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Author Archives: Whiskey Ranch-Horse

About Whiskey Ranch-Horse

I'm a hard(ly)-workin', hard-restin', hard-nappin', honest-as-the-day-is-long, bombproof, bucket-lovin', mostly retired palomino ranch horse from the heart of the American Southwest, now livin' the pet pleasure horse dream on the County Island. Oh, and I'm a horse, in case maybe you need it spelled out for ya. Name's Whiskey. It's a pleasure to meet y'all! Why don't you sit down for a spell and read some of my stories?

The Need for Speed

Some horses like to go fast, to which I say, good for them. Oh, there’s a point to goin fast when a horse needs to get the job done, the main point bein there’s a job. But during my time on the County Island, I’ve learned there’s all kinds of questionable jobs for horses which I’d never call honest work.

We was amblin through the wash, like we do sometimes. A wash amble takes a set amount of time, and also a purty short amount of time, which makes it my favorite kind of County Island amble. It’s also generally predictable, like me.

Until there came a thunder of hoofbeats behind me that made me swivel my ears around, and almost my whole head, too. They came to a quick walk and a blur of a big brown horse brushed by us while the rider said, “Morning!” and barely gave my bucket gal time to respond when they was off again, with a flip of a short tail and sand spit at us from flyin hooves.

Well, that was weird, I thought, and we ambled on.

A while later, we reached the road which is the usual turn for home along the short wash loop, when there came yet another thunder of hooves behind me. What the –

“We meet again!” the big brown horse’s rider laughed as he pulled up his spindly, snortin steed for a few steps, then broke to a trot, then was off again like a shot. That was impossible.

A wash amble takes about twenty five people-minutes, or about one thousand and five hundred horse-steps, not that I’m countin. Brownie made it around in … ten people-minutes? And he was set to lap me again by the looks of it. That’d only maybe be likely if he was flyin faster than a golden eagle followin a pack of hunt club beagle dogs set upon a jack so as to swoop down and steal the rabbit at the last second. Metaphorically speakin, of course. But also it’s happened.

A couple mornins later, we was passed by ‘em again, only this time they pulled up enough to talk, and big, gangly Brownie rolled his eyes at me by way of sayin “Hai!” like the young colts do. He was a tall fella, but only about as growed as a long yearlin. His rider said Brownie was called a baby race horse, and he was in trainin and breezin through the wash to get broke for the race track. Maybe he meant trackin cattle? As in trainin cattle-trackin horses? But didn’t he know racin after cattle was the quickest way to make ‘em scatter and thereby ruin your whole, entire day tryin to gather ‘em all back? No matter how much a horse likes to run, they generally ain’t allowed to on the ranch, for that practical reason.

In the time since, I’ve met a lot more of these baby cow-track horses makin a breeze around the wash like they think they got the best horse-job in the world, if you’d call that a job. I guess if they got that many rank cows to track wherever they go off to once they’re good and broke, then they’d always be in need of fresh horses, same way the ranch used to run through us ranch horses, but at a slower pace on account of we had slower cows back in my day. And I guess it’s good they train up the ones that already like to run, unlike me and my kin.

Also, that cowboy’s got more stick-to-it-ness than any cowboy I seen anywhere. One time I seen another big brown baby cow-track horse go from one side of the road clear to the other side in once big bounce of a spook, and then buck upon stickin the landin, and the dude didn’t bat an eyelash. I reckon he can ride broncs when he’s trained up all the fast horses on the County Island, and there surely can’t be that many more of ‘em.

It also makes me glad to be out of the cow game these days if the younger cows is so speedy and stirrin up breezes and trouble all the time that so many young horses got to get geared up to run after ‘em and track ‘em like that. Whenever I catch the tail wind from one of ‘em these days as I’m goin around the wash at a proper walk, I like to reflect on how it much I suppose it sucks to be them, but how very good it is to be me.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

3 Snake Tails: Strike Three

Strike Three

I was bein rode through a wash on the County Island with a couple other horses — it don’t matter which ones, but they was prancey — for a slow and pointless trail ride at what shoulda been breakfast time, durin the hot time. I was ridin drag as usual, bringin up the back of the line as we made our way single-file through the deep and dusty sand.

The first horse had just passed a big, low-hangin palo verde that made a spot of speckled shade. I was lookin forward to steppin into the shade beneath those spiny branches to get out of the sun for a few steps, myself. Durin the hot time, I like to measure my hoof falls by how long it takes ‘em to get to the next shade.

As the second horse went through the shade, and it was almost my own turn to savor it, the bucket gal said out of the clear hot sky, “I’m surprised we haven’t seen any sna—”

The brush rattled with snake sounds. We spun on a dime, first horse, second horse, me, in a cloud of dust, like a proper prancey-horse “pas de trois,” which is french for when three horses pirouette, which itself is french for spin, past a tree. Then we all high-stepped it out of there while our riders patted and praised us. I don’t even know if I made any shade.

What’s called the moral of all this is twofold.

First, to all horses on all ranches everywhere, don’t you ever, ever allow yourself to wonder why you ain’t yet seen a rattlesnake. You’ll eventually find one even if you don’t go lookin, so never, ever look for snakes nor trouble anywhere. And people, zip it. No disrespect intended.

And second, whenever there’s a snake tail involved, remember this. It’s the first horse that gets the coil, and the second horse that gets the rattle, but it’s the third horse that gets bit. Or at least closest to takin the hit.

 

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

3 Snake Tails: Strike Two

Strike Two

“We bought this to help get the horses’ ears up for in hand practice,” the prancin lady proclaimed, one time when Coors Light was participatin in a prancin lesson, and she held the big stick up in front of his nose to show to him and the bucket gal. No, I ain’t got no idea why prancey people would want to get a horse’s ears all up in their hands, nor do I care nor what it’s got to do with sticks. But if I had to guess, I’d say maybe so they could clip their ears? Like maybe the stick was meant to be a big a twitch? Anyhow.

Then she turned the stick upside down. And it rattled.

Coors Light wisely planted his hooves right where they was, and slowly turned his head sideways so he could eyeball the prancin arena dirt all around him to check for snakes.

He eyeballed it to the left, and then he eyeballed it all to the right. His ears went all sideways to listen and ask “Where is it?” — while the bucket gal and the prancin lady laughed and laughed, on account of all the other prancey horses had lost their brains clear out of their heads at the rattlin sound, and ran backwards, and generally behaved like prancey horses, but Coors Light knew a rattlesnake when he heard one and he knew the only sensible thing a horse should do is stop and know where the snake was first before proceedin. Which proves that prancin people are nuts, laughin at the only sane horse on the whole entire prancin ranch.

Coors Light says the prancin lady called it a “indian rain stick,” and I think that’s a terrible thing. First, it don’t sound like rain at all. It sounds like a snake. And second, why would anybody make a stick that sounds like a snake, when there’s already snakes that sound like snakes?

I wish I’d been there to see all them other prancey horses meet the snake stick. I bet the prancin lady got a whole lot more horse parts up in the air with it than their ears – likely also their hooves, and their necks, and their tails, and all the dirt they kicked up into the air high-tailin it away.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

3 Snake Tails: Strike One

Strike One

Original Coors was lazily walkin down a narrow trail lined with tall green grass and flowers, with his nose nearly in ‘em and stretchin his upper lip toward ’em as far as it’d reach, on account of the bucket gal gave him such a loose rein. He likely had his eyes half-shut, ‘cause that’s his general demeanor even though he’s a Ayrab horse, and was also likely breathin in the sweet smell of it and lost deep in thoughts about grazin on it all day long. And, ‘cause he’s an Ayrab, I’m sure his thoughts were wanderin even farther afield than the flowers and the grass so he was barely payin any mind to his own hoof falls on the ground never mind the bucket gal in the saddle above…

When she near jerked the bit out of his mouth, pulled the reins, and squeezed his sides with her legs and made a sound like “Shiiiii–!” Coors nearly jumped out of skin sideways with her to avoid it, then swung around and pointed his ears to get a good look at it there in the grass at the edge of the trail, greyish white and coiled up to strike —

It was an old cotton lead rope.

He and she blew out from their nostrils, and I reckon they both licked their lips at the lack of a snake in the grass. That’s why the people say you got to “learn the ropes,” so you don’t mix ‘em up with snakes.

 

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The County Island Hunger Games

Drafted for Patriotic, And Also Hungry, Duty

 

What happened is, I got “volunteered.” It was supposed to be Coors Light, not me. Coors Light walked up to the gate and said he’d like to go, but the bucket gal patted him and walked right past him. It started with breakfast, like it usually does, and then I got led away from my breakfast — instead of Coors Light — to go get brushed for work. Only there ain’t no real work to be done here on the County Island. What there was was my tail bein sprayed and combed and such for a real long time, with kinda a funny smell waftin from it that ain’t fly spray, and the bucket gal fussin with it for even longer, and it all gave me flashbacks to the time when I got pinked for a good cause.

Then I got loaded into the rollin white horse-box, and taken to camp where the prancin lady lives, only it wasn’t camp that day, and I didn’t get put in my usual pen where I go to camp, and Coors and Coors Light never showed up at all. I got saddled, and fussed with some more, with one of them silly people-things set upon the top of my bridle like happens at different times of the season, such as lion ears, devil horns, or anythin else silly that can be set upon a horse’s head.

It was the day of the summer games. I knew about the games before, as an observationalist, and I told what I knew about ‘em here, back when I got my first case of bad hawks.

All the horses was saddled and assembled in the ring to play games, too. Red horses! Blue horses! White horses! With anythin a person could think of to paint on, or glue to, or attach to any part of a horse. An Ayrab horse feathered like a bird with red plumes in his mane, and another whose bridle reins had been made all red and blue feathery. Seemed like feathers was a thing. A plain brown horse all sparkly-spotted like a bonafide and sorrowful patriotic Appaloosa. A white horse painted in red stripes and blue stars. A geldin crowned with an abominable thing called a princess tiara on his browband. I was the sole ranch horse representative in a whole sea of patriotic Ayrabs and other sundry prancey horses.

One of the younger horses rode by, turned and gave me the hairy eyeball and snorted, “Bro – your tail!

Huh? Oh, hell… Pardon my french.

Was there somethin on my tail?

Was there somethin on my tail?

 

I learned there and then what it means for a horse to be a “patriot.” A patriot is a horse who’s made to be red, white, blue and sparkly all over — from head to tail. That’s what “from head to tail” means. I never could see my own tail, but I suppose it was extra patriotic. And a proper patriot horse, like a proper ranch horse, has got be extra hard-workin and self-sacrificin, too. Even fun and games ain’t all fun and games — that’s the work ethic I was raised with.

But this ain’t about patriotism, nor games.

It’s about hunger. And sacrifice.

This may sound like I’m bein a whiny, ungrateful, prancified, pampered pet County Island horse, but I ain’t.

Most of the games were about food, specifically the lack thereof.

Forthwith, twelve buckets was laid out in a line in the arena. I couldn’t help but nicker under my breath at such an astonishing sight. But they was empty. And the game wasn’t to find out which horse could eat the most buckets in the least time, but to jump horses over ‘em. And the people kept takin buckets away, and not bringin ‘em back filled with grain, until there was only one bucket left to jump. Or, like I did, to step over without kickin the bucket, which I likely could’ve done for real with such an entirely empty belly. If you kicked the bucket, you was out of the game. Some of the horses protested the lack of food by refusin to go toward the empty buckets. A couple had to be backed toward ‘em, and at the last minute, turned around and jumped over without lookin. I finally kicked a bucket on purpose so I wouldn’t have to lay my eyes upon their empty promise again.

There were also “flowers” in the flower boxes around the prancin arena that was “fake” and we couldn’t eat.

There was a “egg and spoon race,” but no horse got to lick the mixin spoon. And since they had spoons and buckets, there was no excuse not to feed us. And maybe I woulda liked an egg in my desperation, but I never got to try one. One of the horses said it wasn’t even a egg, it was a “golf ball,” which sounds particularly distrustful. That horse also said “golf” is where people use up a horse pasture that horses can’t graze.

There was a “potato race” where we had to race so the bucket gal could get a potato and run back and drop it in a bucket. Three potatoes, three bucket drops. And maybe I woulda liked to eat a potato, who knows? By then, I woulda eaten a golf ball, I reckon. And again — buckets.

Do y’all know was “bobbin for apples” is? It’s racin toward a bucket filled with water. And a apple. I don’t even like apples. I prefer carrots and cookies, myself, but I wanted an apple so bad I’da been willin to wash it down with a fake flower and a golf ball, too. And the horse didn’t get to stick his head in the bucket to bob for the apple. The human had to do it! They wasted so danged much time stoppin in front of the buckets when their horse coulda been chompin on that apple, wranglin off their big ol’ helmets and sunglasses (‘cause they ain’t got proper eyes to see in the sun, along with their lack of proper ears to hear their horses’ bellies growl) and fussin about gettin wet and slimy, especially the people-fillies fussin about gettin their forelocks wet. Y’all know who’s happy to get wet and slimy for some fast food? Horses. And then they had to hold the entire apple in their tiny people-teeth and run with it and their good horse. And then finally, at the “finish line,” their horse got to eat the apple, after all that.

But I didn’t get to eat a bobbed-apple ‘cause my bucket gal wasn’t willin to stick her head inside a slimy, slobbery, cloudy bucket to bob one for me, irregardless of that fact I don’t generally care for apples.

In the end, though, I reckon my patriotic sacrifice for the hunger games was worth it. I got all the rest of my hay, along with lots of crunchy cold carrots. And I got a sham poo bath and then I got to roll, and roll some more. And I got a tale to tell, which is always a good thing, too, especially when I get to tell it on a full stomach on a lazy day of bein a mostly retired horse right here on the County Island.

 

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Dogged

Usually, if you’re bein tailed by somethin, the thing that’s tailin ya doesn’t want ya to know about it. That’s likely why people call it bein tailed in the first place, on account of it’s somethin unseeable and unhearable that’s tailin after ya as quiet and natural-like as your own tail. Move along, nothin to see here, just your own tail tailin ya down the trail…

I’ve been tailed before, mostly by coyotes or sometimes by a big, bored cat, but also by people-colts here on the County Island, like I told about before, and people-colts suck at tailin horses, pardon my french. You know what else sucks at tailin? Well, you’ll know. Shortly, so to speak.

Me and my tail, and my bucket gal, were tailin down a dirt road in the blessed cool peacefulness of an early mornin in the hot time, mindin our own business as is proper.

Somethin tickled my back fetlocks about as soft as a fly that comes in for a landin and then changes his mind at the last minute. So I kept walkin. And it tickled me again. Then the tickle maybe woofed at me, which seemed funny. So I turned my head and the bucket gal turned hers, but we didn’t see anything.

“Boooooo!” A man’s voice hollered, and I thought, well, boo’s a terrible thing to yell at a horse, ain’t it? And I kept walkin.

“Boo! C’mere! BOOOO!”

I turned again and somethin shot past my front hoof faster than a rattlesnake’s strike. The boo was a dog! Barely. It was white with brown patches, and ears that flopped, and a fat baby belly, and a stub of a tail that couldn’t stay still, and the whole of it stood no taller than the top of my own hoof. The li’l pup planted itself in front of me, and set to givin me the biggest, baddest tiny barks full of what-for that I’ve ever heard in my entire horse-life. It was funny — I kinda liked it, in a pointless way.

I took a step toward it, mostly to try to hear way down there.

Away it skittered, but not toward the man that was callin it. It continued its discourse from a safer distance, with some up and down bouncin and some whole-body wigglin.

The bucket gal reined me away, and we set off walkin again. With a barkin Boo on my heels.

We stopped. Boo stopped.

We turned. Boo turned.

Boo’s fella came kinda close, but I sensed his greenhorn state and damn near smelled his fear that a big ol’ ranch horse such as myself might do him some bodily harm. But he also seemed scared I’d squash Boo. He wanted to get her, but she wouldn’t come close enough to him to get got, and also he wouldn’t come close enough to get her ‘cause she was too close to me. It was a stand-off that could’ve likely persisted ‘til sundown.

We tried again to leave the scene. I guess the bucket gal was hopin Boo’d head on home without havin a horse to harass.

But it didn’t work. Barkin Boo tailed us again. We turned back again. With a bark and a bounce, Boo backed right up.

I realized right then what I had before my hooves: a boo-cow! — which is to say, the itty-bitty County Island version of a moo-cow. In all my days, I never thought I’d wind up workin a boo-cow.

We moseyed toward li’l boo-cow again, and I put some pressure on her, in ranch lingo. I pointedly aimed both my ears at her and gave her my best workin-horse “git” face.

She bounced to the right, so I stepped to the right, and then I pushed her left.

Boo-cow thought it was a great game. She bounced farther left. I pushed her back to the right. And so on. She had some moves that’d make a catty cuttin horse boogie down with joy. Or, that’d make me stand stock still and let her use up all her own energy while I saved up mine. It’d be a long work day if a ranch horse danced around like a cuttin horse.

And pushin her back also wasn’t a peaceful process. She kept carryin on at me loudly, and her fella kept tryin to call her to no good end. I’m nearly fluent in dog, but puppy talk can be hard to pick up sometimes. I think she mostly was tellin me, “Play! Play! Play!” Such single-mindedness is real common among pups.

Her fella finally indicated his front ranch gate, and that I might be able to get his shorthorn of a boo-cow properly penned on the other side of it.

Which I did. And the bucket gal petted and praised me for my superior sortin skills. I may be rusty, but I still got it. And Boo’s fella said thanks as he scooped her into his arms once she was penned on his property. I reckon that’s one boo-cow that’s gonna be set out to graze on a real short tether from now on. I’d likely recommend a cow bell for her, too, but a cow bell’d be bigger and heavier than her whole head, so, well, there’s that.

If there’s any moral at all to this tale, which is questionable, I guess it’d be that sometimes an unexpected bit of Boo can be good for what tail’s ya.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Latest Buzz

Once upon a County Island day, a dark cloud descended upon our little horse-corral while myself, Original Coors, and Coors Light was settin to eat our supper hay. Only instead of bein a normal cloud carryin refreshin rain, it was an angry cloud filled with killer bees. And instead of settlin in above our heads up high in the sky and givin us fresh water which makes mud for a horse to roll in, and sometimes tiny bits of grass for a horse to savor, the angry killer bee cloud settled in to a bush by our own buckets and the prancin arena and the big people-barn, and didn’t give nobody nor no horse nothin except grief on account of its general disagreeableness.

Now, mostly, if you leave bees alone, they leave you alone, and everybody goes about mindin their own business. That’s how I believe things ought to work generally and also especially as regards any critter that’s got “killer” in its name. That’s how it also worked back at the ranch where I was raised. Your nose may get stung now and again from pokin it in the wrong pokey place where a bee’s at, but a bee sting don’t sting much compared to all the other stings that can sting a horse. You’ll likely live.

When you leave the bees alone, they go about makin more flower blossoms and that means more sweet and savory yellow palo verde flowers for me to eat. So bees are generally alright. But a killer bee, for those who don’t know, is a kind of bee that makes County Island people — to borrow the proper California words from the Coors brothers — totally freak out. A killer bee probably ain’t gonna kill a person nor a horse. Then again, if instead of a killer bee, ya got more killer bees than a horse could ever try to count, all bunched up together in a ball that was bigger than my own bucket and hangin from branch like a bunch of bad-asses, then they possibly might get all pissed off enough to kill somethin, I guess.

They were there for more than a day until they were noticed by our bucket gal. That’s how unobservant people are of their surroundins. Me, Coors, and Coors Light knew they was there, and therefore we was givin ‘em their space until they decided to buzz off to wherever else bees buzz. Over the top of my slow-feeder hay-box abomination that I had my face shoved down into eat my breakfast hay, I observed the bucket gal walkin aimlessly in the general direction of the big bee ball branch, and I thought, this ain’t gonna be good. Then she stopped, lookin spooked. Then she disappeared into the big people-barn, and I figured that was that.

Before we’d even finished our hay, Coors and Coors Light got led into their stalls, and I got tied to the rail in the shade, like we do when we’re due to see the horseshoer man. Only when the bucket gal opened the corral gate, instead of his big rig, a little rumbly-truck came in that had a big bee drawn upon its side, like a ranch brand of a bee only on a rumbly-truck instead of on a horse or a cow, and instead of backin the little rumbly-truck up to the mare motel where us horses were, it backed itself up to the buzzin ball of bees on the bush branch.

The bee rancher got out and said somethin to the bucket gal about how if the bees was good bees, he was gonna gentle ‘em a bit with some kinda fly spray and then haul ‘em back to his own bee ranch, in what looked to be a tiny little white bee stock trailer he brought with him and set down on the dirt. That kinda made sense, on account of it’s always a good idea to add some new bloodlines to the herd. But, he said, if they was bad bees, he was gonna “exterminate” ‘em on the spot and kill them killer bees dead.

Instead of a Stetson, the bee rancher put on a big floppy white hat with what appeared to be a big ol’ fly mask attached to it. And instead of proper work gloves, he wore floppy white ones wrapped up with more fly mask mesh. This was fixin to be the freakiest roundup I’d ever seen, so I had to crane my neck to see more of it.

The bucket gal came trottin back to us, where we was all a safe enough distance not to get stampeded by the killer bees if all hell broke loose like it does sometimes on a roundup.

The bee rancher adjusted the brim of his hat, and pulled out what I thought was gonna be a gun, and then I wondered if he aimed to actually shoot all the bees dead, which’d be ridiculous if he tried and downright miraculous if he succeeded. But it was a enormous bottle of what must’ve been fly spray.

“Okay, these are bad bees!” he yelled. “They’re really angry with me!”

Well, hell, I would be, too, if I was a bee.

And then he sprayed the giant ball of bees that was now buzzin like they all meant business with the fly spray and startin to swarm all around his fly mask hat, and there they dropped, dead. The roundup turned showdown was over.

But it still ain’t over on the County Island.

This past week, Coors Light said when he was bein trotted down a dusty road, he saw another rumbly-truck bearin the brand of the Bee Ranch, only this truck was also colored to look entirely like a bee itself, all stripey and black and yellow. And the bee rancher he saw step out of it, before he got reined back to lookin where he was goin and made to keep movin forward, was attired in not only the giant floppy white fly mask bee cowboy hat and the giant fly mask mesh gloves, but also a whole, entire spooky white fly sheet wrapped all around his entire body so he was hardly recognizable as a human at all. Coors Light surmised he was tryin to bluff the bees into thinkin he was a mere horse decked out in pampered pet horse turnout clothes, so as to sneak in close to ‘em before whippin out his gallon of Flyect and exterminatin ‘em dead.

Seems to me like tryin to bluff killer bees thusly would be a bad idea. And Coors Light’s been known to embellish. But y’all can believe me when I say I’ll be regardin any buzzin black clouds that come passin through these parts with a tiny bit more trepidation than I would’ve done before, in case there’s further cause for folks to freak out more than they usually do here about bees on the County Island.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Who Rules the Roost?

Why do so many folks think it’s funny to ask, “Why’d the chicken cross the road?” Seems to me if one was inclined to pose a question regardin a chicken, there’d be better questions to ask. Of course, the best chicken question to ask, in my estimation, would be no chicken question at all. Some folks, and some horses, ask too many questions. So, why’d the chicken cross the road? Well, I reckon on account of that’s what chickens do sometimes.

Chickens do what chickens do, and horses do what horses do, and people do whatever it is people do, and dogs do what dogs do. Only, on the County Island, we got some dogs that don’t.

The first time I realized what they was doin, or not doin, I swung my head sideways so hard I danged near brained myself on the bucket gal’s saddle stirrup. We was in the wash that runs through the County Island, moseyin with no purpose, like we do. And I saw some kinda hairy big pet dogs lyin on a wood bench behind some kennel wire, but dogs don’t bother me none. And they kinda woofed, which also don’t bother me none. And then I saw some more tiny hairy dogs peckin at the dirt through the kennel wire at the edge of the wash, and then they kinda clucked. Chickens! And dogs. Sharin the same space. Like a goddamn, pardon my french, peaceable animal kingdom! And that was when I nearly knocked myself out to get another glance at ’em.

What was the County Island comin to? The bucket gal let me turn and face ’em, and I gave them dogs a long, hard, pinned-ear look that asked the only chicken-related question I ever intend to ask, and it wasn’t no joke: “What’s the hell’s the matter with you? Why don’tcha go eat a chicken like a proper dog?”

And the dogs just trotted over to the fence and the chickens, and wagged their tails. And the chickens clucked.

I swung my head at the chickens. “Why don’t y’all go cluck yourse—”

And one of the dogs gave me a woof of disapproval. Dogs defendin chickens?

I gave up, on account of I’m a horse who gives up easy when an argument ain’t his to win. Their bird-brained behavior wasn’t any of my business, anyhow. And, I got much better things to think about durin my trail rides than dogs and chickens, such as how long it is ’til my next feedin time, or bucket time.

But me and those hen-pecked hounds got a regular ritual now, by way of greetin each other each time I ride by. And I think we all kinda enjoy it in our own way.

They bark in my general direction and proclaim, “Horse, horse, horse!” Like “horse” is real important for a dog to yell all random-like, and sometimes downright half-heartedly.

And I swivel a ear or maybe scrunch up a nostril, and I indicate right back at ’em, “Eat a chicken!”

No offense to the chickens. I reckon it’s just what’s done to ‘em sometimes, in more normal places.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Hard Wired

You ever watch another horse settin to lean on a stretch of hot wire or, worse, barbed wire, and wonder if you should maybe try to stop him, or wonder why you’d bother doin that since any horse with half his horse sense should already know what happens when you lean on wire? Generally, I mind my own business and let a horse learn the hard way. After all, ain’t nobody forcin him to lean on it. If his volition wills him to zap himself or poke a hole through his own hide, maybe it’ll zap or poke some sense back into him. But, it usually doesn’t. Some horses keep goin down to the wire and bein sorely surprised by it every time. That’s just the way they’re wired.

For those addled County Island horses who don’t know what hot wire is, it’s kind of like a skinny long grey run of rope that the people will stretch from one end of a fenceline to the other, generally to prevent horses from doin things a horse would like to do, such as leanin on the fence maybe to itch his itchy spots, or leanin through it to graze the greener grass. And it may look like a rope, but it’s a rope that bites and pops and zaps. It could likely zap a horse clean off his hooves, far worse than how you get zapped by the shocky dryness in the cold time.

And a barbed wire is exactly what you’d expect it to be, a run of ropey wire covered with tiny barbs as pointy as cactus spines. That stuf’ll mess a horse up good.

The fella who keeps our feet trimmed all purty related an occurrence with a cow which reminded me of wire, while I was stuck tied there with one back leg held up in the air near his rasp while he paused to tell a tale.

As he tells it, it took place on a proper ranch, which is what got my ears pricked to begin with. And the ranch hands was stringin hot wire across a patch of fenceline that stretched across a small waterin hole, where the cattle was crossin through in the water runnin beneath the fence and thus wreakin general havoc on the wrong side of the rangeland they was supposed to graze.

It already had long, twisty strands of barbed wire on it, but cows are all-around thicker-skinned than us horses, and they generally don’t give a cow chip if they catch their hide on the barbs if they can otherwise walk under ‘em. And these cantankerous cattle did indeed regularly catch the hide across their backs on the barbed wire, but I’d wager they wore those wire scars with a smug sense of satisfaction, if I know my cattle, and I do. And so, the ranch hands ran the hot wire across the barbed wire and done made the entire deal electric across the pond to put an end to the illegal bovine border crossin.

And then the bull came, to bull his way on through the pond and the fenceline by his usual waterway.

Our horseshoein man said the bull never was the same, after that.

When he hit the newly hot wire, he flew more than a few feet and landed twitchin in the water with his legs stuck straight out like he was surely a goner, and there he laid for a real long time. Our bucket gal thusly wanted to know if the air also smelled like barbecue, but our horseshoein man said no, it did not, so there’s that.

I don’t know about the rest of the herd and the hot wire, ‘cause the tale wasn’t about them, but seems to me like the moral of the story ought to be a bull can lead himself to hot wire, but even bein shocked near to death can’t make him sink.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

A Snake in the Gas

Don't spook — it ain't a real snake,

Don’t spook — it ain’t a real snake. This ain’t even about snakes, so try and relax.

 

A horse gets used to all the loud and rumbly things the people love so much, despite his sensitive ears. On the ranch, there were rumbly trucks, rumbly cars, rumbly tractors, and rumbly quads. On the County Island, there’s also rumbly rolly-bikes called hogs, which is a ridiculous thing to call a thing that ain’t a hog. The point is, a good horse learns to ignore all the things that rumble. And, in a crazy, mixed-up kinda County Island way, a horse also learns to distrust things that don’t rumble. A lot of horses find themselves wonderin, why don’t they rumble? And, what the hell’s wrong with ’em, after all? Pardon my french.

Original Coors nearly got pounced upon recently by such a stealthy stalker with no rumble to it at all. They’ll do their best to bamboozle a horse. I never saw ‘em before back at the ranch, but since I arrived on the County Island, seems like I’m startin to see ‘em more regularly, which tells me the County Island must be becomin a better breedin ground for ‘em, and obviously they ain’t got many predators to hunt ‘em down and take care of the population control. Or however such things work with ‘em. Bein a horse, I mostly don’t know, and also don’t care.

But for all you horses that have never met one before, I ought to offer up some first-hoof advice for survivin this souped-up snake in the grass when you’re bein rode, as part of my aim to educate the horses, people and critters of the County Island. I’ll start by describin Coors’ own encounter with one. No, I ain’t gonna let him tell it. I made that mistake once before with Coors Light, and I ain’t a horse who makes a mistake more than once. If the fence line’s been made electric, I ain’t got to lean on the wire twice to be sure.

It was your typical pointless County Island trail ride. Original Coors had just been passed by at least two rumbly vehicles: a big ol’ rumbly truck that’s called a FED EX, which rumbles all over the County Island nearly all day long, every day, like it’s got no sense of direction at all, and also a special rumbly car that most of the men-folk get all mare-eyed over, called a “classic muscle car.” Coors said the muscle car galloped on by him like it was runnin from a burnin barn instead of bein drove in what’s usually more of a trottin-only zone for people-cars. But Coors didn’t pay no attention to neither, on account of he’s a purty good horse overall who ain’t spooked by things that rumble.

And just as with rattlesnakes along the trail, where it ain’t the first horse nor even the second horse that gets rattled at, it’s the third horse that catches the tail end of the snake’s temper, on this day, it was the third thing that almost rattled Original Coors. Only it didn’t rattle, and it never will. That’s how it bamboozles a horse.

Coors didn’t know it was tailin him until it was nearly upon his own tail. That’s how deceitfully silent they are. And he jumped nearly out of his own Ayrab horse skin, but then he turned to face it.

And that’s what y’all need to do, too. Instead of high-tailin it in the opposite direction like your own good horse-instincts tell ya, simply stand and face it, like you’d do if you’re bein hassled by a hound-dog.

Go ahead and give it a hard look. Pin your ears at it, too, if ya want. I promise there’s nothin to be afraid of. When you confront it, you’ll know it’s just another type of contraption the people drive around on the roads, and it’ll surely stop, or back down by way of slowin down and bein polite and rememberin its own manners, or sometimes it’ll even realize the severity of the situation and turn its rumble on. Yeah, it’s actually got a real soft rumble, but it’s still got one. Makes no sense not to use what ya got, if ya got a rumble to start with.

What it truthfully is, is called a prius, which is a human nonsense-word for a grade car, and by grade I mean an entirely unpapered and unpedigreed mongrel of an automobile, such as when a Shetland pony gets mixed up with a donkey and creates what’s called an ironical “hybrid,” and then all hell breaks loose with that combination all mixed into one cantankerous li’l critter. That right there’s what a prius is to a horse.

It’s the most slick and shifty sonofabitch you’ll likely ever see. French already pardoned. Even I sometimes sidestep ‘em a tiny bit, or maybe give ‘em a questionable ear-tilt when they go by without makin any sound.

Wantin to jump away and run’s a sensible thing for a horse, especially since we’ve all heard the tales from our own dams, and their dams’ dams, and so forth before ‘em, about what the mountain lions and the bears can do to an unsuspectin horse. But we got to get the better of our own good horse-instincts in this instance lest we all turn into those horses who spook at their own shadows on the ground all the time. A horse can’t live in constant fear. And like I said, seems like the herd’s growin here upon the County Island. The best thing we can do is send our own fears packin and hope that these priuses is a people-fad such as crossin big ol’ hairy Friesian horses with li’l wispy tiny halter Ayrab horses that’ll someday fade away of its own silent volition.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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