horse. He basically taught me to ride. Granted, I had been taking horse lessons at B and B Farms for a year or two but that was riding in an arena. Barney taught me the ins and outs of owning your own horse. But most of all, Barney helped me find my passion- barrel racing. As my first barrel horse, he won my first rodeo and put up with me as I learned the ropes.
But just like every good guard animal Barney is getting old, really old. And it’s coming to that time in an animal’s life where the owner has to make a hard decision. For now, Barney is perfectly content munching on the yard, but when winter rolls around again, it may be a different story. How am I supposed to make that tough decision?