Sometimes, no matter how peaceable a horse you are, somethin’s still gonna bug ya. The point ain’t actually what’s buggin ya, no matter how buggy gets. The point generally is what a horse does about it.
There’s a place here on the County Island where I get rode occasionally which has got a lot of trees and grass, and also some sweet, sweet shade, and ponds with rain water in ‘em after a big rain, none of which we generally got much of around these parts. So, we take our shade and trees and grass and ponds with water in ‘em when we can get ‘em, and I reckon it makes a horse like myself appreciate ‘em all the more. If ya got to go for a pointless pampered pet pleasure horse trail ride in a big circle that takes ya right back to the place where ya started, and without doin any work nor movin any cattle along the way, it’s a downright nice place to go for such a thing. Unless there’s bugs.
When there is bugs after a big rain and when the dry stock ponds fill up with water, the place has also got bugs, by bugs I mean bugs — tiny, bitey, blood-suckin things the people call mo-skee-toes, and even tinier and more bitey things that a horse can see but a person can’t, called no-see-‘ums, and big flies, and tiny flies, and anything else you can likely imagine that could bite or bug or pester a horse thusly — a horse has got some options for copin with ‘em.
One, a horse could stomp his feet and swish his tail in big, grumpy circles. If ya do this repeatedly and also put some ear-pinnin and strikin at the air with your front hooves into it, your rider will generally get the message. They’ll also likely spank you for throwin ‘em around in the saddle so much up there on your back. Riders get grumpy when we toss ‘em around.
Two, a horse could fling his head up and down, and all around. He could also twist his neck and give himself a all-over body shake to try to shake the bugs off. If ya got what my horse buddies Coors and Coors Light call skills, combine this with the first option. What a horse risks here is his rider not only spankin him, but jerkin his mouth with the reins, and also likely makin a horse walk or trot out even more to try to go faster than the bugs or to get his body and his mind set right.
Three, a horse could try to go faster than the bugs on his own, without bein prompted by his rider’s spurs. Kindly refer to number two above. There ain’t no horse on this earth that can outrace a pissed off and blood-suckin bug. Well, maybe if ya bolted and ran off with the bit between your teeth, but, then, kindly refer to how your rider might react to that notion, with regards to numbers two and three above. And if they fall off when ya bolt, you’ll surely catch hell when they catch up to you. It ain’t worth it. So I’m told.
Four, a horse could try to whine and complain about the bugs, kinda quiet-like. This entails suckin back behind the bit, with your back all tight and humpy, and walkin real slow and mincey-like with your hooves. Except ya know how a horse can feel it when his rider’s feelin whiney and sucked-back in the saddle? I’m told a person can feel it from us, too. Mostly I’ve been told by a person’s heels hittin harder than I’d like on my sides. So, there’s that.
What a horse can do, when his trail is full up with nasty bugs, is maintain his usual steady, ranch-like demeanor, and keep walkin. Eventually, you’ll bypass all the bugs and leave ‘em in the trail dust behind ya if ya stay steady on the path. They ain’t likely to follow a horse forever, in my estimation. Also, find a bush or tree to stick your head into or brush your whole side against along your way. Me, I like the creosote bush. ‘Cause they’re still gonna bug ya, even when you’re steady. The trick is not to let their bitin get to ya, and instead find a thing to do about that that in fact does somethin about it. Brushin up on a creosote also helps brush the bugs off your rider, that is if they don’t bash their sensitive people-knees the brush, for which they should be grateful to you even if they may not show it directly. So, while ya walk along, brush up against what’s available to ya without makin a spectacle of yourself, and you’ll get the job done.
Whenever a horse goes ridin, there will be buggy days, and no-buggy days. Also I don’t think any bugs ever bit a horse to death, although I heard that killer bees might make short work of a horse at times, which is why a horse should always respect a bee swarm when he hears or sees one, but the point’s not to panic and fling your head all around and kick at your belly and generally carry on like a prancified County Island horse about swarms of bugs. Unless maybe they’re bees. I’ll leave y’all with that to think on.