It always comes out in the wash.
That’s what I like to say to myself or any horse that’ll listen, every time I get rode through the wash – which is like a dry creek bed, for those unfortunate horses that don’t know ‘cause they never get rode outside the safe space of their own arenas.
Yep. It always comes out in the wash. And when it does, there ain’t much a good horse can do about it.
Let me explain your options.
I was bein rode through the wash and we was almost back home after makin a big and pointless loop around it on a cool and breezy evenin, with just enough wind to tickle my mane hairs, but not enough to blow all the less delicate smells that surround the County Island into my nostrils.
And then, it came out, in the wash. Like it always does. Like it or not.
I neither heard nor smelled it comin. I reckon that was a good thing, although even if it was a bad thing, it wouldn’ta made one lick of difference from a grumpy pig’s tongue to me.
Horses need to know a couple of important things here. First, the story your own dam told ya back when you were knee-high to the ropin donkey about the horse that got ate up whole by wild pigs when he stuck his nose in their business likely ain’t true. Far as I can tell, no horse actually personally knows another horse who got ate by pigs.
Second, javelinas ain’t pigs. That fact ain’t likely to save ya, in general, though. But the flavor of pigs we got in these parts is known as javelinas. I told about ‘em back when I told about the piggish behavior, thusly:
“When you come across a sleepin javelina, it’s always best to let it lie, lest it come back to bite you, literally. Those pigs are grumpy, most especially if ya call ’em pigs to their ugly pig faces. And they have lots of sharp and pointy teeth they ain’t shy about snappin at any part of a horse they can snap at.”
They’ll also gore a unsuspectin dog clear into the next county without so much as blinkin one tiny pig eye.
So your first and best option is always let ‘em lie. But now ya likely know that the “it” I intended to tell about from the start is a javelina-pig. They always come out in the wash when they do come out, without fail.
Option two? Turn tail and run. This ain’t recommended, no matter how good your intentions is to save yourself and maybe also your rider. Javelinas can run purty darned fast. ‘Cause they can’t see real good, their motto’s always attack first, ask questions never. So a horse has got to ask himself, how fast do I feel like runnin today? Is my rider likely to spin with me, or without me, and what’s the consequence of savin my hide, losin my rider and then havin my rider catch back up to me and maybe get after me in ways a horse don’t like bein got after? Sometimes riders is grateful for your efforts, sometimes they ain’t. Are ya a lucky horse? I try not to rely on luck, myself.
So your other option, which is my own option, is obviously the best option. It ain’t without its own risks, though. Here’s what I did, the last time it came out in the wash.
As I was sayin, I neither heard nor smelled it comin that night. I also didn’t catch that it had two more bandido amigos with it. I was ambushed!
Outnumbered, and also feelin kinda slow, I’d run out of options. It was too late for letting ‘em lie, and runnin is for the younger, more flight-prone horses.
So I went with option number three, which is stand your ground and make like a tree. Feel your own hooves grow roots deep into the ground. The grumpy pigs is most grumpy at things that move, and that’s when they’ll most often make a move on ya. It ain’t generally a recommended option, but sometimes, like this time, it worked.
The first grumpy pig – and I do enjoy callin ‘em pigs knowin full well they don’t like it – jumped into the wash to try and stare me down with its blind pig stare. I trained my ears on it but I didn’t budge. Then it disappeared back where it came from. I heard a rustle!
Two more of ‘em made a mad run for it across the wash directy in front of me, and made a mad dash for the open range.
Without warnin, the first, biggest one was back. It ran across the wash, then stopped to face me. But I was busy makin like a palo verde tree.
Then it ambled toward me.
Then it stopped. I still didn’t catch wind of it, for which I gave silent thanks. Then it ambled back.
Then it leaped into the wash to stop and stare some more. Likely it smelled horse, but it couldn’t really see horse. There was no horse. Just me, Whiskey, a proper tree. After at least 20 picture-clicky noises (which seemed real excessive to me) from the tiny telephone that lives in the bucket gal’s back pocket, it finally, thankfully wandered away from me, the plain ol’ clicky palo verde planted here in the middle of the wash right where I always grew.
The bucket gal reined me in the far direction from home, and I had to agree. We was real copacetic on not seein no more pigs, although I had been prepared to be a tree all night if that’s what I needed to do. I’d never been more relieved to take the long way home.
If ya keep stock still and keep the fearful snortin sounds on the inside of yer nose and not the outside, a pig can’t see nor hear ya. There’s nothin you can do about people and their clicky sounds, though. I’m lucky that didn’t get us both gored or worse. I aim to be a good horse and think only good-horse thoughts, but at times like that I got to wonder if the bucket gal’s got a brain between her ears at all.
Be brave, stand tall and remember a wash full of javelina-pigs, or anythin else, is only as scary as a horse makes it. Keep it together between your own ears, and whatever may come out in the wash won’t hurt ya. Also, some good luck don’t hurt.