If you’re gonna run with the big dogs, first, you got to get over it. By you, well, I mean us horses. By run, I mean mostly trottin and also some lopin. Well, truthfully, mostly walkin. By big dogs, I mean beagle-dogs. Do ya see where this is goin?
By get over it, I mean hurry up and get over it. We can’t go nowhere chasin after bad beagle-dogs with the “hunt club” ‘til every last hunt club horse gets over the step-over and into the beagle-chasin, rabbit-runnin hills. On this particular day, it took a lot longer than it should.
My hocks could really bend back then to get over anythin at all. But I had to wait my turn that day and every day. In pointless rabbit-chasin, there’s a proper way to do it, called a “protocol,” just like in proper ranch work — although nobody would think there’d be anything proper nor orderly about somethin as silly as runnin after dogs that’s runnin after rabbits for no reason. But the tallest, most keyed-up horses have to go first, as they do the most runnin. Also, there’s more of them than of us. I was more than happy to be to be ridin at the back of the trailer, so to speak, with what’s called the short bus for nonsense people-reasons, as well as ‘cause most of us short bus horses were short. But my patience with the big horses ran a li’l short. I stood still and good like I always do, but maybe my ears betrayed me.
If the first horse won’t get over it, nobody can get over it. The first horse that mornin had some right cat-like cuttin horse moves on her — although she was a big ol’ warmblood and therefore not cut out for cow work — the way she danced left and right in front of the step-over. The bad news for her was we wasn’t cuttin cattle, and even if we was, we’d be more likely to find ‘em on the other side of the danged step-over. Eventually, the big mare squeezed her eyes shut tight, and jumped it like she was a jackrabbit herself. Her rider went with her, so that worked out alright for her.
The second horse planted his hooves ‘til they near grew roots. A team of beagle-chasin women dressed in their beagle finery finally formed a chain to lock their arms around his butt and try and push him over it from behind. It wasn’t pretty, and his hind hooves left long drag marks in the deep dirt, but it did work.
The third horse must’ve been payin close attention to the first two, on account of he also seemed to have a bad balk to him. A couple crop marks on his butt set his mind right.
It was set to be a real long day.
Didn’t these horses realize the quicker we got over the step-over to get the job done, the quicker we could all get right back here to our own hay nets at our own rollin horse-boxes? But, turned out, logic was scarcer than jackrabbits that day. Maybe it was the wind. It was a windy day, and that rattles some horses’ ears loose. Maybe if you’re a taller horse like these all was, the wind reaches more of the insides of your ears and tickles ‘em worse than how it reaches us smaller and more sensible horses.
Any horse can jump, the County Island people like to say, and I suppose that ought to include pickin up your own hooves from a walk to step over somethin.
Any horse can jump, that is, except for my buddy Coors Light. And even he likely could if he really wanted to. He can even step over a step-over, when he wants to.
But Coors Light trained the bucket gal to step down out of the saddle and walk him over. How about those apples.
That mornin with the beagle-dog and rabbit-chasin-after club, nobody was steppin down out of the saddle. That might’ve been easier, though, and surely it might’ve been faster.
I am generally opposed to speed. But I shuffled my own feet to try to say, come on, y’all. Let’s get this thing underway so we can wrap it back up! I could see my own hay bag out of the corner of my eye, hangin all by itself off my own rollin white horse-box, without me there rippin and tossin my hay from it with a happy hunger.
Finally, some sensible big, fast horses appeared, and right on over they went with their riders, lickity-split. Some of ‘em even split from the step-over at a dead run. This was more like it.
When our riders was finally tired of pesterin dogs and rabbits hours later, we all headed back to the horse-boxes with the same step-over between us and our feed. And I’ll be damned if there wasn’t one horse who required great persuasion to step back over the same step-over he didn’t want to step over to go out and run. And his rider did step down from the saddle. A great tug o’war commenced with her one one side, and her horse on the other. Both was flarin their nostrils pretty bad. Finally, he jumped the step-over like it was a great rattlesnake-infested ravine instead of a plain ol’ log not even as tall as his knees. Then the rest of us could go, too.
I suppose of the moral of the story is, some horses don’t have the sense to think ahead and consider the consequences of the way they behave. I don’t mean consider the way people consider, and consider, and consider, and keep on considerin and refusin to simply let go and get over a thing. People are terrible at lettin go. I mean consider your own hooves and your own stomach and where your hooves need to be to best serve your stomach. Also, there’s one in every herd that holds up the whole band’s forward progress, every single time. When it happens, all a good short-bus horse can do is wait his turn, get over it, and let it all go back to the rollin horse-box and his own sweet, sweet feed.