Thursday, March 14, 2013

Escape Artist Horse

Escape Artist Horse - we probably have all had one or two. I remember when I was managing a large stables with over 40 horses, we had a large turnout where sometimes there would be as many as twenty to twenty five horses.  We always had to watch when a Buckskin Gelding, named Buck (go figure) was turned out since he could and would work the protected barell latch on the turnout gate and release all the horses.  The first time I saw all the turnout horses loose, I didn't believe the explanation for the escape,...I just thought someone didn't latch the gate,...until I watched Buck nimbly operate that gate latch one time.

Anyway, it still continues to amaze me just how smart and adaptive horses are.  Many people have seen the video of the Mariska a Friesan mare opening stable gates, but in case you haven't I have posted the article and video below.   

A stocky Friesian horse at a farm near Midland, Michigan is forcing her owner's to be extra vigilant after developing an amazing knack for opening gates and stable doors.

Farmer's wife Sandy Bonem says she wouldn't want to change Mariska's mischievousness nature but admits it can be infuriating when the horse breaks out of her stable and then opens the doors for the other horses.

Sandy and husband Don Bonem live at Misty Meadows farm along with their four Friesians, two quarter horses, two cats, six chickens and with one Friesian foal on the way.

Last month Sandy posted a Youtube video of some of Mariska's greatest escapes and to her delight it has already been viewed by over 600,000 people in more than 167 countries.

The video shows Mariska first open her own stable door then those of the other horses. She is equally adept at opening both top and bottom locks and even opens a chest freezer.

'Did we teach her to do this?,' writes Bonem on her blog. 'No, we most certainly did not, it makes life such a challenge for us. Especially as we have only to forget just one of the backup latches or chains and she finds the weak link.'

Mariska is clearly an extremely smart animal who has developed her jail-breaking skills since she was a young foal.

Mariska has always been fascinated with trying to open things and over time has progressed to more complicated escapes using her nose and teeth to push and tease at even the most stubborn of locks.

As well as enjoying the freedom of the farm, chunky Mariska - who is a bit on the hefty side for her height - is also on lookout for food.

The Bonem's used to store their grain in an old white freezer until the greedy horse discovered a way to open it. The grain was then moved to an empty stall but once again that proved no problem for the wily horse.

To keep a tighter reign on Mariska and ensure the safety of all of their horses, the Bonems have had to drill holes into their stall doors and add extra pins to try and prevent Mariska from going walkabout.

This year the couple have an extra special reason to keep close tabs as Mariska is pregnant and expecting in July. 'She is very sweet and loving and intelligent. We can't wait to see her new foal this year, she is an awesome mother and we are so glad she is ours,' writes Sandy Bonem.

In preparation for pregnancy, Mariska has been put on a diet which has so far failed to result in any weight loss. Despite reducing the horse's daily hay intake she remains a hefty 1280lbs.

Perhaps Mariska has discovered another way to break out and eat grain when the Bonems aren't looking.

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