No good generally comes when predatory critters pack up, such as coyotes, or big cats, or javelina pigs. One time we also had a pack of mule-deer, which is real unusual for these parts, but they’re prey like us, so mostly we pondered what they was runnin from as they passed through, but they didn’t stop to tell us, and so then we forgot all about it. But horses know how bad a pack is, mule-deer aside, deep down to the bottoms of our hooves, which is always set to flee if we got to, even those hooves of such horses as me which was raised up proper and trained up with ranch manners not to spook or bolt. As firm as my hooves are set upon the ground, they can kick up and go quicker than a jackrabbit if they got to. Packs make us nervous, deep down, no exceptions. It’s a horse thing.
So whenever I hear ‘em break into one of their huntin songs — y’all know the ones … the coyotes got their chorus, the big cats got their deep growly-purrs, the pigs got their good for nothin grunts — it send my ears straight forward to listen, “in case,” to use my ironical horse-ears to describe it. Especially when the singin huntin pack is li’l people-girls.
We got a bit of a girl problem here on the County Island. It’s a new problem, and I ain’t entirely sure what to make of it. Original Coors and Coors Light say an infestation of girls can be good for a horse. They claim they’ve known entire packs of ‘em called pony clubbers back when they lived at the California ranches, which sounds entirely too violent-like in potential for me to trust. I would not stand for nobody takin a club to me, no matter how tiny and perky, pony-lovin and well-intentioned they might be. A good horse has a strong sense of justice. Coors and Coors Light claim the li’l pony-clubbin hooligans like to spend all their time brushin on a horse, and pettin ‘em and feedin ‘em carrots and cookies, and braidin up their manes and tails, and talkin to ‘em, and ridin ‘em in big, fun competitions called rallies, and learnin all about how to be the best clubbers of ponies they can be. Like that last part’s good.
We’ve made three recent sightins of girl packs. The first such sightin can be summed up thusly. The others require deeper thought.
We was finishin up our mornin hay on a peaceful, clear sky kinda day, when we heard ‘em comin, from far, far off. It was a shriekin, piercin, yet happy chorus of sounds, really, sorta giggly and excited, all talkin and babblin and shriekin all at once, comin down the road toward our own corral. Then we saw ‘em. One lead mare-person in the front walkin with purpose, and skippin and jumpin and a-twirlin behind her was five tiny palomino-haired girls.
Their manes gleamed bright yellow in the sun. Palomino pony tail hair bobbin. Big bows and small bows, mostly pink as a newborn’s calf’s tongue, braided and wrapped into their pony tails. They was as sassy and silly as baby goats get. And nearly as terrifyin, somehow. I don’t hate goats like some horses, but I try not to think about ‘em.
Original Coors pricked his ears and took real mincey steps toward the fence. He generally likes people-girls. But this was a bonafide whole herd of ‘em, and the alpha mare seemed flustered like she didn’t have a real good handle on holdin the pack off of us. Coors froze in place, neck up, ears pricked. He let out one cautious snort that told us, “Whoa! Dudes. That is a LOT of little girls.”
Coors Light took one look at Coors, then another at the skippin girls who was presently skippin up to our fence, and bouncin up and down beside it, and hangin off the rails this way and that way, and then his neck and ears went up. Well, I had no choice but to freeze, myself, mid-bite, with my own ears and neck up. “Neeeeee!” they began to yell to us. “Hi horsies, hi horsies, neeee! Neeee! Neeee!”
What the hell — pardon my french — is neeeee meant to mean? I ain’t never heard a horse say neeee. Neigh, yeah, all the time. What the hell kinda critter says neeee, and what kinda critter did those girls think we was? When none of us took their neeee bait, nor so much as twiched an eye, their tiny li’l shiny, ribbony people attention spans fluttered away the same as happens with small fillies, and they took off again after their alpha mare who told ‘em to pack it up and move it out, leavin us stuck in our tracks with wide eyes and wide nostrils, watchin the l’l girl parade of bouncin, babblin palomino-maned girls disappear into the County Island’s far distance with a whole lot of, “Bye, horsies! Bye, horsies! Neeee! Neeee! Neeee! Neeee!”
And they wasn’t packin pony clubs.