Murphy is not a stupid horse.
According to our vet, he's not even a "regular" horse. Every single time the vet is out for shots or whatever, he prefaces at least one sentence with "If you had a regular horse...". As in "If you had a regular horse it wouldn't take twice as much medicine to sedate him so we can float his teeth." and "If you had a regular horse, he wouldn't fight everything I'm (the vet) trying to do and everything wouldn't take so long and cost so much."
Murphy may not be regular, but he is one of a kind. He's very smart, but can also be as stupid as all horses tend to be. He sees himself as king of the pasture, needing nothing and nobody... But calls out in alarm when he can't find Tucker (who is probably behind the barn standing in his favorite spot of shade). He opens gate latches with his mouth, which can get him into all kinds of trouble... and today he snuck through the front yard, tiptoeing around both a lawn mower and an old metal tricycle that were blocking his path, and somehow avoided being seen while doing it. (It's not easy to sneak when you are as tall as he is and weigh 1200 lbs!)
Once he'd snuck out through the little front yard gate he happily grazed while Tucker... who'd followed him, of course... waited anxiously in the front yard. (I can just imagine Tucker's thoughts... "You'd better come back... there is no fence out there... it might not be safe... you aren't supposed to be out there... YOU"D BETTER HURRY BACK BEFORE THEY FIND YOU THERE!)
Murphy didn't come back, but it didn't take long for R and I to notice he was gone and head out front to get him. Normally he is easy to catch... Easy as in you just walk up to him and he's caught. Unfortunately today he decided it was time to release the wild stallion that is hidden within that middle aged gelding body, and when R walked up to grab his halter he took off.
He was running, bucking... and tooting. (Apparently hay makes him gassy... so when he runs, he toots!) To make a long, hot, exhausting story short... we couldn't catch him... he ran all over the neighborhood. We followed him here and there (we ended up using the car... he was too fast to follow otherwise), jumping out of the car when we'd get close to him, running through the neighbor's yards trying to corner him somewhere. He thought he was king of the world for sure this afternoon. He ran and bucked and tooted from one end of the road to the other. Each time I thought I had him corralled somewhere he found a way to escape and take off running again.
We never did catch him, he finally just went home.
As soon as we got him back into the pasture, R and I collapsed in sweaty, dirty, worn out heaps and R voiced her opinion that sometimes it would be nice to have a stupid horse.
So I'm not feeling sorry for Murphy tonight... he's seriously put out because there is someone in his barn. R and her friend from next door are having a barn sleepover tonight. The year's hay hasn't been delivered yet, and the big empty (clean) barn is the perfect place for two girls to watch movies, eat popcorn and maybe even sleep a little!
Too bad Murphy... be happy you still have a stall in my barn. I was about ready to trade you for a flock of chickens or a couple of goats today!
Edited to add:
Steve and Renee... thanks for the suggestion to use carabiners. I've tried carabiners but Murphy destroys them. Carabiners that are small enough to go through the gate latches (a normal sized carabiner) are small enough for him to destroy. He bites them... hard... and either breaks off the "moving" part of the carabiner, or bends it so badly that it's useless.
Here are two of the carabiners that Murphy has "modified". :)
I'm pretty sure this is the kind of thing the vet is thinking about when he says Murphy isn't a "regular" horse.