On a beautiful Saturday morning in August, I was vacuuming the inside of our pickup truck and enjoying watching our draft mare, Julie, graze in a pasture near the garage and driveway. It was a peaceful and quite morning, and it wasn’t very hot, so I was enjoying myself and Julie was content because there weren’t a lot of flies for a change.
I turned off the vacuum and starting cleaning the inside of the truck with a rag when I heard a very loud noise approaching from behind me. The noise got louder and louder, and I turned around in alarm to find an airplane and 2,000 pounds of horseflesh headed right toward me. Julie was barreling toward the electric fence and me as the airplane streaked by overhead.
Now, I know what a crop duster is, but when you aren’t expecting them and their first trip by is right over your head, and your horse is storming toward you at full speed, it can be a little overwhelming. I nearly lost control of my bladder.
Thankfully, Julie stopped before she ran through her electric fence. I tried to catch my breath because I knew the plane would be back. I had a decision to make; I could leave Julie in her pasture and hope she would get used to the plane, or I could try to catch her and lead her to the barn and her stall before the plane returned.
I was afraid I would be in the middle of leading Julie back to the barn when the plane returned. I didn’t want to end up being drug back to the barn by her so I decided to take my chances and leave her in the pasture. She is a sensible mare, and after all, what would have happened if she had been turned out and I wasn’t home when the crop duster visited? She would just have to become used to the airplane!
I was impressed by our local crop duster. I think he realized how scared Julie was and decided to give her a chance to become used to the noise and the plane. He started dusting farther away from her and then worked his way back toward her pasture.
By the time he returned, she was more willing to accept his presence. He could fly west to east, and she just watched. She never moved a muscle. She even seemed to enjoy it.
When he flew north to south and came in behind her, she still panicked, but I think the pilot realized the problem and tried to limit those trips.
I do not know the Morrow County crop duster, but if you do, please tell him I appreciate the fact that once he saw Julie, he decided to fly farther away from her and work back toward her. I realize he has an important job to do, and it was nice that he considered my livestock as he made his passes. It probably saved my fence and who knows what else from damage.
After the plane’s first trip by, I ran in the house and retrieved my camera. I was proud of myself for thinking of it but I’m less proud of the results. I was so shook up that 50% of the video I shot didn’t record. I was recording between fly-bys instead of during for about half the time. I didn’t realize it for quite some time. However, a couple of very short videos did turn out ok. Visit ocj.com and click on the Horse Sense page if you want to watch my videos. I’ll try to be calmer and do a better recording job should the crop duster return next year with his airplane.
I called my dad after the incident to brag about the sensible way in which Julie behaved during the crop dusting. He asked about the minis. To be honest, I had completely forgotten about them, and I kind of had a sinking feeling in my stomach when I turned around to see if they were still in their pasture behind the house.
The boys were indeed in their pasture and it appeared they had been silently munching on grass the entire time. The plane was a little farther away from them than Julie, but to be honest, I think their stomachs just rated higher than their fear of the airplane.
If you would like to see the video, click here.