Today upon our little horse corral-ranch on the County Island, us three horses got what’s called de-wormed. That’s the process by which the people take the worms out of a horse that they think done got into a horse, somehow. How it happens, I don’t know, worms gettin into a horse’s insides. Nor why it happens nor why a worm would want to be inside a horse to start with, I also don’t know. Nor do I know why the people can’t just let the worms be where they want to be and not worry about a horse and his worms. But then, I’m a ranch horse, not a doctor. But it does happen, I can assure you, worms gettin into horses. And so it’s one of the small things a good horse has got to put up with, bein de-wormed with what’s called de-wormer paste.
Coors and Coors Light don’t like to be de-wormed much, Original Coors moreso than his brother.
For those horses that maybe ain’t never been de-wormed, de-wormer paste is like … well, it’s white in color… usually … and it’s thick, and it squirts into a horse’s mouth. I reckon that’s the best I can describe it with my people-words.
Oh, they’ll stand still for it fine, the Coors brothers, but Coors scrunches up his big nose and his whole face like it could get stuck that way permanently. And then he tries hard not to swallow the de-wormer. And then he sets to droolin on account of he ain’t swallowin nor hardly breathin, standing there and lookin like he’s got the rabies. And then he pouts. The poutin part’s the worst of it. He’ll say things like he did today, such as, “Now I can’t eat my dinner at all and I’m probably going starve to death! Everything tastes like de-wormer! Yuck!” And he’ll pout in a corner of his stall, not eatin nor swallowin for as long as he can stand to, which is purty long. But he’ll swallow and eat eventually. Coors not eatin is like a scorpion not stingin. It ain’t gonna happen.
Coors Light makes faces. And rubs his nose in the dirt, like he could rub the de-wormer out that way. He’ll even set to mouthin the dirt on the ground, ‘cause he says dirt tastes better than de-wormer does, and the dirt grit helps to wash the taste away. That’s desperation, right there.
Me, I remember the old days. And so I don’t think de-wormer’s bad at all. And however ridiculous the people’s reasons may be, I reckon it’s kinda nice they care about horse-worms at all. At least they’re takin an interest in us. Coors and Coors Light, they’re too young to know about the old days and the old ways of horse de-wormin.
Back then, a horse’d get de-wormed once a people-year, if he was lucky. Otherwise, he’d go around ‘til his belly was so full of worms he could hardly move anymore. And then soon that’d be the end of him, worms and all. And when ya got de-wormed once a people-year, it wasn’t no tiny little paste placed upon the back of a horse’s tongue, flavored sometimes as de-wormer paste is with apple (and the Coors brothers don’t even appreciate when it’s got apple flavor! They say if the apple flavor tastes so danged good, the bucket gal should eat it herself!).
No, it weren’t no apple-paste back then. It was a black hose bigger and longer than the biggest black snake any horse has ever seen. In fact, some horses feared it, and thought it was a big black snake bein snaked all the way down a horse’s throat, through his nostrils, I might add, all the danged way down into his belly full of worms. And the vet would pump the worm-killin medicine down there, and believe you me, it was not apple-flavor.
And before the vet even got there with his long black hose, a horse couldn’t eat any food for right about twelve people-hours – from suppertime the night before, to long, long past when he should’ve got his breakfast in the mornin, on account of there couldn’t be any food in his belly when the worm-killin medicine got put there to kill the worms. Again, I don’t know the whys of the thing.
So, pretty much, if ya got a black snake-hose shoved down your throat by a ranch vet once a year, you said thank-you to the vet, and you were grateful for it.
I told Coors and Coors Light all this, and they stood there with big ol’ disbelievin brown Ayrab-horse eyes, still whinin amongst themselves about the putrid poison of paste de-wormers, and told me I was makin up another spooky story, about vets and worms and snakes. Coors Light also wanted to know if the vet had to drive his truck uphill both ways to the ranch. He’s the more flippant of the two.
Some days I don’t believe it pays to tell the truth.