Most horses got it all wrong. Spookin, that is. I been a li’l bit what’s called delinquent in actin as a solid role model for the younger and more excitable horses of the County Island. The thought came to me the other mornin, when I observed a bonafide snow storm here. No, not a real blizzard. A people-trash blizzard of trash snow set in swirlin motion by a fierce big wind that blowed piles of shiny white people-trash clear from one end of own li’l corral to the other. And Coors and Coors Light snorted, which reminded me.
I been and am a real role model for real, just not by way of tellin tales about how a horse ought and ought not to behave. So allow me to tell two truthful tales now, one to show your horses how not to spook, and one to show ‘em how a good horse can maintain his own good reputation and still do a spook up right.
How Not to Spook
It was the kind of cold County Island day that makes even sensible old ranch horses buck-fart around in circles with their tails flagged over their backs as if they was Ayrabs or somethin. So it wasn’t real surprisin, after I was done buck-fartin around without any people to witness it, when I heard the bellowin snorts of a young Ayrab comin from far, far down the road long before I even heard his hoofbeats or saw him.
When I did hear his hoofbeats, they didn’t sound like no proper walk at all, and when I saw him, I saw why. He was hoppin like some kinda giant grey Ayrab-horse frog on his hind legs, mostly. When he wasn’t hoppin, he was skippin left and boltin right. His rider hung on tight with both reins, which as is usual for us horses, didn’t help none but also made his horse-frog fling his head up and down. I had to amble calmly and real quiet-like over to the fence line, now that I was plumb wore out, to try and see what he saw, in case maybe it was gonna come after me, Coors and Coors Light right after it ate him alive. If I needed to run again, I needed to know.
I never saw what set him off, but when he saw me, standin like a palomino rock in the corner in the shadows of a palo verde tree, he reared straight up and hung there, on the hard pavement-ground with his rider clingin to his neck, for what seemed like a real impossible long time, and then he came down while runnin straight backwards at the same time. It was a mighty feat of bein athletic. It was also real bad for him and his rider, who both spun out on the hard, hard ground.
Oh, they was fine. They both got up, on all their legs. And right when I was sure the rider would hobble on home leadin his spooked horse by the reins, he mounted back up and they went on their way frog-hoppin and leapin some more. It made about as much sense to me as peein on your own pile of hay. Which does make sense to me, personally, so it’s likely a poor example. But that’s how they did it. And I wouldn’t recommend no small part of it to anyhorse or anybody. His rider surely could stick to the saddle, though, so well, there’s that. It’s a way for a horse to get himself killed dead at worst, or sent down the road, also at worst. And I never even saw what set the horse off to start with. All horses need to learn that, if ya can’t see it, it ain’t worth spookin over. Which leads me to the next part.
How to Spook
It was fine, warm County Island day. I was bein rode by the bucket gal on the buckle, with my neck stretched way down in relaxation, and my eyes half-closed in the lazy sunshine for a lazy pointless trail ride. To tell the truth, I was kinda bored. Mostly a horse likes to be bored, ‘cause it beats workin all day. County Island horses generally don’t appreciate how good it is to have enough time on their hooves to be bored, but I generally do. But I suppose I was feelin kinda like them that day, to my shame.
As we rode by some brush, it near exploded with birds! Dozens of pigeon-birds burst out of it. And faster than a bird can fly or a person can rein a horse up, I bursted sideways. And I tossed my head and I danced a li’l jig while the bucket gal fumbled for control. And then I was done. And we went on. Maybe they did startle me, a tiny bit, but then I used it to a horse’s advantage, thusly.
“What was that all about, Whiskey? You’re not scared of birds?” the bucket gal asked me, and patted my neck with a loose rein.
Even if I coulda made her hear my answer, I doubt I coulda made her understand it. But the key thing is, it came outa nowhere. And I built up so much reputation for good manners that she forgave me a tiny indiscretion. Also, I stopped near as soon as I started. There was no frog-jumpin nor rearin nor walkin on only my back legs. That ain’t good for my old, bad hawks, anyhow. I went back to bein me straight away. I left her wonderin if maybe she’d even imagined it.
I ain’t scared of birds, but some horses are. So some horses might have a genuine bad reaction, and some people expect such shenanigans from some horses. It offered up a good excuse for a horse to kick up his heels a little and show he’s still got some spunk to him. Not a crazy amount of spunk, mind ya, but some spunk. And I got the boredom burst clean out of my system.
If you’re set to spook, that’s how ya get it done, and how ya get away with it. Ya don’t get yourself all riled up over nothin for real. That’s entirely too much work, with entirely too many bad consequences. My way, as usual, is the best way.