There comes a time in the life of every ranch horse, no matter how peaceable you may be in your nature, whether you’re the alpha or at the bottom of the feed trough, when you got to take a stand for what’s right. Oh, I don’t mean when the people pull your cinch up too fast, too tight against your belly, which I do not like at all, or run you up another mesa when your hooves is already dead sore and tired from runnin hard all day. This ain’t got nothin to do with the people at all. I’m talkin about fair equine representation in the field, the actual field where us horses live. No matter who says they’re boss hoss on any given day, every ranch horse has got the right to be free from the tyranny of herd majority, especially a majority of one.
I’d been livin with Original Coors for a while, in the time before we got stuck livin with Coors Light, too. I’d already spent most of my life stayin out of the way of skirmishes, keepin my head down to work and mindin my own business.
“I don’t want no trouble here” is kinda my creed. That was a lesson I started learnin young, and often – the hard way, as you can see by the scar I got runnin all along my tongue from runnin off at the mouth a time too many.
So when Coors, who I could tell by the way he postured a bit too readily had never been in charge of nothin before, set himself up to be in charge of me in our tiny herd of two, I said to him, sure, alright, whatever you say, jefe. And I meant it sincere, mostly. It was still a sweet deal bein a pleasure horse on the County Island, even with Coors’ swaggerin and over-bossin me all the time. I knew how to side-step and stay outa the way. And I let him believe he was in charge.
But truth to tell, after a while, well, I started feelin sorely taxed by my situation.
It started with a pair of pinned ears and a shove at suppertime over a pile of hay, as it usually did. Only this time, when Coors set to shovin, I didn’t allow myself to be shoved. There was four hay piles, for two horses – more than enough for us both. A horse can only eat from one pile of hay at a time. But Coors, he wanted his and mine, too. He wanted all the hay piles, all the time. He’d grown a bit greedy on his new power, ya see. His sense of sovereignty had become as bloated as his belly was gettin to be from stuffin himself with my rightful share meal after meal.
So this time, I might have openly resisted him. And by resisted, I mean I gave him one clear warnin of my intention, and when he didn’t heed it, I backed up toward him and set of a series of rapid-fire hoof-shots and squeals heard ‘round the County Island, and probably on other County Islands and maybe even way back at the ranch, too.
I don’t guess no rebellion ever starts out expectin the other side to concede straight away. You expect there to be more than one battle in the field, anyway, and you prepare yourself for that eventuality even as you’re throwin all the ammo you got at ‘em up-front. But sometimes, the fight’s short-lived, and even a regiment of one ranch horse can easily overcome injustice if he believes in what he’s doin hard enough. That’s somethin all mama horses ought to be teachin their colts and fillies from the moment they’re foaled.
So, I restored rule of law to our corral, and by that I mean my rule of law, in maybe five minutes flat. I didn’t even break a sweat. In fact, I was still chewin my hay the whole time I was kicking and bitin and squealin and spinnin. Like the cowboys used to say sometimes, “Don’t make me put down my beer…” I left poor Coors, and some small part of me did feel right sorry for him, standin in a settlin cloud of dust, sweatin profusely and lookin for all the world like he had no idea what in tarnation just transpired.
Our gal came runnin outside right after it was all over. She stood there in the dust cloud I’d made, lookin from me, peaceably eatin my supper, to Coors, snortin and stompin the ground like he does when he’s frustrated, back to me again, then back to Coors, so I nickered friendly at her to say hey there, and yeah, it’s all cool here now.
And it was, and it still is, for the most part. But even so, a ranch horse has got to remain at the ready, especially when there’s food involved.