Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Predators and Their Prey


Spa day
redators are all around us.  These are living up the block from me.  Their sister lives in the woods above my pasture.  If I don’t see them coming, the horses are happy to give their presence away by clumping together and staring.  They start practicing in the spring when the Tom turkeys make bear-look-alike lumps in the pasture.

DAKOTA:  What is that thing?  It doesn’t look edible.

  ZIP:  Shit, Boy!  Haven’t you learned anything in twenty years?  It doesn’t matter what it is.  We stand and stare and The Human comes out and takes pictures of it and scares it away.  

 DAKOTA:  But what if it’s something big and ugly and it eats The Human?

 ZIP:  No problem!  While it’s busy, we run away.  The Human’s got this covered no matter what.  Uh…you gonna eat that hunk of hay or what?

A predator endangered by lack of fashion sense:
Topknot feathers are so six years ago!

And so it goes through the spring, and by summer the animals have figured out which lumps are dangerous and which are just lumps.  It’s hard not to take the horses’ sixth sense seriously (no matter how impaired it might be), especially in light of the pony that was killed by a bear last week just a couple of towns away.  Horses know these things.  If they don’t know them, they’ll make them up.  

It’s not so easy with the other kinds of predators.  Reportedly, one of that kind took a horse from its grazing area a week or so ago without the owner’s consent and knowledge.  Horse thieves are among us, though given the current state of the equine biz lately, one has to wonder why.  I’ll admit to passing thoughts of putting Zips Moneypit out on the lawn and calling the authorities to report a loose horse.  Unfortunately, they’d probably bring him here.  Besides, they’d take one look at the size of that butt and be hard-pressed to believe he’d left home willingly.

Of course I’m joking (today), but the only outlet these days for stolen horses is the slaughter auction, Camelot Horse Auction, or one of the other registered slaughter buyers.  It’s hard to believe anyone is hungry enough to take a horse home for dinner, but I suppose it’s possible.  More likely there’s a shipment going out to Canada or Mexico.

There’s the predator that lives in a nice house, owns or manages a boarding/training/sale barn with a cute lesson program for little kids.  Insidious, that one is.  Such cute ponies and such personable barn hands can’t possibly be harbingers of doom!  That’s the one that assesses each visitor’s financial wherewithal based on the kind of car s/he drives up in and adjusts the price of the horses in stock accordingly.  Just let him find out that the Mercedes owner can’t tell a bridle from a bridesmaid, and watch the fun begin!  It took me years to find out that the saddle I’d been sold that was sure to fit my horse didn’t fit me, the horse, or anyone over the age of 7.  That the horse was blind in one eye was a bonus.

Then there’s the kind of predator that’s invisible because it morphs at will from Poor Beleaguered Farm Owner to Poor Beleaguered Horse Rescue to “Oops!  I didn’t know that was illegal” and back again, changing shape and names until the score card looks like my grandson’s finger painting.  Once again the State of NJ is on the job, and once again they’ve rooted out someone who has been masquerading as a legit charity, sucking funds from the real non-profits, willingly taking coffee money from folks just barely hanging on, and not worrying for a minute about the consequences.

[Details are still not public, but they will be.  Meanwhile, report your dealings with suspected frauds at the link above.] 

Winter is on its way, and it’s predicted to be a bad one weather-wise.  The predators are gearing up in the way they know how.  Protect yourselves and your animals.  One good way is to contact Stolen Horse International (  Microchip and register your horse with them in case the worst happens.  If you have small animals, your vet can chip and register them, as well.  

Bears eat ponies and anything smaller that doesn’t run fast enough to get away.  Foxes and coyotes are keen on fawns, lambs, goats, chickens, bunnies, groundhogs, cats, and small dogs.  Coyotes will kill foxes but won’t eat them, presumably because they taste bad, so a dead but intact fox is a good sign coyotes are about.  

Faux rescuer
Sharon Crumb
I hope you’re taking notes.  If you live in the twigs like I do, this is pretty much everyday stuff.  But this bad weather year has brought the predators out of their comfort zones and into yours even if you are totally ensconced in Suburban Heaven.  I posted a couple of blog-days ago about the post-storm scams.  I’ve posted about the horse rescue scammers. It ain’t pretty, but it’s the way the world is going right now.  Be alert to all of the predators in our midst. 

1 comment:

Margaret Wolf said...

I love your posts. Everyone of them make me smile, and think. Thanks for being you!