This morning I decided to make myself look presentable (for a change ;) ) for work by flat ironing my hair (this should have been my first indication that things wouldn't go smoothly). I brewed my coffee and started my car. It was only about -10C overnight but I like babying my car... and I like to drive to work in a warm car.
When I was out starting the car I looked over to the horses and could see my mum's horse munching away on hay but I couldn't see Max. Don't ask me why, but I got a pretty good sinking feeling. I was certain he wasn't in there.
At my parent's property we have two separate paddocks for the horses. A wooden one in the front yard and a wire fence one in the bush. The horses have been "in the bush" for the winter because its great coverage from the wind (seriously, it's nice to just hang out with them up there on windy days because its sheltered and warmer), but the fence needs some attention, the top and bottom wires are too far apart, but for the time being (and -30 weather) it'll do (so we though).
Standing beside my car I look along the drive way between my car and the horses and I can clearly see some hoof prints... for now. It's been snowing and the tracks are covered in a light dusting of snow. Great.
I go back to the bush, say "hi," to Zaira who came over to the gate and I walk the inside of the fence line. Max definitely isn't there. I can't see for certain where he went through, (but you can see where he had walked around in the deep snow outside the fence so my guess is he was reaching through the fence to eat snow like they've been doing on the one side... and he must have just walked through with his head down) but he's gone.
I go back to the house, wake my mum up to let her know what's going on and while she gets a jacket and boots I head down the drive way following tracks. They seem to head down our driveway and up to the highway... Great. I texted my boss and let her know I'd be a little late.
I jump into my (now toasty) car and head up the highway. There's a small community up there (just a few houses really), but I can't imagine him going that far so I turn back after a kilometer or so. On my way back I check our second driveway (which isn't plowed or used) but don't see any tracks. Further down the highway (back towards our house) I see some tracks but they disappear after a few yards on the highway. Now where do I look?
My mum had come out with her car and my neighbor (Claude, my farm boss) was across the road on the corner of his property cutting firewood. He saw the commotion and came to see what was going on and offered to take his snowmachine up the side of the highway and see if he could see more tracks. I thought I saw what might have been tracks going up the Jones road so I went that way on foot (my parents place is at an intersection of highway 105 which runs north and south, highway 609 which is the highway we live on, and the 609 turns into the Jones Road after it intersects highway 105). I made it about three quarters of a kilometer up before Claude caught up to me and said he didn't see any tracks on the snowmachine trail. I started to head back for my car and he went a bit further up the Jones Road to turn around.
When I got to my car at the house I went down the 609 passed Claude's place (I met his girlfriend Tracey who was joining in the effort in her car, she was headed to find Claude on the Jones Road) and I went about 3 kilometers down until I reached a Bailey Bridge (which my horse wouldn't cross willingly in a million years) and turned back.
I raced back to my horse (Tracey had smartly brought a bucket of grain so Claude secured him with a lead rope and was bringing him back) I put a proper halter on him and we took him home.
We moved mum's horse to the front yard and put Max in there too. I threw a couple square bales in to keep them company and left for work.
All that excitement and I was only an hour and a half late! Definitely not my favourite way to start a Tuesday, let me tell you.