It ain’t practical to be touchy-feely. I learned that lesson early on at the ranch, that a workin horse should focus on the work at hoof, so to speak, and set the more squishy, sensitive stuff aside. But the County Island’s peculiar that way. With my own horse-eyes, I have seen touchy-feely stuff here that nearly defies description. Of course, I’ll describe it anyhow.
Have ya ever seen a horse wrapped all up in “magnets”? Or made to stand under a funny li’l steel pipe contraption that’s called a “pyramid”? Or fed drops of “flower essence” upon his tongue? Well — that one I’d probably like, supposin they was drops of sweet yellow palo verde flower essences. Or outfitted with “hoof boots” instead of proper horse shoes?
Horse help me, that one may even seem the strangest to me. If you’re gonna go barefoot, like I do, then ya ought to go barefoot. And if ya need shoes, ya ought to wear horse shoes. There’s a whole other sort of bat-shit, pardon my french, crazy — over hoof boots and bein barefoot, like the people all suddenly just invented it for us horses themselves, like we ain’t been walkin around with bare hooves for as far back as any horse can think, and we can think back purty far. And if ya go barefoot, they say ya need a boot. But that ain’t neither barefoot nor shod. That’d more properly be called bootfoot, and that’d be ridiculous on account of there ain’t no such thing, plus I ain’t never seen a bootfoot horse that don’t look partially ashamed of his own condition. And it’s as if these new-fangled farriers that call themselves “natural hoof care trimmers” think they done invented their own extra special kind of touchy-feely hoof mojo that only they can perform upon a horse, and for an extra big money-fee — money our people could better be spendin on such things as more alfalfa for us.
Point is, when the lady came over to our own little horse-corral to “massage” Original Coors that time, I about snorted all my own sarcastic horse-snorts out when she lit what’s called a wrongful-smellin “healin incense candle” and got out the “healin herbs.” The only herb with which I’m familiar is loco weed, and no horse wants to get into that on purpose. I woulda guessed a massage must be a like a real good curry, but from the looks of things, I was wrong as usual about the County Island and its ways, as she set to massagin the healin herbs into her own people-hands before she laid ‘em on Coors’ neck.
I high-tailed it at a steady walk as far as I could go until I hit the fenceline, so as to stay out of the ordeal entirely. If our bucket gal had lost her mind to the loco weed, best to lay low and hope it eventually circled back.
But she came back for me with my halter and lead rope a while later, and said I was next to get “massaged.” And Original Coors was blinkin and yawnin like he was real relaxed and happy from the massagin, and also he didn’t look no more loco than usual. Neither did the bucket gal.
I let myself be tied with some trepidation near the massagin lady who smelled like probable loco weed, but since I’m a good horse, I didn’t fuss any more than to lay my ears slightly back and maybe wrinkle my nose from the smells that was waftin at it. A good horse minds his manners, even when his mind don’t want to. I squeezed my eyes shut and braced myself as she laid her loco weed people-hands upon me, tryin to maintain my both my dignity and my ranch manners. And then —
Oh, that felt alright. What was she doin right there, to my shoulder?
Ooohhhh… She done worked that tight spot right out of it…
But still, I wasn’t gonna go all googly-eyed about it like a colt in springtime.
But then I did go near as googly-eyed as that, when she got to my withers. I leaned into her loco-weed touch to tell her hey, maybe, since you’re right there anyhow, maybe a little higher… And then a little lower…
And I let out an enormous horse yawn, and another, and another, like I couldn’t stop yawnin to save my life. I think the bucket gal and the massagin lady laughed at that, but I couldn’t hardly hear ‘em for all my yawnin.
Why was horses and cows and such so danged scared of the loco weed? If this was it, I wanted some more.
I leaned politely into the lady again… Hey lady, since you’re here and all, if only ya could get a little more to the left…
And when she did, I might’ve fallen plump asleep. This loco weed massage was by far the most relaxin, peaceful thing a horse could ever imagine, I reckon, except maybe for fallin asleep in a field of soft, fresh grass under the warm sunshine. For those horses that ain’t never been massaged before, that’s exactly what it feels like.
And so the next time your person approaches you with some stinky candles and some loco weed, or maybe with a pyramid, or magnets, or even a pyramid made entirely of magnets, or even if they want to put your hoofboots on your ears for a change and call it good – I suppose you should give ‘em the benefit of the doubt and let ‘em.
What I done learned is that on the County Island, no matter how crazy a thing seems to your common horse sense, it can be crazy and also be all good to a horse all at the same time. And no, that ain’t the loco weed talkin. I ain’t never touched the stuff, though I reckon now the stuff’s surely touched me.