Seems like every time the hot time rolls around here on the County Island, us three horses get put inside the bucket gal’s rollin white horse box and taken to a place called summer camp, which is at the prancin lady’s house, which is where horses go to live when the humans do some manner of people-activity called a vacation. Now, I don’t know, and truthfully I got no interest in knowin, if people ever go to summer camps themselves, but for a horse, I reckon the best part of summer camp is makin new friends, gettin down and dirty with no groomin nor shampoo baths, and playin horse-games from sun-up ‘til sun-down.
Now, you know County Island horses wear “fly masks” over our faces, right? I told ya about fly masks back here and also here. I never had a fly mask back at the ranch, and the very first time the bucket gal approached me with one and wrapped it over my face, I figured I was blindfolded. Then I realized I could still see through it, and I could see the flies, but they couldn’t see me.
Speakin of seein me, I saw a mini me at summer camp this time! He was about a half-size Whiskey, a golden palomino pony who I call Rye, ‘cause it’s like he was distilled down to pony-size from me. Get it? And when the bucket gal dropped us off at summer camp, she put Coors Light next to Rye, and me next to Coors Light, and Original Coors off to the side, leavin Coors Light in the middle between me and my new li’l buddy, like the unlikely fillin inside a palomino sandwich, if there was a sandwich made of palomino, which would be ridiculous.
Li’l Rye had a wry outlook on things, as all good palominos do. And we shared many a conversation across the paddock fence, about palomino things. And he had some ponytude too, which I reckon is helpful when he’s learnin the littlest buckaroos how to ride, which is his job, ‘cause the only critters that have more ponytude than a pony are human-foals. I reckon each is a good match for the other, in terms of ‘tude.
So… where was I? Summer camp… horse-games… fly masks… palomino sandwich…
I had absolutely, positively nothin at all to do with the untimely demise of Coors Light’s fly mask at summer camp.
That was all his own doin. Well, maybe me and Rye helped.
Rye showed us a horse-game I’d never heard of before. The very first day of camp, he reached his tiny yellow nose into Coors Light’s pen, grabbed the top of Coors Light’s fly mask with his tiny, precise pony teeth, and yanked it clean off! Then he held it in his teeth and spun it in a big ol’ circle in the air, like he was sayin, “Woooo! Lookit me, I’m flyin a fly mask in the air!” And then, he tossed it with no lack of practiced skill most of the way across Coors Light’s pen, and indicated I should get it, quick.
“Keep away from the Arab horse!” he nickered, while Coors Light shook his now fly-dotted face and stomped the ground, and Original Coors over on the other side pricked his ears.
So I reached my head down through the fence rail, and picked it up sorta gingerly. It didn’t feel right to me, doin this. I like my own fly mask, a lot. But this wasn’t my mask, was it? I held it there in my lips for a spell, ponderin everythin a horse knows of right versus wrong.
“It’s okay,” Rye seemed to say to me, “If this one gets destroyed, your person will buy you a new one. They always do.”
And then, I gave it a tiny twirl. Heh. That was fun. I twirled it some more. And some more. And some more, boy-howdy!
“Send it back to me! Keep away from Coors Light!” Rye nodded. So I tossed it back. But it landed in the middle of Coors Light’s pen. Coors Light picked it up in his teeth, paused, shook his head to displace a fly – then, if y’all can believe it, he tossed it back to Rye, who tossed it back to the middle, where Coors Light retrieved it, tossed it to me, and I tossed it back to him, then him to Rye, and so on! Original Coors, meanwhile, became our cheerin section.
Every day of summer camp, we played keep-away, tossin and twirlin that ol’ fly mask back and forth, from Rye, to Coors Light, to me, to Coors Light, to Rye, and back again. Coors Light even took to holdin his head high in the air, and wavin his very own fly mask over his head, as if to shout, “Woohoo! Keep away from me!”
Sometimes, the guy who fed us would retrieve the now fairly well-frayed fly mask from the dirt where maybe one of us had stomped it, or pooped on it (and that wasn’t me, I assure you), and he’d shake it off, or hose it off, and put it back on Coors Light’s head as best he could.
By summer camp’s conclusion, it was shredded nearly clean in half, and hung on the fence rail in two tattered pieces. The soft furry fuzzy trim of it was gone, torn off in bits, scattered to the earth, and scooped up by the birds to line their nests with. It was a right sorrowful specimen of a former fly mask. The feedin guy and the prancin lady declared it to be beyond even duct tape, whatever that means. But they saved the evidence to show our bucket gal, when she eventually came to fetch us home.
And Rye was right. There was no repercussions against any of us! And Coors Light got a brand-new fly mask that very day!
It still don’t feel entirely right to me to engage in such egregious entertainment on a regular basis. I guess my honest ranch horse roots still got a hold on me. But if you ain’t never played fly mask keep-away before, I recommend you give it a try.