Louise and The Water Hydrant

It was a hot day for April, dry as cake flour and every bit as dusty. Temperatures pushed eighty degrees, and we hadn’t seen rain in a week. I had Jinks on the longe line, trotting a circle around me and churning up drifts of gritty sand. Louise hung out in the little walk-out paddock attached to the barn, nibbling hay and watching while Jinks worked. The smug look on her face told me she was glad not to be the poor slob eating dirt and sweating in the sun.

I hate dust. I especially hate dust in April. We have, for want of a better word, a crappy well. It’s five hundred fifty feet down, and at that depth, one might think it would have plenty of water.

It doesn’t.

This is why, when I saw the water running, I darn near had a heart attack.

I tend to be forgetful – a byproduct of a couple decades of undiagnosed Lyme disease. Leaving the water running is one of my worst and often repeated sins. I’d already burned out one pump, and I sure didn’t want to kill another.

I halted Jinks and ran to the hydrant. Louise had her head under the stream, eyes closed, lips twitching in bliss.

I love this mare. She’s an opportunist and a hedonist. The world is her playground, and I always feel like a Grinch when I have to take away her toys. But often her toys aren’t … toys.

I apologized to her and shoved the handle down. The stream came to an end, and as the last trickle dripped from her chin, she stared sadly at the spot where it had been. Then she stared at me. Then she sighed, took one step to the left, and dipped into the stock tank. With her oversized and far too flappy lower lip, she scooped up water and splashed it onto her face.

Louise is a goober.

I went back to longeing Jinks. He was a nice horse, sweet and talented, quiet and brave. Unlike Louise, Jinks never had a thought of his own; he just waited for me to think for him and tell him what to do. This made him a pleasure to work with, uncomplicated to ride, and just a little bit dull.

My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of running water. I spun around to find Louise, eyes blinking, lips quivering in ecstasy, with water running down her face and streaming from her lumpy chin.

What the?

The water was on again. And as I watched, Louise grabbed the hydrant’s handle in her teeth and yanked it straight up. When the water blasted out, she leaped backwards and shook her head at it as if it had disobeyed her. Then she slithered forward, and with her muzzle, she gently leaned on the handle until it shifted. The jet slowed to a trickle, and once again she shoved her head under the stream and grunted in contentment.

I’ve known very few horses who figured out how to turn on water, and Louise is the only one I’ve ever seen adjust the pressure to her liking. I felt awful about shutting it off and putting a lock on the handle, but it had to be done. And I couldn’t help but wonder how long it would take her to learn to pick the lock.

Louise, of course, rose to my challenge. If she couldn’t run water over her head, well, she’d have to settle for soaking her feet. She climbed into the stock tank and shot me a what-are-ya-gonna-do-about-it look.

I ignored her.

She climbed back out and grabbed the edge of the tank in her teeth.

I ignored her.

She tipped the stock tank over. Fifty gallons of water poured over her feet, and I swear she smiled. She spent the next five minutes pawing and snorting and tap dancing around. But by then the water had soaked into the ground, and once again, her fun came to an end.

I refilled the stock tank.

She tipped it over.

I pulled out an assortment of scrap lumber, and before long I’d build a sort of shield – a box that surrounded the stock tank and bolted to the side of the barn.

Sometime during the night, Louise dismantled the box and tipped over the stock tank. The good news: she managed not to hurt herself doing it.

I filled the tank with boulders. On the plus side, Louise could no longer tip it over. On the minus side, neither could I. Now when I want to clean the tank, I have to lift out each boulder separately and scrub it clean. Then clean the tank. Then replace the boulders. Then refill.

Louise is a pain in the butt, but I still adore her. Maybe there’s something wrong with me.

Probably.

8 thoughts on “Louise and The Water Hydrant

  1. cannae comment for laughing..
    tears rolling down face..

    thank you Louise.. for yet again being such a wonderful wonderful equine.
    (and to your Mom for sharing your adventures.)

  2. This is a GREAT story! I love it. Thanks for sharing. It’s just what I’m looking for for my readers. Would you mind if I put a link to your site on mine? Please let me know. I found you on Linkedin on the Horse Lovers of the Business World group.

  3. Thank you again. Louise and her busy little brain do keep us laughing.
    Absolutely put a link. I haven’t figured out how to do that yet – I’m slow. That’ll be a project for this week. 😀

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