Dashin through the sand,
That is, at a extra dead-slow walk,
Over the County Island I went,
Mindin my own business…
Bells on somethin’s ringin,
But I pay it no mind,
It wasn’t none of my concern,
‘Til it ran up on my behind!
Oh! Jingle horses!
Jingle horses, jingle yourselves away!
I was havin such a quiet ride,
On a peaceful County Island day!
So anyhow, I ain’t one to sing or whinny real loud much. The point is, we got jingle horses here now. I thought “jingle bells” was a limited time deal here on the County Island — limited, that is, to the part of the cold time with the funny red and white hats upon horses, and also the sorrowful rain deer antler hats upon horses, and the poor froze deers made of blinkin lights stuck in front of the peoples’ ranches with no good deer grazin in sight, which is all mercifully ended now. But it appears we got a bunch of jingle bell-ringin horses here in these parts that’s set to jingle all the time, regardless of the season, year-round, damned near everywhere they go, including up my own behind.
They got bells on their own hooves around their hoof boots. They got jingle curb straps on their own jingle bits in their own mouths. Their riders got great big jingle spurs strapped on their boots. It’s a wonder the jingle horses ain’t drove even more crazy than they already are, with all the endless jinglin assaultin their own sensitive big, pointy jingle-horse ears. Most all the tack they wear has got some kinda jingle to it!
Oh, I don’t think most of ‘em is still right in the head to begin with, if they ever was. But all the jinglin surely don’t help their nerves none. They’re all kinda bug-eyed and sweaty, generally, and I’d likely be too if I had to listen to that racket.
I tend to tune out the pointless noises of the County Island but now that I know about the jingle horses, they don’t startle me anymore. A horse can hear ‘em comin down the road a literal people-mile. Not that they go down the road often, mind ya, and that’s part of the problem. Mostly they jingle around in pointless circles inside their own jingle-arena with whips and chains and crackin whips and flapping bags, whoop-whoopin people, and one time a air horn and then a fire extinguisher? To make ‘em lift their jinglin hooves higher? They don’t get out much.
One time, they got out, but not out like when the people yell, “Loose horses! Shut the gate!” Out like for a trail ride. I already ruined the story, which started when they jingled up on my behind. They sounded like a whole herd of terrible giant jingle monsters before I saw ‘em.
The sensible thing to do when that happens is turn and face what’s comin, so ya can see what it is if ya need to run from it. So, that’s what I did. Or tried to do.
They came straight at me, jinglin in a long jinglin bee line, nostrils big and blowin, eyes wide and white.
I aimed my ears to say, “Hey, step aside before ya run someone over!”
But they blew on by jinglin all the way. The lead horse snorted back at me through his wide nostrils at the end of his long, roman face, “Can’t! We go straight!”
The second horse neighed, “Yeah, straight!”
And the last horse whinnied back at me, “Straight on toward home! Knees UP, boys!”
They was like some kinda amped up more crazed show-ring Ayrabs but with better bone structure to ‘em. It was the damndest thing. Then they was gone in a jinglin cloud of dust, with their riders chirp-chirpin to ‘em like they was birds, leavin me and the bucket gal in coughin fits on the side of the trail. I figured their people chirped like birds on account of bein driven insane by the jingle bells. It was the only reasonable reason I could think of.
Another day, I paid more attention as we ambled past their spread, by their jingle-arena while they jingled around. No jingle horse loped a circle that I saw. They didn’t prance around makin silly shapes in the sand with their jingle hooves like prancing horses like Coors Light do. They didn’t jump over any li’l stick-jumps. They didn’t hardly seem to change direction at all. They went straight down the fence line, and thusly they followed it around and around and around, and then around some more, without hardly even bendin their straight-up stuck necks or jingle-covered bodies.
I am all for walkin straight lines. It’s sensible when you’ve got rangeland to cover and a place to get to and back from before dark, but even then, if ya don’t wander off the straight way from time to time, ya ain’t never gonna find the strays hidin in the brush or ravines. But that’s all sensible, slow, careful walkin so as not to catch a cactus on your leg and to look out for sleepin rattlesnakes and such, also with NO jingle bells on account of the awful stampede that would cause with the cattle. The worst thing about a stampede is it always means a much longer day for us horses, and with grumpy riders. A jingle-bell stampede’d be a ranch horse’s worst nightmare.
If a bell goes on any critter at all, it goes on a cow, not a horse. County Island folks clearly ain’t apprised of that.
Like I said, the good thing and also the bad thing appears to be the jingle horses ain’t out much. They’d likely settle down into proper trail walkin if they did get out more, but I’m also grateful not to have to endure all the noise and dust they’d make until they did settle down. I am settled down as far as a good horse can go, myself, and I prefer to maintain the whole County Island that way as much as possible, as if a horse has any control over that, which a horse does not.
The only thing a horse can do about ‘em is be aware, and get out of their way for jingle’s sake. It’s like most horse things. The only thing, and also the best thing, us horses can do is maintain our own common sense and control our own reactions to whatever crazy things may come our way, whether that’s jingle horses, or “festive horse headgear,” or some big antler-deer that pop up out of the grass at us all of a sudden, or a rumbly-truck that makes shot-gun blast sounds at us when it rumbles by which is called it’s back-fire. At least it ain’t real fire blowin at us. Such things always pass. It remains to be seen if the jingle horses may well pass, too, but at least a horse can be aware when they pass him on the trail for real.