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Author Archives: Whiskey Ranch-Horse

About Whiskey Ranch-Horse

I'm a hard(ly)-workin', hard-restin', hard-nappin', honest-as-the-day-is-long, bombproof, bucket-lovin', mostly retired palomino ranch horse from the heart of the American Southwest, now livin' the pet pleasure horse dream on the County Island. Oh, and I'm a horse, in case maybe you need it spelled out for ya. Name's Whiskey. It's a pleasure to meet y'all! Why don't you sit down for a spell and read some of my stories?

How and How Not to Spook

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.

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This story’s for the birds!

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Bad Breaks

A good horse is a good horse. It’s a way of life, bein a good horse, of keepin your own nose clean for real and for what’s called a “metaphor’ (meanin a thing that ain’t really what y’all think it is), and also of maintainin your own general peace and quiet. Good horses got it a lot easier than bad horses overall. We get less spurs stuck in our sides. We quit workin for the day first, as we brought our cattle in first instead of playin up under saddle or runnin our riders’ legs into cactus. We ain’t got to get schooled nor rode back out for a li’l attitude adjustment before we can turn in for the night. That also means we’re first to the feed troughs. We get to eat the first, soft, sweet, melt in your own mouth leaves of alfalfa hay. Bad horses get the leftover crunchy, sharp, stabby, bitter stems.

I’m for sure a real ranch horse. I’m also kinda a metaphor, like I said it above. Even I, Whiskey, ain’t always what I seem. Hold on to your hats or your bucket-helmet heads, ‘cause I’m about to lay it out for ya:

Good horses ain’t always good.

We all make a break sometimes with our own good selves. Just enough to remember we’re real horses and know what it feels like to be a real horse without all the people-rules we live by. I take my own bad breaks real literal, I guess. But I ain’t never broke bad on purpose, and that’s likely a fact. Once the deed’s been done, though, a good horse ought at least to enjoy it while he can.

Likely you’ve heard how much I love bucket time here on the County Island. Buckets is practically the best thing about bein here. Buckets is good. And I, also, am good. But. Well.

My name’s Whiskey. And I break buckets.

So far, I surmise I broke a dozen in as many years, which really ain’t all that bad if ya think on it. Well, at least a dozen. Original Coors and Coors Light together broke none in that same amount of time, to which I say, good on them.

I have broke the shallow black rubber kind. The tall bucket rubber kind. Regular bucket kinds. Buckets with fancier, more durable — which is to say horse-proof unless you’re me— handles and such. The kind that’s flat on the back, both with normal handles and also those big hooky handles that sit upon the fence rails. Those break on me the most. Then they get wrapped with a thing called duck tape and I break ‘em again, and worse until ducks can’t fix ‘em at all. I have broke big ones, small ones and all the in between ones.

Bring me any kinda bucket ya got, and I can guarantee to break it for ya.

It ain’t much of an appreciated skill on the County Island, seems to me, especially not by our own bucket gal. I also ain’t doin it on purpose. Breakin buckets just kinda happens when I’m around. If I set my actual mind to it, surely I could break ‘em even more.

I’m a horse that eats with gusto. And I pour all my own gusto into the contents of my feed bucket. I like to bury my nose in my feed to thusly inhale it with my gusto as well as eat it with my gusto. And then I fling it. I sometimes run it up the wall where it’s hung and scrape it back and forth to try to get all the best tiny bits stuck in all the deep corners and lick the entire flavor of my feed off my bucket. I used to be able to fling my bucket off the wall and shove it around in the proper dirt. But I ain’t supposed to eat off the dirt no more on account of the bucket gal’s convinced I eat dirt. I ain’t no dirt eatin horse! But one time the sweet talkin’ but evil vet lady said there was lots of dirt and sand inside my own self, and after that, my bucket got damned near chained to the wall so I can’t move it much nor fill it up with proper dirt.

And then, after some spell of endurin all my gusto, even chained-up buckets break. It’d be a whole sadder for a horse except the bucket gal always brings me a new one. The first time I broke one, I had no idea it’d be replaced. I figured well, Whiskey, that’s that. Good thing ya enjoyed bucket time while ya had it. And I was prepared to move on — to eatin from Coors and Coors Light’s buckets, that is. And then it was replaced! I was so happy, I ate with twice my normal gusto. It felt good, havin broke my bucket and gettin a new one. I learned to like the pattern. It got to be a challenge for a horse. Good horse, good bucket, bad break, and kind of a strange rush, and then good horse and good bucket again… I set to seein how much gusto I could pour into each bucket to try to break it faster. I ain’t generally a thrill-seekin horse, but a horse finds his thrills where he can.

The point is, ya should still be a good horse, of course. That should go entirely without a horse sayin. But if ya got a particular vice, maybe that’s alright here on the County Island, assumin it ain’t somethin that’s bonafide bad such as bitin, boltin, buckin. Also probably not rearin nor kickin. Or jiggin while wearin your saddle. Or tossin your head a lot. Or rootin at the bit. There’s a long list.

But breakin bad with your bucket will always get ya a brand-new bucket to enjoy and then to break all over again, sure as my own name’s Whiskey. And I know y’all will remember my name.

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Posted by on November 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Good Grazin’

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Here on the County Island, when it rains, it pours. And when it ain’t pourin, it can be a downright dry and dusty place. I reckon that’s why we ain’t got no pasture to speak of, we meanin me, Original Coors and Coors Light. But it don’t explain why people sometimes put down pasture grass for themselves. People can’t graze.

One time, the three of us watched while the horses that live across the road got a entire, bonafide pasture on a rumbly-truck delivered to their ranch. A pasture on a truck, imagine that! Until I came to the County Island, I only knew about pasture grass that grows up from the ground. The rumbly-truck parked next to our own fenceline to unload so we got to get real up close and personal with the fresh sweet smell of green, green grass, rolled up in big, green roll-ups. Only it wasn’t quite close enough for us to nibble on, just to inhale with our nostrils instead of our lips.

The horses across the road watched too, and nodded their heads up and down in sweet anticipation of all the good grazin to come.

Only instead of settin out the pasture roll-ups inside their corral, the truck men laid ‘em all out around the people-barn and the people’s people-pool, which is a refreshin pond a horse ain’t ever allowed to set a hoof in. In fact, the people keep their ponds locked up tighter than their hay-shed fortresses. And the horses across the road only got to look longingly at the pasture from afar. Their own people never even sat upon it nor rolled in it. They only occasionally mowed it down with a loud ‘n smelly contraption when their own horses woulda happily done the job for ‘em. People like to do a lot of unnecessary stuff like that which horses can do better.

We got a real big ranch ‘round about the County Island where a horse’s only job is to wear a halter. And also their job is to prance around and snort at the end of a string while wearin said halter. And everythin is big at the real big halter ranch, from the horses’ big blowin nostrils and big bulgin eyes, and also big flat croups and big, badly shaped hooves, to the big barn where they all live, which is bigger than the whole ranch where me and my horse-buddies live, to the big-hair horse trainers who prance at the end of a string along with the horses, also with big nostrils and big bulging eyeballs.

And they do lots of unnecessary people-stuff there. This includes plantin a statue horse — which is to say a not-real horse that’s been froze in place — that’s froze as if to drink water from a stream, next to a real stream, where it can’t get a real drink ‘cause it ain’t real. Instead of allowin their real horses, who’s likely all really thirsty from all the blowin and snortin at the end of their halter strings, to have a drink from their stream, they got a statue-horse there.

Besides plantin a statue, they planted bonafide TONS of roll-up pasture on a truck grass near everywhere around their whole big ranch — that is, everywhere but where their own horse live. And there’s pasture by the road, too, right beneath the noses of all the good, hungry horses that get rode by. In fact, we got to ride on the roadside pasture now, and also on what’s called “decorative” rocks — which is like normal rocks only pointless — or else we got to ride in the actual road. That’s on account of the ranch boss done “landscaped” over the old horse trail.

I tried to stretch my own neck down real subtle-like one time, with my own nostrils big and wide to inhale the fresh smell and my lips stuck out farther than a rattlesnake’s tongue. But the bucket gal reined me up. She told me, as she tends to prattle on at me, that’s not for grazin, it’s for “show” not eatin, ‘cause that was their “lawn.” What foul creation is a “lawn”? I thought maybe by for show she surely meant for the show horses, but it ain’t the case. I asked Coors Light, who claims he once was a big-deal show horse that pranced. But he said he never heard of the practice of havin pasture for show horses only, nor for looks, not eatin. Pasture grass, he said, was always for all the horses equally back where he came from at the California ranch, like it’s supposed to be. The for-show lawn-pasture ain’t even meant for the sad frozen statue-horse by the stream.

Every time we went by, it was the same thing. Aaa, aaa, no Whiskey. That’s their lawn. That’s “ornamental.” That’s not for you. It felt personal.

I wasn’t rude, per se, about askin, ‘cause I still got my ranch manners, but it was still worth askin by way of stretchin my neck down, every time.

Then, one time, the unthinkable happened. We was ridin by, me on the buckle as per usual. The grass was as fragrant and green as per usual. I stretched out my neck and my lips as per usual. And I snuck a bite. And instead of reinin me up with the usual lecture, the bucket gal said, “OK, fine.” So, I took a quick second bite before I even chewed the first.

Only, it tasted a lot worse than it looked. It looked divine. It tasted a lot like when you take a bite of hair off a real annoyin horse but he was just sprayed down with the stinky bottle-stuff the people think keeps the flies off us, only it don’t keep the flies off us? It tasted like that, and also like a lot of, pardon me for sayin it, fresh cow manure. It was not what I expected. Especially when there surely ain’t enough cattle on the whole County Island to produce such a vast volume of it. Do they truck in cow manure on the County Island, too?

Oh, I still chewed and swallowed. Grass is grass, amigos. Unlike County Island people, a good horse never passes up a chance to graze even when the grazin ain’t good. If ya ever get your own chance to chew on some roll-up pasture on a truck, ornamental lawn grass full of spray-smell and cow shit, ya should definitely do it. Mostly I mean your good horses should do it. They should do it for all them halter-wearin horses that can’t and for the poor froze statue-horse that can’t. It’s called doin your part to help, and a good ranch horse ain’t never nothin but helpful.

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

What Goes Up?

“Sometimes, there are people in the sky here. Like birds.”

It was one of the earliest things my horse-buddy Original Coors ever said to me, back when I was newly arrived upon the County Island and first made his acquaintance at the boardin ranch where we lived. This was before I ever knew I’d be stuck with him as a herd-mate for life, so at the time, I humored him. I believe I may have glanced up from my hay and shot him a dirty look of disbelief, but it was a real mild dirty look. “Only they’re not really birds, they’re still people,” he continued, “but they fly in biiiig, round, shiny colorful things that breathe fire, and they float aaaall around the sky in wood baskets, and sometimes you can hear them chattering and talking on and on, and see the fire. Sometimes when they fly lower over the barns, you can even smell and FEEL the fire!” It was also one of the first dumbest things Coors ever said to me.

I ain’t a horse that looks up much, not like some of them horses that like to go around stickin’ their noses up in the air all the time. I like to keep an eye on the ground, where my own two feet and the snakes is. So I likely didn’t ever look up, not for a real long time, and not even or not especially when Coors and Coors Light might tell me to, to see the bird-people in the sky for myself. A horse doesn’t need to look at nothin to know there’s nothin there.

So the first time I ever spied what might’ve been the big, round, shiny colorful things that fly was right about one people-year ago. It was one of the times when horses get taken for big, pointless group pleasure trail rides where we don’t work any cattle, and when horses is made to dress up in silly headgear and sparkles and such. This is called holidays. When I came out of the rollin white horse-box, a lot of the people was in the middle of freakin out over a couple big rumbly people-vans in the parkin lot near all us horses, as well as a lot of people millin about more aimless than normal, and a big ol’ pile of a colorful drapey thing that kinda billowed in the breeze, but not enough to spook not even one horse that was there at the trailhead. People surely seemed spooked, though. Then the people near the rumbly-vans stopped millin, and set to sittin at nearby picnic tables, where they thusly began to feast on their own mornin feed. Meanwhile I overheard a lot of nonsense talk about “what were they thinking landing right here?” and “I’m surprised none of the horses have freaked out about the hot air balloon yet.”

What’s a balloon? I’d never heard that funny people-word before. All I saw was like a big heap of a colorful tarp pile, layin there, not movin hardly at all. Why would us horses spook at that? Most of us seen tarps before. And then we all set out on our pointless silly headgear and sparkles ride, and the commotion was all gone when we eventually got back to get untacked. And that was that.

Trot forward to this people-year, and a lot more recent-like durin the hot time, when even the air is hot and still. We was havin breakfast inside our own li’l horse-corral like we do every mornin. And the bucket gal was laborin away at pickin up poop piles like she always does even though she knows we always make more.

I’d likely never have noticed, but Coors raised his head from his hay and kinda nodded it up and down. His pricked ears said, “Oh, wow!”

And then Coors Light also looked up and said, “Oh, wow! That’s really close!”

And then our own bucket gal looked up and said a thing that a decent ranch horse can’t repeat.

So, I figured I’d look up, too. I looked up. And up. And up. And…

Down… And then down again…

Wasn’t such things supposed to fly UP, accordin to Original Coors?

And then, it stopped. It sat over our own people’s people-barn. And it was…

Well, damned if it wasn’t a big, round, shiny colorful thing in the sky, that breathed fire. And it had a wood basket filled with… That is to say, it seemed to carry chatterin… people. In the sky. Huh.

I sensed some early signs of fear from the bucket gal as she saw it sittin over her own people-barn. But it surely didn’t seem to be bothersome overall, just strange.

But at present, it moved over our own li’l horse-corral like maybe it meant to engage with us, like the drone-birds did. But while filled with fire. And people. People that exhibited no sign of common sense at all seein as how they sat in what appeared to be a wood basket up in the sky filled with fire. I thought about the potential need to become alarmed, myself.

And then they drifted back the other way, over the people-barn and toward the roads. Then back over our corral, where us three horses and one bucket gal all stood stock still. But us horses was managin to chew our hay in the meantime. If ya got to run from fire from the sky, it’s likely best to do it on a full stomach. Then it went back over to the road still driftin, barely clearin the people-barn roof. It occurred to me it thusly that maybe it did not intend to be quite where it was. I doubted it possessed much of a clear plan for flyin.

Then it breathed and spat out even more fire, and it rose up some, and the people chattered more. It changed course, fire and chatterin and all, floatin low but steady over the roads, and over the roofs of the other people-barns and ranches of the County Island. It left towards the general direction of the trailhead where I’d seen the big colorful tarp upon the ground with the strange early morning picnic people.

But the big colorful tarp upon the ground had been upon the ground, not up in the sky. It had been no balloon made out of hot air. Or had it? Maybe it was a dead and flattened one. It didn’t look burned up that I recall, but maybe the fire got to it. Maybe that’s why the sky people had to eat their breakfast picnic upon the ground. Maybe that’s why our riders through us horses might be upset about it. Maybe I was losin the last shred of ranch sense I was born with.

People can’t fly. And that’s a fact.

Things that do fly is proper birds, and bees. And improper drone-birds. And all the proper flyin things do not neither breathe nor shoot out flames.

Coors piped up. “I wonder if the people paid to come see us this morning, if that’s why they were here?”

I didn’t know what paid was, except as a nonsense-word used like “I got to pay the damned hay bill,” or “I got to pay another vet bill again,” but if people want to come see us, all they got to do is walk on up. Come on over to the fence. Wave a carrot. Act like normal County Island people. Stay out of the sky.

“Ain’t nobody who wants to pay to see you!” I blew back at Coors through my own nostrils. It was kinda uncalled for on my part. But then, he was the one who first told me tall tales about the sky people. And he was also the main one who made me look up and see ‘em, with my own horse-eyes, that day. So it was his fault I had to know about ‘em at all. Mostly it’s good for a good horse to be informed of things, but there’s a lot of things a horse is best left uninformed about, too, especially here on the County Island. Sky people is at the top of that list. And no good ever came from a horse raisin his neck up to the sky and lookin for what ain’t even supposed to be there.

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No, it did not look like this. But it was nearly as ridiculous as a hot air horse flyin in the sky.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Stranger Things

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Who was the strange man who roamed the County Island, and what did he want with us?

By us, I mean us horses, naturally. But the strange man was a li’l over-concerned with the people of the County Island, too — not that people problems mean much to a horse, generally.

At first I ignored the strange man. Then I set to observin him, from a safe and respectable distance of course. I think maybe he was observin me, too, in a real sorta erratic way, like a bumblin flyin beetle bug that’s flyin without a lick of direction. Or a steer that’s gone loco and lost all direction except circlin. There ain’t been nothin like him on the County Island neither before nor since, not as far as anybody, or any horse or other intelligent critter, seems to know. I suppose I ought to try to corral my own thoughts about him, thusly.

The first time I spied him, I was nappin in my own li’l horse-corral with Coors and Coors Light in the bright light of midday. He was walkin down the main road not real purposeful, more like meanderin, but dressed in fresh people-work clothes that ain’t real practical for roamin among the rocks and cactuses of the County Island. A horse really don’t care what a person puts on his body parts, but it was an unusual sight, especially seein as how most of my own experience with people wearin people-work clothes is the bucket gal freakin out about such natural things as horse snot or slobber getting stuck to her precious people-work clothes. People is funny about their clothes. They’d likely be better off not wearin any at all, except they all seem to be sheered as sheep-shorn as a show horse beneath ‘em. And like the legendary County Island Barenekkid Jogger of days done by, ain’t nobody needs to see more of that.

A bit later, the bucket gal took me out for a ride. On our way out, the strange man in his people-work clothes was sittin cross-legged on the ground beneath a tall and skinny tree. That’s a real smart way to ruin people-clothes, right there. But he didn’t act like he cared, or noticed.

The bucket gal kinda reined me up like maybe she meant to say somethin to him, but then she told me walk on. Out of the corner of one eye, I saw him get up, and walk across the road to my own people’s people-barn. My sharp ears heard him ring what’s called the doorbell. But not like people lookin to do honest work such as tree-trimmin and people-pond cleanin. Also he didn’t leave any fly-away papers that I could see that fly off the doors to litter the roads. And he didn’t appear to want to ask no one if they’d heard the word of the man the people say lives up in the big blue sky above us. He surely didn’t ask us.

I set to wonderin why he’d go ring our own people-barn doorbell that when he just done saw the bucket gal and me leave that same people-barn, and if he wanted to say somethin to her, why didn’t he do it directly? Then I let go of my foolish thoughts. As we continued down the road, I caught him again with my side-eye goin to the next people-barn, and ringin their people-doorbell. And then down the road he wandered, to yet the next people-barn, and also rang their doorbell. And then we turned the corner and I lost track of him, and thusly stopped wonderin and carin at all.

We came back around a li’l while later at the end of our trail. He was standin back where he sat before. Somewhere, he’d acquired a shiny li’l knife and a apple, and he was thusly peelin it and also starin at us. I hate apples. He peeled his real slow and deliberate. Skinnin it, more like.

We ambled on. The bucket gal set her heels into my sides a bit unnecessarily to speed me up some.

I was back under the barn roof, bein unsaddled, when a voice said from nowhere, “Can I pet him?”

I opened both my eyes. He was standin at the fence rail, not 12 people-feet between him and us, especially me, so stealthy I didn’t hear him walk up. He still had his knife, and his apple.

“No. He bites,” said the bucket gal, in a tone I don’t hear often but Coors Light does when he’s bein told to quit it. But I surely do not bite. In the meantime, sensin an apple and an eager apple-feeder, Original Coors and Coors Light appeared at the fence rail. “They bite, too, sorry,” said the bucket gal, and tossed rocks at the Ayrab brothers to shoo ‘em off the fenceline. “Back, back! Don’t bite!” she commanded them. It was real peculiar.

“OK, then have a nice day,” the man said, and walked off still whittlin away at his apple. He stopped a ways further off, by our main corral gate, and stood there instead. Then he wandered off out of sight in the fadin evenin light. By then he’d been hangin around the County Island for near five people-hours, which is a real unusual, long time for a person to be focused on any one activity. I supposed maybe he finally headed off to whatever his people-job was.

The bucket gal wrapped up the untackin and set about what’s surely the most important part of her day – feedin us. She wandered back to the hay shed and us three horses went to the opposite fenceline as is our custom to stand before each of our own buckets and wait for sweet feed. I listened with rumblin insides and happy anticipation to the feed bein slung in the scoop and the hay flakes bein separated from their bales and tossed into the feed cart.

I heard an odd cluck, cluck sound, like maybe we’d got a chicken. Then, again. Coors and Coors Light turned their heads toward the clucks, which was comin from the strange man, standin back at our own gate, cluckin and wavin his arms through the rails, palms up, like he’d brought somethin else for horses other than a disgustin apple, which seemed to be gone. But I’d seen enough signs of trouble not to get involved, plus bucket time was plumb upon us. And hadn’t the strange man been warned of how dangerous and bitey we was?

Off marched Coors Light to the gate, tailed closely by Coors. I was gonna pin my ears to warn ‘em, but, well, it was bucket time. I saw ‘em sniff his hands, one on each side of him, and then Coors appeared to try a mouthful and then spit it out.

“Aaa, aaaa, aaa!” the bucket gal yelled, havin appeared with our full feed cart. ”Come on, boys! Dinner! Please don’t feed them! They’re on special diets and they’ll bite your hand!”

Coors and Coors Light, disappointed by the strange man’s stranger offerin, was headed back, anyhow.

“They’re just peanut M&Ms,” the strange man called out, gave a half-wave, and walked off, again.

We then got our buckets and hay, but in a real distracted and entirely slow fashion. The bucket gal was preoccupied with watchin the strange man walk away down the road. I doubt people have got hackles, but I think hers was raised.

As we was chowin down, I saw her take out her tiny telephone that lives in her pocket, and tell the telephone to tell the people-sheriff somethin about the strange man and his clothes and his knife and his apple and his doorbell ringin and such. “I don’t know what he needs,” she told the tiny telephone, “but he needs something.”

Later on a sheriff car came by, and stopped to tell the bucket gal they couldn’t find no trace of the strange man we’d seen.

But I saw him again, a whole lot later, in the dark, sittin down cross-legged on the corner of the road in the dirt again. Sittin. Waitin. Starin into the night. Not movin hardly at all except to breathe.

The next time I bothered to look, he was gone. And he stayed gone, far as a horse could tell. Maybe he did need somethin after all, and maybe he found it that night. I hope he did find it, but I’m also kinda glad he didn’t find it with us.

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Lost

Lost blog photo

Lost

A Poe-tree, by Whiskey

Been losin my teeth —

Well, not me, but my mouth is,

On account of age.

But age means wisdom,

And the best part of bein

Full of wisdom’s FOOD.

Food means more buckets.

Buckets of this, buckets of

That. Lots of that.

Grain, pellets, rice bran,

Lots of Equine Senior, too,

And also gluco—

Glu – co – so – my – een?

Stuff for my bad hawks.

And dog medicine.

That’s called Previcox.

But if a person asks, it’s

For sure Equiox

On account of I

Am a bonafide ranch horse

And I ain’t no dog.

The point is, it all

Tastes great to a toothless mouth.

But mostly tooth-full.

I still got most my teeth

Even if they’re worn flat as

A road-kill raccoon.

Sorry to be so

Indelicate, but likely

You know what I mean.

If not, well, my teeth

Is all smooth and flat.

What’s left, anyhow.

The point is, buckets!

There’s perks to bein toothless.

And ya get respect

In the form of food.

And also, County Island

Folks say Aww! when they

Find out you’re real old.

Like age makes a horse worth more.

Which it likely does.

Age, wisdom, buckets —

It’s good to be a horse here,

County Island-style,

Unless your bucket

Gal’s runnin late! Then you’re just

A sad old-timer

Waitin to gum your

Wet feed, waitin by the fence …

Waitin, waitin, wait —

Wait! Here she comes now!

OHMYGOD, feed the old horse!

Before he might lose

As much hopefulness

As all the teeth he’s missin!

Not to sound prancey.

Mmm-mmm. My mouth’s full.

I got sweet feed to eat, ya’ll.

So kindly — get lost.

Unless maybe you brought me a cookie?

 

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Flippin’ Birds

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 too!”

“Is not!”

“Is too!”

“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.

Flippin Birds blog photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2016 in Uncategorized