Another dawn, another day for me and my horse compadres on the road. Like life back on the ranch, day began to blend into night and back into day again, with its own rhythm. We was sometimes led out of the trailer, then walked around, and sometimes rode around, in strange places, for strange people. Then we was loaded back in the trailer, headin elsewhere, and sometimes one or two of us stayed behind, and sometimes one or two more came aboard.
I reckon it happened a lot, at places called auctions. I kinda lost track, on account of keepin track seemed pointless. It does a horse no good to think about what could be or might be.
Mostly we shifted around and ate and drank and traveled in silence, and each horse kept his thoughts to himself. Still, travelin beat workin. But, workin was all I knew.
The only place-name I do recall was called Douglas, which was where a man told another man he would buy up a bunch of us.
He took us far away again to a tiny sort of ranch. There was other horses, most all with good brands on their hides, but not any particular one. And there was not one horse there who had the same brand as me. And they all told a similar story, that they’d been ranch horses, then they got put on stock trailers, and then they landed here. I wondered what our new work’d be.
There was lots of out-buildins and other ranch houses within view, which all looked mostly the same, with the same tiny yards, and same tiny roofs, and same color walls, and same tiny horse pens and such out back. Overall, it was a lot of crowdedness and congestion, and sameness and noise, to me, and not a spec of open range, nor cattle, anywhere that I could see from my new little pen. One horse claimed it was a collection of miniature-size ranches, which is ridiculous ‘cause there’s nothin miniature about a ranch, and was called a Planned Equestrian (which means horse) Community. I told him I supposed that was a dumb-ass name for a spread.
They started workin us, tryin to figure out what we knew (I dunno why they didn’t already know). I stood stock-still in a round pen and looked at ‘em like they’d gone mad-cow crazy, flappin tarps and flags and ropes and such at a horse! No, I ain’t gonna go to the left nor to the right, not until you stop that shit, pardon my french! I’m tryin to be respectful here, but I wasn’t broke yesterday! We also got walked, trotted, and loped in western saddles in a bigger pen. At the lope, they was unnecessarily preoccupied with which leg I led off with and in which direction, and I didn’t know why the hell it mattered, but they wanted to be able to say I could “take both my leads.” It was all peculiar.
And one day, a lot of people started comin to look at us. And then I met a half-grown boy.
His parents, which is like a sire and dam but for people, not horses, come to buy the boy a horse, and he liked a palomino, which I am. And a lot of other people drove up, some with trailers, some without. They all set to tryin and ridin us, to see who they wanted to buy. It had a feel of excitement in the air, like finally, maybe somethin would come of all our travels, and, in particular, I could go back to work at a ranch and how I was used to livin!
And the boy set off lopin on me, and turning me in tight, fast circles and racin me this way and that, among the other people that was ridin the other horses. We zipped all around the big ridin pen and I started to wonder how much longer this boy meant to zip a horse. This was no way to ride around a proper ranch all day! We zipped around some skinny white poles, for no reason at all. We zipped around some old blue barrels, again for no reason! And then we did it again. And again. And again. And then he pulled me up short with a uncalled-for jerk on my mouth.
“I like him!” he told his sire and dam. About right about then, well, maybe I might have accidentally run his knee into the fence.
He spun me in tiny circles, while I mostly tried to stay out of his way and turn where he wanted, when he wanted, with no further argument, by way of my apology to him. I guess it was apology accepted, ‘cause he hopped off and tied me to the fence. I squeezed my eyes shut tight and set to nappin, figurin he’d be back to zip around again on me shortly. Might as well bag some Z’s.
As I drifted off, I heard the people set to discussin the negotiations of my bill of sale.