County Island nights are mostly peaceful for me, Coors and Coors Light, out under the trees and the moon in our own little horse-corral, except for the occasional barkin of a dog, singin of a coyote, rumblin of a rumbly-car or any sort of rabbit ruckus. But there was a night when a steady stream of people-babble echoed and echoed all through the air around a horse’s sensitive ears, from the dusk time when we get our supper hay to long past the time when all the hay’s inside our bellies and our bucket gal comes out from the people-barn to feed us carrots and wish us a good night, which is called “bed check.”
The babble went as such.
“Bubida bubida bubida bubida HEY bubida bubida bubida FIFTEEN DO I HEAR FIFTEEN bubida bubida bubida…” And so forth.
The “bubida” parts was easy enough to ignore, but it was the HEYs that kept prickin my own ears, mostly on account of there was a man yellin HAY, but still. Nobody brought us no hay at all, no matter how many times he called out for the hay.
I raised my head in the general direction of all the commotion, and indicated to my horse compadres that it reminded me of the sounds of a ranch auction, only ranch auctions was held durin proper daylight hours and without so much whoop-dee-do. I should know, as I’d been run through enough of ‘em before my hooves landed here. Also, as far as I know, there ain’t not even one proper ranch that falls within my earshot on the whole, entire County Island, so surely it wasn’t a ranch horse auction.
Coors and Coors Light pricked their Ayrab-horse ears, too, and then they gave each other the Ayrab hairy eyeball and shook their heads and blew through their nostrils. Coors Light said it was a Ayrab halter horse auction. I reckon if anyhorse would know if a thing pertained to Ayrabs, it’d be a pair of Ayrabs.
But a halter horse auction? That’d be ridiculous. Even for Ayrabs.
Every horse has got a halter. The one I got now’s black with some kinda brown and colory design thing on it but it’s all grown kinda dirty and worn-like on account of bein a useful thing, which there ain’t no shame in, not for a halter nor the horse it’s on. And there ain’t nothin special nor useful about your ability to have your halter strapped around your head, much less to get a bunch of people to prattle on and on about ya all danged night long at an auction and be yellin HAY at ya all night.
Then there came more HAYs, and some SOLDs, and then a whole heck of a lot more bubida bubidas, and loud, echoey people-music to the point where it even drowned out the coyote chorus, or maybe it done scared off all the coyotes and other night critters, and then as suddenly as it all started, it stopped, and blessedly, finally all the noise was gone. But the scared-off night critters never did come back that night. I’d a been scared off, myself, if I wasn’t stuck inside the confines of the corral. And I still can’t hardly believe the Coors brothers knew what they was talkin about, no matter how much conviction they put into their snortin about it.
The next time I get rode along the County Island trail that goes past the spread where they keep all the fanciest, spindliest Ayrabs, which ain’t nothin like the two furry, fat fellas I’m stuck with, I plan to ask whichever horse is turned out in the turnout pen if he’s ever heard of a halter horse or a halter auction. I’d bet my own bucket on it there ain’t no such thing at all.