The woman who owned the Arabian that Randa bought had raised him from a foal. When she told us, “If he feels a drop of rain he heads straight for the shed,” we pretty much took her at her word. So, when we drove through a severe thunderstorm two weeks ago on our way over from work, we fully expected to see him standing in the shed. Instead, he was standing out in his pen, completely soaked even though he was under the deflection of the cottonwood tree. There were several long strokes in the muddy mess showing where his feet had slipped as he’d moved around the pen but nothing to indicate that he’d been inside the shed where the ground and his hay were completely dry.
There was, however, a clue in the mud just outside the shed, a possible explanation for his sudden change of habit in regard to coming in out of the rain. Straight down from the lower edge of the roof, I could see where the water had pounded into the ground. Even though the gelding might not like the feel of rain on his back, he apparently hated the feel of the collected torrent hitting his face and ears. So, he stood outside, tail toward the wind and blowing rain, head lowered and ears tilted forward.
Tuesday night, just before the latest storm began, I fastened a makeshift gutter up over the shed entrance. That night, as rain drove down in sheets, I knew we’d find out whether or not the gutter made any difference. When we drove over the next morning, after the rain, there the horse was, standing outside in his pen. “Well,” I thought, “that was a flop. Didn’t make a bit of difference.”
But after I got out of the car and walked over to the pen, I noticed just a single wet spot on his hide, on his back right in front of his flanks and dropping down several inches on each side. Otherwise, he was dry all over. Clearly, he’d spent the night in the shed instead of standing out in the rain.
There’s always a reason for anything that other people do. Most of the time, that reason makes sense from a certain perspective. You just have to look at things from the horse’s perspective. Regardless of which end of the horse seems to be in charge.