As y’all probably know by now, I’m not a horse that likes to make more work for myself. I’ve done more real, hard, honest work in my life than any pleasure horse or prancey horse or “show” horse ever will, which is how I earned myself such a comfortable retirement lifestyle here on the County Island. Well, it’s more of a semi-retirement, although the work I do now could hardly be called work by a more reputable horse.
Used to be, I was up long before sun-up with my nose in the last of my hay pile, tryin to swipe one more bite before my cowboy came and slung a saddle over my back and shoved a steely spade bit in my mouth and set off to work with me for the day. And by day I mean from sun-up to sun-down, not “day” the way a prancey horse means it like, “Oooh, I worked so hard today in my 45-minute prancey lesson.” And my long days were mostly spent workin cattle.
Here on the County Island, the people play stupid cow games with cattle instead of workin ‘em. The most popular game is one I like to call “spend the whole damned day movin 10 cows back and forth repeatedly from one end of a little pen and back again for no good reason, always in the same order even if ya start with a different cow each time, which the people can never seem to keep track of, but a horse easily can, so why don’t they just turn a horse loose to move the cows to the other end, in the proper order, quick like a jackrabbit, and then we can all call it a day?” But I guess most folks call it “team penning.” Sometimes the bucket gal takes me to play “spend the whole damned day,” too. Sometimes it may also be – and you are not to tell a soul I said this, especially not my horse buddies Coors or Coors Light or the bucket gal herself – kinda fun. In a pointless way, that is.
Their second most favorite stupid cow game on the County Island is one I call “rope a cow but don’t actually do somethin useful like brand it or doctor it,” or “roping” in people lingo. I see a whole lot of amateur “rope a cow” in action when I go out amblin around the County Island on my trail rides. Lots of people here keep pet cows (which is always a bad idea, as I expounded upon back in the tale of Moo and the rainy night) and use ‘em to play “rope a cow.”
Even more confoundin than that, when there ain’t no coddled pet cows to be found, or – get this – if they don’t want to get the pet cows too tired out (I know!), they will enlist the aid of a contraption that looks like cow, sorta, but it ain’t a for-real cow, and it’s got wheels like they put the dummy cow on top of ATV wheels (an ATV is what the bucket gal uses to till the dirt in her prancin arena to make it have purty lines in it so I can gallop through ‘em and put my hoof marks everywhere) instead of havin legs, and then they use another ATV to pull around the ATV dummy cow. I’m not bullshittin you! Pardon my french.
And then they expect a horse to take this game seriously and let their rider rope a goddamned ATV dummy cow, over, and over, and over, and over, while a poor horse lopes after it over, and over, and over, and over…
For what end?
The County Island people don’t seem to comprehend that no cows means no work. That’s a good thing. Look, I am sure the ATV dummy cow is a fine people-made contraption. I mean to say, the people here who got ‘em seem enamored enough.
But to me, the whole notion’s as half-baked as a hog in a hickory pit. I was originally lookin to make more of a cow comparison for my finale, but sometimes a pig’ll do better.