I would like to answer some of the questions that I have been asked about the video. The number one question is why does she not let the horse in the first stall out? Well, I can't be sure, but I think it was because it was Trienke in that stall. Trienke is her mother and the boss mare. She probably did not think she could shoo Trienke out of her stall to get to the stall window on the inside of the barn. So she moves on looking for the best escape route. Why she let Wietse out on her way? Your guess is as good as mine, she likes the company in the grain room and later out on the lawn is our best guess.
The second question is, did we teach her to do this? Some people are just sure we did. The answer is WHY WOULD WE???? LOL. 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 back up latches or chains and she finds the weak link! She checks constantly for a way out. Mariska has picked this up on her own over a period of time. She started as a 6 month old, grabbing the tabs on our zippers and zipping them up and down, went to constantly pulling out my hair ties and trying to eat them, even grabbed the jingle bell off the antlers I was trying to get pictures of her in, and ate it. That was an embarrassing call to the vet!
Next she went to pushing and or pulling all the paddock gates open or closed. We had to block them open if that was our intent, and could NEVER forget to latch one behind us. She moved on to the half door slide bolt. Then we tried closing the top doors to keep her in or out, but she learned to twist the latch on the top, so we added another bolt to the top door that holds it to the bottom door. Next she figured out how to pull the bar up on the stall door inside the barn, and was then out and found the grain in old white freezer. We moved the grain to an empty stall so we could close the door, this of course was no problem for her! She could do that latch from the inside of her stall or from the outside of the grain room. Last but not least, she nudges with her nose, the large end barn door until she gets a little crack and then slides it open, and away they all go to the back yard!!
So the 100 dollar question!! How do we keep her in? Well, as you could see in the video, we have added bottom latches to the outside of the half stall. And we drilled holes into the bar on the inside stall doors where we put a pin in the bar that will not allow the bar to raise up. This works except when we forget just one pin, as the horses have access to their stalls but are rarely closed in, and she can get into all 4 stalls. She checks every window constantly. The only sure way, is to close completely the bars on the window. We just so enjoy the horses being able to have their heads out of the windows, that we pin the doors while we are home, but close windows if we are away. Also, we chain the feed room door closed, so if we have forgotten to close a window or pin a door or use the bottom latch, she will not get into the feed. Also we have to latch down the front barn door, which we hate to do on the warm summer days as it is nice to leave it open for a breeze.
AS you can see, we can and mostly do, keep her where she belongs, the problem is our memories! We are in and out of the barn and the stalls so many times a day, that invariably we occasionally forget one of the back ups and then we see 4 very happy Friesians romping across our back yard. God is good and he has kept them safe and in our yard every time they have gotten out. Trienke seems to be very much the "homebody" and never has gone near the road, which is many acres away. As long as Trienke "boss mare, and mother" stays put, so do the rest of them. I have joked about how Mariska can make life miserable, and challenging and frustrating, but I have to say that we do love her dearly and think that she is worth the trouble she causes. 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.