Likely every horse knows what it sounds like, and also feels like, to get dive bombed by a big buzzy bee. Or a giant horse-fly. Or, on the County Island, a big ol’ black buzzin bumblin flying beetle bug damned near half as big as a barn cat. The bee might sting ya. The horse-fly might bite ya on your nose. Or your behind. The beetle don’t do nothin to neither horse nor person, but it’ll likely freak a person out some, on account of bein big, loud, ugly and real bad at flyin in any kinda predictable path ya might be able to get out of in time.
On this occasion, I was nappin in the shade of my favorite palo verde tree, inside our own li’l horse-corral, like I like to do. It was a good day to be a County Island horse, though truth to tell, every day’s a good day to be a horse here, even when normal stuff goes sideways like it does. Coors and Coors Light was nappin elsewhere, and it was just me and my tree, some warm sunshine on my nose and cool breezy shade on my tail, and some quiet li’l bird-talkin sounds.
Until I caught a buzz.
It sounded like it was right above me and my tree, but I didn’t bother to look, or to move. I’m a live and let live kinda horse. If a bee or a horse-fly ain’t botherin with me yet, I ain’t gonna bother with it. It’s a real good way for any good horse to live his life, even if there’s no bees nor horse-flies around at all. So I went back to sleep, despite the bothersome buzz.
Original Coors snorted hard. I didn’t bother to open one of my own eyes for that, though. Sometimes Coors snorts at things, and if Coors Light ain’t also snortin, I ain’t even gonna twitch a whisker.
Coors Light snorted hard.
I cracked one eye open.
Coors and Coors Light was standin side by side, starin straight up with their necks as tall and arched as they’d go, tails flagged and ready to run, Ayrab-bodies damned near quiverin like they’d caught wind of a full-growed cougar.
So I went and stood off to the side by ‘em. I looked up, too, to see whatever made such a sound.
It wasn’t no bird we’d ever heard nor seen before. It definitely wasn’t no bee. I’m fairly sure it also wasn’t no giant flyin palo verde beetle bug, but it did possess a hard, black shell like a beetle’s got.
And a bunch of kinda long leg-things. And like a big bug antenna and one big, black bug eye.
It hovered over us the way a tiny hummingbird does, only it was not tiny and it was NOT a hummingbird.
Then it damned near dove at us, aimin its big eye straight at us. And we did what three sane horses do.
We bolted and high-tailed it to the far corner of the corral, landin in one big, unified bounce beside each other. We was clumped tight together for safety like a proper herd. And thusly we watched it.
It made another move toward us, then it changed its mind. Instead, it flew away, over to the li’l ranch next-door, where the mares next-door used to live but where there ain’t nothin but a horse ghost town now, buzzin all about the sky over where the new people who had no horses at all now lived.
Original Coors piped up first. “What’s it looking for?”
And Coors Light asked, “What IS it?”
“It’s a bird, stupid,” said Coors.
“Not it’s not, dumb-face,” said Coors Light.
“Is not! You’re a stupid bird!”
“I know you are, but what am I?”
Their squabblin words made no sense at all. I had to put my hoof down — square on both their behinds. Or, close enough to ‘em to tell ‘em both to quit it.
Meanwhile, it came back, clearly not satisfied by the horse ghost-town next-door. It wanted more of whatever it was lookin for flyin all above us, maybe a horse-length high in the sky from us.
But what could we — meanin me, ‘cause such things is up to me around here — do about it? Especially not even knowin exactly what it was to start with? or even known if we should do anythin about it at all besides stay out of its way? I’m all for simply staying out of the way. Like I said, live and let live.
I prepared myself to approach it. One step at a time, I walked forward with my most casual caution. Coors and Coors Light blew real soft through their nostrils, tryin not to draw attention to themselves in case the thing set itself on them right after it ate me. Leave it to the ranch horse to get it done right, even when faced with a unknown flyin. buzzin, black hard-shell buzzy-noise bird-thing.
If I could draw it in low and close enough, maybe I could set my teeth on it or get a good whiff of its scent to determine what kinda critter it truly was and if it meant to harm us. I kinda thought it woulda harmed us by now if it meant to, but a horse still needs to be careful.
Suddenly the back gate by the people-barn banged open, and I jumped maybe an inch, while Coors and Coors Light likely jumped clear into the next county.
Out ran the bucket gal cussin like a cowboy that’s been outsmarted by the same damned slow, fat cow again. She was ravin at the air like a crazed person. Well, more crazed.
She waved at it and flipped it the bird. Y’know, like the people do with that one finger of theirs, a real rude thing such as when another horse farts in your own face as he passes ya? Sorry for the indelicate image but I wanted everybody to catch my drift in case ya ain’t ever heard of flippin a bird before.
Apparently it was not partial to her rudeness, as it buzzed itself straight up high into the sky, and left as quick as it came.
I still got no idea what it was. Oh, I overheard the bucket gal goin on and on to the carrot guy, who mostly lives inside the people-barn, except occasionally to come out to feed us carrots, somethin about how bad it droned. Drone this, dronin that … But to my good ears, it didn’t drone at all. It made a buzz.
Overall, I guess it wasn’t all that bothersome, now that I got it in my sight behind me instead of hangin and buzzin over my head. But somethin seemed kinda off and sneaky about it, which I don’t like at all, and I got a real good horse-sense for such things. Me, Coors and Coors Light hope it don’t come back, either by itself or with a flock of its friends, if it’s got a flock. Or friends. More of ‘em flyin all around the County Island would surely be a bonafide bother to any horse, whether he was ranch-raised or not.