I am a very forgetful person. Always have been. I haven't learned to be more mindful despite my best attempts and the best attempts of my DB, parents, teachers, etc... But what I have learned is how to better manage the fact that I am highly forgetful by developing the habit of pausing many many times a day to ask myself what I am forgetting or by setting an alarm. I set an alarm when I put water on to boil. I set an alarm when I turn the hose on to fill the trough. I stop on my way out the door to look back and make sure I turned the burners off on the stove. Even so, often my alarm goes off and it will take me a solid second to remember why I had set it in the first place. I haven't learned to remember but I have learned to remember to ask myself what I have forgot. At the barn I have strict system in place to keep my sieve like mind in check. Before I leave the barn I systematically go through and look at each horse, make sure they have water and make sure their pen/stall/pasture is latched by actually physical touching the latch of the stall door or by staring at the latch, blocking all other thoughts from my mind and consciously thinking "latched". I also stop at the driveway gate and run a double check- stall doors, check, gate to grain room, check, gate to barn, gate to paddock, gate to pasture, main gate, check then finally gate to drive. I do this every single time because I do not trust myself to remember. And I know that it is critically important that I do remember.
But on Friday night I failed to check. I failed to double check. I had let the horses out through the far gate (from the field which has next to no grass) and on to the deep pasture for their short nightly graze. I then went and caught Marm and took her through the near gate for a ride. I then caught Abby and took her through the near gate to tie her to the trailer and brush her down. Finally I went and caught Hola and took her through the near gate and gave her grain. I then took all three through the barn and turned them back out on to the field with very little grass through the paddock gate. I fed them hay. I fed hay to the other three horses. And then I realized it was 9:15 and I was running late. L had just come home and told her the only thing left to be done was to feed grain to the other three. I jumped in my car and sped off to meet a lady I had scheduled to meet to buy new head stall. I didn't stop and ask myself "what am I forgetting" or nor did I run through the check list of "gate check, gate check, gate check" and lastly I didn't mention to L that I had turned the horses out at all.
On Saturday morning I received a call from L saying that my three horses- Marm, Hola and Abby- were out on the front pasture....the deep, lush, bright green spring pasture. And they had been there all night long because the far gate had been left open. My heart stopped beating. My mind raced back over the night before. And I realized that I had broke the cardinal rule every single horseman who ever lived- I didn't closed the gate.
Before I even got the barn I had called my vet and was waiting for a call back. I knew that I was going to have to just cross my fingers against the high likelihood of colic and focus all my efforts on stopping that sweet rich grass from reeking havoc on my horses tiny, fragile, but oh-so-critically important laminae. The war against founder was about to be waged.