Some horses like to go fast, to which I say, good for them. Oh, there’s a point to goin fast when a horse needs to get the job done, the main point bein there’s a job. But during my time on the County Island, I’ve learned there’s all kinds of questionable jobs for horses which I’d never call honest work.
We was amblin through the wash, like we do sometimes. A wash amble takes a set amount of time, and also a purty short amount of time, which makes it my favorite kind of County Island amble. It’s also generally predictable, like me.
Until there came a thunder of hoofbeats behind me that made me swivel my ears around, and almost my whole head, too. They came to a quick walk and a blur of a big brown horse brushed by us while the rider said, “Morning!” and barely gave my bucket gal time to respond when they was off again, with a flip of a short tail and sand spit at us from flyin hooves.
Well, that was weird, I thought, and we ambled on.
A while later, we reached the road which is the usual turn for home along the short wash loop, when there came yet another thunder of hooves behind me. What the –
“We meet again!” the big brown horse’s rider laughed as he pulled up his spindly, snortin steed for a few steps, then broke to a trot, then was off again like a shot. That was impossible.
A wash amble takes about twenty five people-minutes, or about one thousand and five hundred horse-steps, not that I’m countin. Brownie made it around in … ten people-minutes? And he was set to lap me again by the looks of it. That’d only maybe be likely if he was flyin faster than a golden eagle followin a pack of hunt club beagle dogs set upon a jack so as to swoop down and steal the rabbit at the last second. Metaphorically speakin, of course. But also it’s happened.
A couple mornins later, we was passed by ‘em again, only this time they pulled up enough to talk, and big, gangly Brownie rolled his eyes at me by way of sayin “Hai!” like the young colts do. He was a tall fella, but only about as growed as a long yearlin. His rider said Brownie was called a baby race horse, and he was in trainin and breezin through the wash to get broke for the race track. Maybe he meant trackin cattle? As in trainin cattle-trackin horses? But didn’t he know racin after cattle was the quickest way to make ‘em scatter and thereby ruin your whole, entire day tryin to gather ‘em all back? No matter how much a horse likes to run, they generally ain’t allowed to on the ranch, for that practical reason.
In the time since, I’ve met a lot more of these baby cow-track horses makin a breeze around the wash like they think they got the best horse-job in the world, if you’d call that a job. I guess if they got that many rank cows to track wherever they go off to once they’re good and broke, then they’d always be in need of fresh horses, same way the ranch used to run through us ranch horses, but at a slower pace on account of we had slower cows back in my day. And I guess it’s good they train up the ones that already like to run, unlike me and my kin.
Also, that cowboy’s got more stick-to-it-ness than any cowboy I seen anywhere. One time I seen another big brown baby cow-track horse go from one side of the road clear to the other side in once big bounce of a spook, and then buck upon stickin the landin, and the dude didn’t bat an eyelash. I reckon he can ride broncs when he’s trained up all the fast horses on the County Island, and there surely can’t be that many more of ‘em.
It also makes me glad to be out of the cow game these days if the younger cows is so speedy and stirrin up breezes and trouble all the time that so many young horses got to get geared up to run after ‘em and track ‘em like that. Whenever I catch the tail wind from one of ‘em these days as I’m goin around the wash at a proper walk, I like to reflect on how it much I suppose it sucks to be them, but how very good it is to be me.