The way I was raised back at the ranch, a colt learned early and often to keep his hooves, teeth and opinions to himself, and to leave the ranch hands’ belongins alone with said hooves and teeth, no matter how temptin it might have been to, for instance, wrap his lips around the brim of that cowboy hat while the cowboy was leaned over pickin out his hooves, and yank it off his head for fun and wave it around in the air, because a horse could. Yeah, maybe I did that in my youth. Once.
And a colt also learned to make careful use of his hooves and teeth around other horses, for proper herd manners. A happy herd is a herd in which each horse keeps to himself unless he’s got good reason to make a point, and even then a horse has got to be judicious in usin force. And when a horse plays, he’d best keep everything to himself, too, lest he be the first horse durin the fun and games to accidentally get a kick or a bite in for real instead of for show, and then the horseplay fast turns to fightin for real.
But I reckon some horses never learned such things, or don’t care to. Take my horse-buddy Coors Light, for instance. He’s kind of a playful pest of a prancey horse, with a strong sense of humor. He likes to walk the line between play and fight on purpose. The bucket gal calls him a “pita,” whatever that means to a person, but she says it like it’s an affectionate thing, bein a pita. Original Coors says I should properly say it with more emphasis, like P.I.T.A. But still. And Coors Light mostly walks the line around me. I reckon he sees me as somethin of the ultimate extreme equine challenge.
And so I thought I’d tell y’all the most extreme stunts Coors Light’s ever pulled to try to get a rise out of me or Original Coors. He is, if nothin else, a right resourceful prancey pita horse:
- One time, and one time only, Coors Light shut me and him together inside the same stall pen. He likes to open things that should stay shut, and shut things that should stay open. The gate was open, so I went inside, and he had to follow me in, bein a pita, and nose the gate shut behind him. So since we was stuck together in there for the duration, I shut him into a corner by body-blockin him and darin him to try to move me, which he didn’t. But I think he liked it.
- He likes to hit me, with sticks. Or with palo verde branches he’s pulled down from the trees. Or not quite hit, but poke at me, kinda like accidental pokin, of which I’d like to add there is no such thing. Or lightly brush at me with a branch, across my hocks, or my hindquarters. Just enough to tickle like a fly that won’t quit pesterin a horse. Mostly he likes to do this when I’m asleep, be it standin with one leg restin and my eyes half-closed, or even better to him, when I’m snoozin flat out in the sand. I try to ignore it, I truthfully do. But even an old ranch horse can only tolerate so much before he leaps to his feet and runs backwards at the fleein offender with a double-barrel kick. In case ya ever wondered why Coors Light often sports so many bald patches on his rump.
- Sometimes, when I’m nappin in the sand on my side, if the hittin, pokin and/or brushin fails to get me to flick an ear or meaninfully kick out with a hind hoof, Coors Light will resort to bitin at my very flesh. It starts with what I call makin crab-faces at the air around, say, my hock. And then it builds to actual gummin at my leg, for god’s sake, and then cribbin on me as if I was wooden fence rail!
- The only funny thing I ever saw him do, and it was funny mostly because he was attemptin to do it to Original Coors, not me, happened after a long bout of fly-mask tag that was goin nowhere to Coors Light’s satisfaction – and by nowhere, I mean Original Coors thought it was still the best game ever, even when Coors Light started rippin at his fly mask in earnest. Fed up with his inability to irritate his brother, Coors Light cast his sights on what else he could throw at him – literally. And so Coors Light took the big plastic people-bench that was, and I say “was,” in the shade of the barn for the bucket gal and other people to sit on in the shade, and grabbed the back of it with his teeth, and pulled. And dragged. And pulled. And dragged. And flung his Ayrab horse neck with all his might, and damn near flung the entire plastic people-bench at Original Coors! ‘Cept he tripped over it before he got it airborne. I think Coors Light fallin over a plastic people-bench and then flippin his mane like he meant to do it might be the funniest thing I ever seen. Needless to say, the bucket gal took what remained of her people-bench away, and never did replace it. Somethin about G.D. P.I.T.A. horses.