When you’re an old goat, you get treated different. It kinda happens over time. Young goats get treated different, too, such as spooked at more by some horses on account of young goats bounce a whole lot more than old goats and their bouncin can be downright suspect even to an honest horse. Old goats get more leeway ‘cause they ain’t got as much bounce left in ‘em anymore, and it seems like a horse can trust ‘em, mostly, unless that horse is entirely terrified of goats beyond reason, which is known to happen. But, to be an entirely honest horse, I ain’t talkin about goats. I’m talkin about me, though I suppose some of this might hold true for actual goats, too.
What happened is this. I had my 28th birthday, which is the anniversary of the day my dam foaled me out into the world. County Island horse folk is obsessed with a horse’s birthday, or how old a horse is or ain’t, and generally obsessed with keepin track of time as regards a horse, but not in a purposeful way that’s centered around feedin horses on time, all the time, every day. And it ain’t even centered around usin their good horse for gettin ranch work done when it should, on account of there ain’t no proper ranches at all on the County Island, and people go to work in their rumbly-cars and leave their pet horses home.
But on my 28th birthday, I didn’t get left home. This old goat got loaded into the rollin white horse-box and taken to a place named for ME for what the bucket gal called a birthday trail ride and a picnic. No, the place was not called Old Yellow Goat Hollow. Nor was it called Slow Old Geezer Pass. Also, a picnic appears to be like grazin, when the people sit around and graze on whatever it is people graze on. But it was a shorter ride than I’m accustomed to, even for a County Island pointless pet pleasure horse ride around a loop for no good reason. I guess it was shorter on account of bein my birthday, although I might have preferred no ride at all and only makin a small loop from my hay to my bucket and back to my shade tree in our own li’l horse-corral, instead. And also a whole day of standin around and nappin. And I think it was also shorter on account of the people wanted to start the picnic real quick. For that reason, I think I like picnics. It reminded me of when I would go look for rabbits with the floppy-eared, short-legged cattle dogs, which is called beagles, durin an activity which is called the hunt club. After we spent a fine mornin runnin after rabbits without catchin any, and herded all the dogs back to the trailers, it was time for horses to eat hay, and people to eat, again, whatever it is people eat.
In preparation for my birthday ride — and it appears a large part of a birthday ride is makin proper preparations for it — I had to get my goat whiskers clipped up, or started to. I was proclaimed to be hairier than a homeless mountain goat. And I guess this old goat done broke the bucket gal’s clippers with my thick, fine winter haircoat, regardless of any aforementioned resemblance to mountain goats with or without proper homes. So maybe I wasn’t clippered quite up to par, but I was always taught purty is as purty does.
Goats ain’t what a horse’d call purty, and for the life of me — all 28 years of it — I also couldn’t tell ya what they do. My horse-buddy Coors Light and me got the same opinion of goats, young or old. We ain’t scared of ‘em; we just don’t see the point. There’s a place on the County Island that’s full up with goats, and in goat-foalin season, they can be far more than full up with bouncin baby goats, sometimes upwards of 25 tiny, boingin, bouncin head of ‘em that’s always got to bounce all over to tell a horse HAI! Coors Light likes to stop and stare, with his ears pricked forward as if to say, and pardon my french here, “What the hell—??” But me, I amble on by without even prickin me ears much. It ain’t my place to wonder what the hell about goats. Original Coors likes goats. That ought to tell ya all ya need to know about Original Coors. He also likes pigs, sheep, chickens, donkeys, and cattle, but not in the proper way a ranch horse likes to work cattle. He likes ‘em to be his friends.
Me and my friends had a right nice birthday ride and people-picnic despite my old goat whiskers bustin the bucket gal’s best laid plans and her clippers. And I realized while munchin on my hay back at the trailer, and mostly droppin it ‘cause when you’re an old goat, sometimes your own teeth inside your mouth don’t work so good, or they plumb fall out of your own head, that bein a mostly retired County Island pet pleasure horse is a lot like bein a goat. We ain’t particularly purty to look at, and despite all the people-words I tend to make about it in my attempts to try, I also rightly couldn’t tell ya what we do. And that’s alright. By the time ya get to be an old and hairy homeless mountain goat, it don’t seem to matter much what you do anymore. It matters more that you are, and continue to be.