One of the many idiotic pleasure-horse notions that I learned about since I got sent from the ranch to live here on the County Island is what’s called a “takin a walk break.” Right there, ya got two notions that don’t rightly go together: walkin, and takin a break. I guess it’s all part of the confusion that people and horses on the County Island got about multi-taskin.
A ranch horse can walk all day long, while workin out on the range and doin purposeful things. I should know; I done it often enough. Walkin is walkin, and takin a break is takin a break. A break means standin still tied up someplace, preferably without your saddle and bridle still on, or at the very least standin tied with your saddle cinch loose around your belly, and preferably standin in the shade. With your eyes shut, while the cowboys have a siesta or crack a cold one. I don’t see how a person could honestly confuse the two.
But they do, especially the County Island people that got them prancey horses, like Coors Light is. I been watchin ‘em do their prancey horse “dressage” practicin in the ridin arena, makin circle after danged circle, tryin to make it the prancey-est and the fanciest it can be, I reckon. No, I don’t see the point. And the people don’t ever say that it’s purty enough; it could always be prancier. The cows don’t care how purty ya look or if your toes flip up in the air when ya trot. But after what seems to me like a inordinate number of prancey circles performed this way and that way, trottin and lopin fancy, and such, when the people finally do get around to givin a horse a break – damned if they ain’t still walkin.
Not only that, most of the time, they got that poor prancey horse doin what’s called “walkin on the bit,” which really ain’t got no point to it, even less of a point than all the circlin around, ‘cause at least sometimes you got to circle in tight around an ornery cow.
I had to snort out loud the first time I heard the expression “on the bit.” Yeah, I got a bit in my mouth when I got my bridle on. Ain’t that enough for ya? But the prancey horses don’t know no better, and they think that when the people got them walkin on the bit in between ridin all them circles, they’re takin a break. And when they’re walkin and takin a break “on the bit,” the people keep right on wigglin on the reins at ‘em and thereby wigglin the bit around in their horse’s mouth to make ‘em bend their necks this way and that way, and they’re always pesterin ‘em with their legs bumpin on a poor, tired prancey horse’s sides. Not that I really feel for the prancey horses, ‘cause prancin surely ain’t the same as workin all day long, but it does look kinda vexatious.
So here’s my recommendation for y’all: Just let a danged horse walk, if ya want him to walk, why don’tcha? And if you’re fixin to take a break, then by god, just do it. Us horses will always be happy to comply.