I’m told I was supposed to go for what’s called a “club trail ride” a few or so people-days ago, which is called such for reasons unknown to a ranch horse. Only, the bucket gal decided she wanted to sleep in, instead, which meant not only did I not go on the “club trail ride,” which is alright by me, it also means us horses got fed kinda late that mornin, which ain’t alright by me, not that a horse can do much about it when he ain’t got access to the locked-up hay shed fortress. And then I still got rode later in the mornin, anyhow. Maybe sometime when the bucket gal comes to fetch me early to be rode, I’ll try tellin her I’d prefer to sleep in.
No, of course I wouldn’t truthfully do that. It’s all just hitchin-rail talk. I, unlike her, am too well-mannered and agreeable for such bad behavior, on account of I was raised right on the ranch. Which reminds me of my very first County Island “club trail ride.”
Up until that time, in my experience as a retired County Island pleasure horse, I’d only been on pointless but fun pleasure horse trail rides in the flat desert, with kinda pointless but fun horse companions to talk to along the trail. And by pointless, y’all know I mean such horses as prancey ones and also what’s called arena horse jumpers and hunters, though they ain’t never hunted no critters far as I could tell.
So the first time I rolled into a new trailhead in my bucket gal’s rollin white horse-box and I saw at least a dozen more rigs parked with horses tied to their trailers, all wearin proper workin horse western saddles, I thought to myself, well, these all look like useful sorts – sturdy Quarter Horses with big saddle bags strapped to their tack, and mules! The mules was wearin western saddles, too, which I reckoned was good thinkin in case a horse came up lame and ya needed to ride one of your pack mules. Mules is always a good sign that a useful job is about to come, as is lots of cowboy hats and stock trailers. And I saw all those.
We must be goin to do somethin for once, I thought. Nothin against the bucket gal and her “brain bucket” hat, but cowboy hats, from my ranch days, is what signifies real work. It’s just how I was raised; no offense to any other brain-bucket wearers. And I wondered how far off the cows were that day, and how long it’d take to bring ‘em all down? Because surely that would be the only reason for assembling 20 plus, maybe even 30 head of good horses outfitted in good workin tack and a few good mules on an early mornin at a new trailhead tied to stock trailers.
Turns out, it was just a trail ride! Albeit a bit longer, and hillier and more mountain-goaty, with a whole lot more rocks and boulders and such to traverse, and a whole lot more interestin to a ranch horse to navigate. And I guess we all climbed the mountain just to see what was on the other side of it. There was rocks and cactus on the other side, same as the side we started from. We never did see even one stray calf. A couple hours into the thing, it dawned on me maybe this here trail ride was all hat, no cattle, after all.
Speakin of hats, one of the fellas on the ride, who I thought might be a cowboy on account of he had the cowboy hat and the cowboy horse he rode in on, thought the bucket gal was a greenhorn on account of her brain-bucket hat and bein the only person in a brain-bucket hat that day, and set to offerin her all manner of friendly but unsolicited advice on how to control me, of all horses. Now, the bucket gal, if I might defend her but once in a while, ain’t a greenhorn. And I assuredly ain’t a green horse. Well, I’m palomino, but y’all already know that. And I’m sure he meant no harm, only help, but I found it funny, judgin a fellow rider based on head gear. Then I realized I’d done the same myself, back when we arrived at the trailhead. Huh, I thought.
So then, whose horse went up and up and up the big ol sheer rock hill without a hitch with a rider who gave him his head and let him find his own best way, and whose horse stumbled a bit on account of his rider got off center? I’ll let y’all decide. It ain’t polite to laugh, but I did chuckle, a bit. I covered it up by coughin.
I decided I liked these here “club trail rides,” even with the obvious lack of cattle, so long as they wasn’t too long nor too rocky, nor too hilly. That day was about enough of all that for me. And then I realized what I sounded like, qualifyin my work in such a manner. I sounded like a pampered pet County Island horse!
Which is exactly the kind of horse I like to be these days. Hey, I earned it.