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?

On Ice

What would possibly possess a person to give an old, toothless horse a block of ice to eat? I ask on account of it happened to me, and also to Original Coors and Coors Light, one real sweaty day on the County Island durin the highest heat of the long hot time. And, well, I suppose I ain’t entirely toothless, but I got a few teeth that’s vamoosed entirely from their proper place in my own mouth, and there’s some more that seem downright questionable, but that ain’t the point. The point’s a hard one to make, and likely involves a person’s heart froze as cold as ice.

We was snoozin and swishin flies in the shade in the middle of the day, when the bucket gal emerged from the people-barn, with buckets, which is real crucial to the crux of the thing, namely: day buckets? Well, alright then. And she rattled the buckets to make a real promisin rattlin feed-sound. We didn’t quite come out from the shade, but she appeared to be bringin them to us, which seemed sensible for stayin out of the sun burnin hot like the farrier’s forge.

Original Coors made his worst mare-face at Coors Light, and Coors Light grumped right back at him and kicked out at nothin on principle with one hind foot, which made Original Coors stomp a front foot and shake his head. Me, I pricked my ears at the happy surprise of a day bucket. And thus, the bucket gal set my bucket before my own hooves first and let the Coorses sort out their family squabble. And I plunged my own head deep into my bucket, mouth opened wide to chow down on those sweet pellets of feed — and damned near froze my tongue on somethin solid. So I took a bite, and I damned near broke a tooth. What the…?

What kinda person gives a horse a block of ice to eat on a real hot day?

What kinda person gives a horse a block of ice to eat?

Coors and Coors Light was in a similar situation with their own buckets. With more stompin and ear-pinnin, they traded places back and forth before finally decidin they each had a ice berg (which is what the people call it when the water troughs get froze solid in the cold time – a ice “berg,” which is a nonsense word) of their own.

I cocked my head to have a proper look at the ice berg in my bucket. It was carrots, lots and lots of tiny bites of ‘em, froze into a block bigger than a whole apple. But, why?

I tried to take a smaller bite, which at least allowed me to grab hold of the carrot ice berg. And I licked it with the length of my tongue. Lick, bite, lick, lick, bite, bite… Slowly, eventually, thusly I seemed to be makin some meltin progress.

Carrot ice

Carrot ice “berg,” berg bein a made-up people-word

When I was able to grab hold of the whole thing with my teeth, I tried smashin it against the side of the bucket to maybe smash the carrots out of it, but that was no more good than hoof-stompin or ear-pinnin. Then again, maybe it was. So I grabbed it and smashed it some more. Meanwhile, Coors Light was havin better luck smashin his, and meltin it into slurpy li’l puddles of carrot water. So, that’s how the carrot ice berg was to be broke. Smash, lick, bite, smash, lick, bite into a cold, crunchy CARROT.

It kept us occupied for a real long time right there in the shade, with all the smashin, lickin, bitin and slurpin. And also I’d like to beg your pardon for the indelicate wordage herewith if you’re accustomed to a horse that eats in a more proper manner, but carrot ice bergs seem to call for some serious slurpin. And I got to admit, it refreshed us a bit, too, I guess, if I’d have to say. For some ridiculous reason that only a person could hope to know about, I think it also made the bucket gal happy. She told us they was carrot “pop sick’els,” though I don’t know why they’re called that on account of thankfully they didn’t make a pop sound, and they didn’t make any of us sick, more like a kinda irritable about the ice part. But like I always say, happy people means happy horses.

But what I ain’t got to do, likely ever, is understand one lick of it. No, not one actual lick. Nor three, nor thirty, nor however many licks it takes to get to the center of a carrot ice berg pop- sick’el. How many licks does it take, y’all might be wonderin? I dunno. I lost count crunchin on carrot bits.


Posted by on September 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


Made in the Shade

The least appreciative horse I ever made the acquaintance of on the whole and entire County Island’s got to be my own horse-buddy Coors Light. I ain’t a horse who “throws shade” around — I learned to say that from a horse down the road who came from a faraway ranch called the Joisey Ranch, to hear him tell it in his funny Joisey horse-talk. It means to talk trash, or likely also to be wasteful, on account of where I came from, shade was scarce and not a thing to be wasted by horse nor human nor any kind of critter. So y’all know thusly that it pains me to say it, about Coors Light, and also that it’s true.

A good ranch horse appreciates a good spot of shade. Where I was raised back at the ranch, tall trees was few and far between, and if you was lucky enough to find one or have one, you made your stand right there beneath its cool branches. Real scrubby brush works, too, if a horse can duck his head under it, or back his hind end up under it and park it in the shade. And on a long workin day when you’re bein rode out to take care of the cattle or mind your own ranch-horse chores, it’s the best feelin in the world to come across some shade when your cowboy tells you to whoa yourself for a spell and let it cast its cool spell on your hide. Shade’s also good for blockin out the rain, unless it’s a whole lotta rain that nothin can stop, and also for fightin off the wind sometimes if it’s real cold. But brush works best for cold wind, like a real brushy creosote if you got that.

It ain’t no surprise, then, that there’s pampered pet County Island horses such as my own Coors Light who don’t appreciate how much shade they got in their own li’l pet-horse corrals. County Island folks even build more horse-shade on purpose, and they call ‘em barns and mare motels (but geldins can go in ‘em, too — I don’t know about studs). And if the shade they built still ain’t got enough shade, they add on more shade by stringin up big breezy tarps that’s even called shades.

This here’s the short and also sad story of Coors Light’s stall shade.

It made it maybe one big full moon-time intact. Coors Light’s a horse that thinks entirely too much. A good horse ought to accept things as they come, and not be so busy all the time thinkin. And also he likes a challenge.

It started one day when he touched it with his teeth to see what it’d do. And it gave a li’l bit. And he snapped it with his teeth, and pulled. It tore in a tiny straight line.

Bein a downright geometrical horse, which is to say a horse who can make proper shapes on account of bein prancified and such when bein rode in a prancin arena, he set to makin tiny, precise shapes in his stall shade.

First a straight line. And then he made it into the precise shape of a prancin arena, with long, even sides and short, even ends. And then he added a couple more smaller prancin arena shapes.

And the bucket gal came out every night and put foul and hot-smellin stuff on top of it, which would keep any sensible horse from puttin his sensitive lips anywhere near it.

Coors Light liked the taste. So he nipped a near damned perfect circle in the shade, too. He also licked all the places the bucket gal sprayed the hot horse-don’t-chew-on-this stuff. Eventually I think she ran out of horse-stop-chewin options. Or she plumb lost her will.

Whenever a tiny shred of the shade came loose, Coors Light pulled on that thread with his teeth, and made himself a big window in his shade he could stick his entire head and neck through to look upon the big ol’ nothin that’s behind his stall. It also let in the burnin hot sun and the rain, but Coors Light didn’t care none. If ya may recall, he’s also the one of us who pokes his head into cactus on purpose.

On days when he remained stallbound, he embellished it some more.

Over time, it set to saggin some across the middle. He made a big ol’ saggy wavy line near from end to end of the shade which he indicated was called a serpentine in prancey horse lingo.

I guess he got bored after that, havin made all the proper prancin shapes there was and drawin dressage tests.

Eventually there came a wild County Island wind that whipped Coors Light’s shade real good. The bucket gal declared it to be dead to the world and ripped what remained of it apart and carried it off to wherever the dead stall shades go.

Unlike me, who’s got my trees and my brush that I like better than the mare motel, and Original Coors, who’s still got his whole, entire stall shade intact, I reckon Coors Light ain’t never gonna have it made in the County Island shade again.


Posted by on August 5, 2015 in Uncategorized


Alfalfa Brain

There are some horses, and more people, who think a thing can change its ways or appearance when everyhorse and every person knows it can’t and it won’t. Which is not to say horses, and some people, ain’t trainable, ‘cause from my own horse-observations, we all are, and some of them are, too. But a thing is whatever thing it was born to be, and that’s how it’ll thusly always be. So for instance if a person on the County Island sees a snake, and thusly knows it’s snake, it don’t matter how purty the snake is, nor how convinced a person is it can train up a snake to be somethin else, or hope that maybe it won’t bite him, or maybe take it home to make it be a pet like a pet dog or a pet barn-cat — yeah, I know that’s ridiculous, the notion of a pet snake, and it ain’t my finest example, but kindly come along with me on this trail — a snake is always gonna do what snakes do.

This is a verifiable example of what’s called havin an alfalfa brain — when some horses chow down on a whole lot of alfalfa hay, self certainly not included, they start seein their surroundins for what they ain’t instead of what they is. Instead of a boulder-rock, they see a hunched-over horse-eatin monster. Instead of a bird in the brush, they see a horse-eatin monster. Instead of a person joggin down the road pushin what’s called a baby stroller, which is like a tiny li’l horse trailer for human foals, they see a horse-eatin monster. Pretty much everythin’s a horse-eatin monster.

People get real bad cases of the alfalfa brain sometimes, too, as regards horse behavior and as regards, from what I can observe as a horse, their own peculiar herd behavior. It likely ain’t literal, on account of I ain’t never considered if people eat alfalfa hay or not. And they don’t see no people-eatin monsters, generally. Instead they see what they’d like to see, instead of what is. And then they get kinda sore and sad when it ain’t what they want it to be, or downright mare-faced crabby.

But enough about people. The point is, you can addle up your own horse-self into thinkin whatever ya want to think about a thing, but that don’t ever change a thing. And even the most sensible of horses come down with a case of alfalfa brain.

For instance. There’s a horse I know who’s kinda palomino-colored. And he’s also an old ranch horse. But he definitely ain’t me, on account of y’all know I’m an honest horse and I would never embellish such a thing.

One time, this kinda palomino-colored old ranch horse who’s a lot like me but who ain’t me thought he saw a real giant black and white cow comin down the road way off in the far, far distance, near so far as to where even a horse can’t tell for sure what it is, and with a rider on its back. And it was wearin a big ol’ saddle blanket, and a big ol’ proper western saddle, and even a proper western horse-bridle. So this horse froze in his tracks, and raised his neck and his head up as tall as they could be, and also arched his neck, and he stared. And he stared. And his hooves refused to budge from where they was planted in the dust, on account of wonderin now was the people really ridin cows around the County Island? I mean, around his own ranch, wherever it is. And he could not take his old eyes off the giant saddle-broke cow, not even when the bucket gal — that is to say, his bucket gal — petted him and tried to direct his attention back to his horse-duties. And also maybe laughed at him a little.

Turns out, it was only the black and white pinto horse who lived down the road, and not a giant saddle-broke cow. And also this all happened right after he’d cleaned up his entire breakfast consistin of a big bucket of alfalfa pellets and had fresh alfalfa on his brain, maybe.

But a pinto horse is just a pinto horse. It ain’t a cow, no matter what a horse may think it looks like, and it can never be a cow. A snake is just a snake. And there’s always a tiny li’l slim chance that maybe this time, that bird ya hear makin tiny bird noises deep inside the brush might be a horse-eatin monster. Especially if you’re one of the Coors horse-brothers and you’re distrustful of bird noises. I like to remind ‘em of that lest they grow complacent and get themselves ate by a real horse-eatin monster one day. I am, if nothin else, a helpful and trustworthy horse, always. As much as I tease ‘em, I’d miss ‘em somethin fierce if a horse-eatin monster did to ‘em what horse-eatin monsters do.

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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Roll With the Changes

When you’re a horse that’s ridin in a rollin white horse-box, its kinda a strange sensation. If ya ain’t never been in one before, kindly allow me to explain. First off, a rollin white horse-box is a rollin big box of a thing, set on rolly-wheels, which horses go into, like a cave or a barn-stall. Mostly I seen ‘em in white, but I’ve also seen ’em in grey, palomino, black and brown. Sometimes red or even bright-sun yella. Mostly white, though. When your person opens up the door to the thing and says “Load up!” your job as a horse is to load yourself straight up. If it’s a proper stock trailer, which was the only kind I knew about before I came to live on the County Island. you can then thusly turn yourself to face whichever way you like, and plant your hooves where they feel most grounded on the hollow-feelin fence-wood ground thing part of it, and also often give the stink-eye to whichever cattle you’re travelin with.

If it’s a County Island horse-box contraption, you got to stand inside your own slot with the big white wall thing next to ya, and you got to stay tied where they tie ya, but there’s always a huge hay net stuffed full of hay no matter how short of a trip you’re takin, so that’s alright with me. It don’t matter much which way your hooves are planted when you got your face planted deep in a hay bag. Once you’re settled in, you can keep on eatin, and look out the window-hole and watch how fast trees, and fields and even other rollin people-vehicles can fly past a horse, like they could gallop. Which they can’t. And then eat some more. Maybe pin your ears at your trailer compadres, be they horses or cows. Most likely they’re gonna be other horses on the County Island. And that’s pretty much the entire lowdown of ridin in a rollin horse-box. No horse ought to fear it nor resist climbin aboard one and causin a great big ol’ fuss with their handler — unless, of course, the handler’s like our own bucket gal and ain’t askin ya in the lingo you’re best familiar with — ‘cause a trailer ain’t the mouth of neither a cave containin a cougar that might eat a horse, nor the open jaws of an even bigger critter that might eat a horse. Unless somethin suddenly goes south.

Things went south once while I was rollin along nose-deep in my hay.

The first time it nearly blew through one of its whoas, it kinda woke me up and tossed me, and I scrambled my legs around off-guard. Then we set to rollin along fine again, and I went back to dozin off while chewin.

Then I think maybe it started to whoa proper-like the next time it tried to slow down, but the whole entire rollin horse-box felt like it locked its legs and set itself to pull back, which is a real strange thing since a rollin horse-box ain’t got legs nor have I ever observed one to pull back when it’s tied to its rumbly-truck.

And then it squealed at me. And it kept squealin, even after it whoaed, and even after it set to rollin again.

So I kicked. And I kicked again, to maybe say, hey there, bucket gal! We got a problem. And also make it stop. But it kept on squealin kinda like underneath my hooves. Like maybe we’d got a pig stuck down there or somethin? I got no idea how or why that’d happen, but I have observed stranger things bein a horse. But it kept on squealin and rollin. So I stopped kickin. There ain’t no point to ever makin your own point more than ya got to. If ya continue bangin and carryin on too long, other horses, and other people, will likely get after ya. The pig was gonna have to fend for itself.

When we rolled into the trailhead we was meant to stop at, the rollin horse-box persisted in squealin some more, and also pullin back and kinda buckin against the tie-rail part between it and the rumbly-truck. I tried hard not to kick anymore, but I scrambled on my feet and kicked on accident.

I heard the rumbly-truck door and real fast footsteps. Then the bucket gal opened the big back door, and before she’d even untied me, I was turned around to make a real fast exit. I did my best not step on her, but still. I looked around at the trailhead with my eyes real wide to try to see the squealin pig that’d been travelin with us, but there was no pig. I ain’t scared of pigs, but if this one knew somethin I didn’t by its persistent squeals, a smart horse ought to pay attention.

The bucket gal was strokin my neck real soft-like and tellin me sorry about the “breaks” that was bad. Her words was gentle, but her hands was damned near shakin. And there weren’t no pig to be seen anywhere. I blowed out through my nostrils, and dropped my head to graze on what there was for grazin. And then everythin was fine except for whatever thing has done broke, and now that I was out of the horse-box, the only thing good and broke was me, in the good and proper horse-way.

The ride back home after our pointless County Island trail ride was kinda bucky and pig-squealy again, but I didn’t worry myself about it this time. And it felt like the horse-box rolled and stopped itself with a whole lot more care along the way like it was tryin hard to be better behaved despite its bad breaks.

That’s the only time I ever experienced a misbehavin rollin horse-box. So if sometime maybe it happens to you, just roll with it. Them’s the breaks.

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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


Fraidy Cats

There been times I was rode cross-country and the wind’s shifted to where I can smell one of those smells that can make a horse nervous. Generally, it’s the stink of javelina-pigs, those beady-eyed varmints that will blindly charge after anythin that scares ‘em on account of they can’t see hardly anythin and they believe the best offense is a strong defense — a behavior that’s guaranteed to make almost every critter high-tail it in the opposite direction from ‘em. But sometimes, it’s big cats.

Big cats may, or may not, leave a horse alone. Mostly it’s may, and that’s mostly reassurin. But it’s best not to hang around to inquire of the cat how it’s feelin about horses that day. Big cats got big, powerful paws to grab at a horse, and also big, powerful teeth to eat a horse, plus they smell like somethin that eats horses, and they can run fast enough. I never met a horse that’s got eaten by a big cat, and, well, I guess now I couldn’t meet it if it’d already been ate, anyhow, could I? And I also never met a horse who’d been partially eaten. Nor attempted to be eaten. But, like all the colts back at the ranch where I was raised, I heard the stories. And like all horses, I know it deep down inside my own bones that there are some critters a horse ain’t meant to mess with.

Thusly, I can comprehend it when a horse gets a bit twitchy when the wind blows the wrong way and he gets a whiff of somethin cat-like. Only, it’s funny when the horse is my buddy Coors Light, and when the whiff of whiskers that set him to twitchin belong to a barn cat.

Coors Light don’t like barn cats. I don’t mean don’t like like he’ll drop-kick ‘em if they try to climb up his tail, which is reasonable even for a well-mannered ranch horse like me. I mean don’t like as in if our own bucket gal’s got cat scent on her hands, not even a actual cat actually IN her own hands, he’ll snort and back off from her like she herself was a mountain lion. Which she ain’t. Or if the horse prancin trainin lady’s got one on her lap while he’s engaged in a prancin lesson and he sees it, he’ll blow out through his nostrils and show it the white of his own eyes. It makes the prancin trainin lady laugh on account of Coors Light’s mostly near as bomb-proofed as me, despite the limitations of his birth and upbringin.

The main difference between a proper mountain lion-cat and a barn cat is a lion cat wants to call ya dinner and a barn cat wants to use ya for what the people call a jungle-gym and pretend to call ya dinner while also callin ya friend. Mostly barn cats want to be friends, though they have a downright pestersome way of showin it.

Maybe Coors Light’s twitchy on account of we ain’t never seen the actual barn cat around here, only smelled it, and it smells like plain ol’ cat to my nostrils, which is to say it smells like barn-cat kibble, not like it’s freshly grazed-upon horse flesh. Original Coors claims that it ain’t a barn cat at all, it’s a people-barn cat, and that’s why we never see it. He says he’s seen it sittin in the window of the people-barn, lookin out at us, and that it never gets let out to hunt neither pack rats nor horses. The only thing I need to know about the windows in the people-barn is, if it’s dark in the mornin, when the people-barn window flips on bright like the dawnin sun, it’s feedin time.

Or maybe Coors Light got mauled by a barn cat as a colt. And by mauled I mean maybe it swatted at him and scared him off all cats for life. There’s far sillier stuff a horse can fear, for far sillier reasons.

So in the meantime, in Coors Light’s Ayrab-horse mind, the invisible barn cat’s likely growed into a lion of legendary proportions. And I can’t deny it ain’t, myself. At least that’s what I like to convey to him, even though it generally ain’t funny nor good manners for a horse to poke fun at whatever may spook another horse, lest it set to spookin him, too.

This here'd likely be Coors Light's worst nightmare.

This here’d likely be Coors Light’s worst nightmare.

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Posted by on June 14, 2015 in Uncategorized


Waste ‘n Management

I can't even bear to tell y'all what this is here. You're gonna have to read about it for yourselves.

I can’t even bear to tell y’all what this is here. You’re gonna have to read about it for yourselves.

It ain’t always easy, bein a brave horse, despite what some folks think. Even the bravest ranch horse may not want to be brave sometimes. He may be shakin from the tips of his ears to the bottom of his hooves, even if you can’t always see it directly as a person, with your tiny li’l people-eyes. It don’t matter whether what a horse is faced with — if it’s a real scary, maybe slippery deep arroyo he’s got to cross in order to get someplace where he’s needed on the ranch, or the sudden sight of a pack of beady-eyed stinkin javelina-pigs when he comes around a bend through some brush. Or, here on the County Island, if it’s a great, big rumbly-truck that’s called a garbage truck.

Mostly, they rumble on past us on the roads where the people-cars and rumbly-things run, and it’s all cool. Well, unless they sound off with their hissy-squeal, which is called “hittin their air breaks.” That sound can startle a horse as bad as a rattle from a snake or a squeal from a pig, and it sounds like the two of ‘em put together in one critter, which ain’t right, and they smell worse than pigs, too. Sometimes they even fart a foul gas from their hindquarters. Apologies for bein indelicate. So a garbage truck is kind of a distasteful critter in general, but like the rattlesnakes and the javelina-pigs, we got to learn to give each other some space and thusly get along.

In particular there was one day when I learned why a horse ought not to trust ‘em even though he’s got to live with ‘em. Also, livin with don’t got to mean likin. On that one day, I learned what it is they really do here on the County Island. Some of you more sensitive or flighty, hot-blooded types might want to hoof it and come back to my story-tellin another time.

We was headin down the road, and I heard the big ol’ rumbly-garbage truck comin. Mostly what I been trained up to do in such situations is stop off to the side, and wait ‘til he passes. It’s a good trick for a horse to know, and for a person to know to teach to a horse. Rumbly sound means whoa. It teaches a horse there ain’t no reason to panic. Ya stop, ya wait, then ya move on, “no problemo” like we used to hear back at the ranch.

We stepped aside and I stopped to wait with all my usual patience. But instead of rumblin by, the garbage truck rumbled right up beside us. He was after the garbage cans damned near right next to us — pardon my french. The bucket gal’d picked the absolute wrong place to park me and I didn’t have nowhere else to go! The garbage truck was blockin the tiny ranch road which is called a “drive way” right in front of where we stood. And he wasn’t fixin to move nor to give us some space to move away, neither. We’d have to wait right next to him while he did whatever he was gonna do. I might’ve overheard some people-french from the bucket gal as she swung out of the saddle lightnin-fast. It was gonna be so bad, whatever it was, that she had to get off me for it, and hold my reins, and pet my neck. Aw, hell…

I never saw what garbage trucks DO before, nor did I ever care. It ain’t got nothin to do with feedin horses, nor waterin horses, nor halterin horses, nor feedin us, so why would I?

The truck squealed and farted at us, and then he grew long front legs that reached down from way on up high above his own head, and he stuck the biggest claws I ever seen straight into the sides of the garbage can. And then he lifted that helpless garbage can straight up into the air. And he turned it upside down. And then he shook out all its entire guts and laid waste to all its innards.

I jerked sideways and my eyes went real wide. I couldn’t help myself no matter how bad I tried to stay still. The bucket gal told me it’s OK, whoa and easy, and kept strokin my neck. Now, I been broke to death, and I’ve worn a lot of wet saddle blankets. I also been bomb-proofed by the horse police. But none of that was ever like this.

Finally the giant truck-claws took the poor garbage can and set it back on the earth where I always see it stand before, doin nothin, not botherin nobody. Only now, it was entirely emptied out and hollow inside its body like a old, dried-out dead thing left for the vulture-birds to pick at. And then the garbage truck farted at us again, and then he squealed off to rumble back down the road. The bucket gal led me in search of a big rock she could stand on to get back onboard, and our ride resumed with no further fuss nor horror.

The point is, a good horse always manages to do his job, even if his job ends up bein watchin a monster-claw garbage truck lay waste to one of a whole lot of unsuspectin garbage cans that live around the County Island. Since the incident, I also heard tell that the garage truck goes around regularly disembowelin all the horse-manure dumpsters the people keep at their ranches, but I aim to manage to never find that out for myself.


Posted by on May 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


Endurance and Other Tall Tales

One time on the County Island, I met an Ayrab horse (I mean other than my own two sidekicks, Original Coors and Coors Light) who told me the tallest horse tale I ever done heard. We was in the middle of workin cattle, which is to say, playin the stupid County Island cow game called team sortin. I don’t generally like to shoot the breeze when I’m workin, even if I’m only workin within the confines of a 100-people-feet pen that all the cows we’re pennin is already properly penned in. And I find multi-taskin in general’s a real bad idea. But when another horse keeps shootin the breeze at you, a horse can’t help but listen to the wind whippin around his ears.

Chatty Cathy had time to talk on account of, in addition to bein a mare, she was holdin the gate while I did all the work. I was doin all the work on account of if ya want somethin done right, let the ranch horse do it, I suppose, and also on account of ol’ CC’d never squared off with bovines before, and was better behaved lettin ‘em lope past her than she was sortin ‘em herself. It was a downright reasonable strategy her person and my bucket gal devised, for County Island people, even with the part where I had to do everythin. And frankly, her flashy-bright bridle and her whole, entire get-up from her matchin flashy-bright hoof boots to her matchin flashy-bright water-sponge-thing would probably only serve to frighten and scatter the cattle. Why was she carryin a water-sponge-thing, anyhow? Was her person fixin to try to give a cow a sponge bath? That I might like to see.

CC and her person guarded the gate when I was reined into the pen where the cows waited in a cluster.

“Number six!” said the big, loud speaker-voice that tells the people how to count and identify cattle, rather than the proper way by color and size. “Start with number six!”

So we walked in real quiet to Six’s shoulder and nudged her forward. She was a docile li’l brown cow who trotted right in front of me, and stepped nicely past CC and to the other end of the big pen without so much as causin a spook, and she mooed a real nice “thank you kindly, Mr. Horse” to me, too. I liked Six.

“I can trot for 50 miles,” claimed CC out of the clear blue sky as I trotted back past her to go get longhorn Seven. As I hustled the uncooperative brindle cow, I thought to myself, leave it to the horse that ain’t liftin a hoof to boast about how far it can trot. Then how come ya can’t trot 10 people-feet to help me get this critter? And the thought nearly cost me the cow, when the bucket gal brought me up short and gave me a kick to tell me pay attention. Seven got sent past CC so quick she nearly nicked her horns in unsuspectin CC’s hide, and CC’s person let out a screech that actually served to set CC nearly into a spin. There’s no spinnin nor screechin necessary in team sortin.

“Pay attention,” I pinned my ears at her.

“I have friends who can trot 100 miles,” CC pouted as I passed her again.

“Do not,” I wuffled on my way back to the herd. I separated plain black Eight from the herd, though she was doin her best to hide her number behind plain black Two’s hind end.

I sent Eight on over past CC.

“Well, maybe not the whole 100. But they cover 100 miles in one day. My mom wants to do 100 miles with me in the tevis cup!” CC asserted as I brought in sorrel longhorn Nine.

I didn’t have the breath nor the inclination to argue, but I kept my horse-ears on backwards.

CC claimed the cup deal was a race, as I came past her with long and lean, no-horns brindle Zero.

“Thought you rode trails,” I snorted out my nostrils, picturin her racin proper Thoroughbreds at the track like the horses called O-T-T-Bees had told me about, with her short li’l Ayrab mare tail all flagged — and damned if I nearly sorted the big black and white Two cow when I wanted the li’l black and white One cow. I caught myself before the bucket gal did. CC was blowin my proper cow countin concentrative abilities! I trotted One in with an extra crow hop and what may or may not have been an intentional cow kick, aimed in her general direction. It was well worth the light kick the bucket gal gave me.

Now CC was just prattlin and prancin in place. “Oh, I’m an endurance horse!” she shook her head. Well, she surely was testin the limits of my own endurance.

I pushed Two past the gate while she carried on, flingin her neck and swishin her tail and such, and tellin me more about her made-up endurance racin than a horse needs to know.

Endurance was a race but also “to finish was to win,” she claimed, which thusly convinced me further that it was a figment of her Ayrab imagination in which all the purty Ayrabs got prizes just for participatin, such as the load of manure Coors Light’d told me about how Ayrab shows had champions, and also “reserve” champions — which to my proper way of thinkin ain’t champions at all — and also real special winners called “top 10s.” By special I assumed he meant special like those horses who can’t get turned out to pasture without bein covered from hoof to head with special boots and wraps and paddin and such lest they wreck themselves.

And the tevis cup horses had vets on the trails with ‘em all the time to poke and prod at ‘em along the way and stick thermometers up their unmentionable places and generally pester ‘em, which sounded terrible to me.

And they started racin at dawn, and likely raced all day and night, and a lot of ‘em took a whole entire sun-up to sun-up to cross the finish line. That was plain ridiculous. People don’t want to ride across country at night! That’s when all the big, bad critters come out such as the mountain lion-cats and the grumpy bears. Plus people can’t see good at night with their tiny eyes. I never got rode throughout the night back at the ranch pushin cattle. It ain’t sensible nor necessary to get good work done.

We only had three cows to go — I only had two cows to go — wily white Brahma mama Three, Four the doe-eyed Jersey, and scrawny yearlin Brahma Five, who wanted to stay with his Mama Three. And the big loud speaker-voice hadn’t even gave the one-minute warnin yet! We was makin real good time — I was makin real good time! We might win this deal yet, not that the winnin came with anything but braggin rights, not even so much as a long and flappy “top 10” strip of ribbon.

I lined up the last three cows in a real nice row and brought ‘em in right before the speaker-voice yelled “TIME!”

My bucket gal and CC’s lady rider set to whoopin and hollerin and pattin our necks. We won, by way of pennin all 10 of the cattle when nobody else had.

“Thanks, that was fun!” CC flipped her forelock at me and gave me one of those mare-eyed look that might make a lesser geldin, such as Original Coors, melt.

“Yeah, it surely was,” I had to agree. “Thanks kindly for the tall tale.”

“It’s all true!” she neighed at me as she rode out of the pen. “Remember the tevis cup!”

I reckon I’d run my own tevis cup race that day, runnin back and forth catchin all the cows that was already actually caught. It might not have been 100 miles, which ain’t even possible, but it surely felt similar.

Some days, a ranch horse trots a lot more than others, even a mostly retired County Island ranch horse. This was more of a trottin day than a peaceable walkin day, for sure. Also, I finished movin all the cattle, and I won. That therefore fell under CC’s made-up creed of “to finish is to win.” So that was the day I realized I’m an endurance horse! After all, a good ranch horse always endures. I wonder if the tevis cup’s got any grain in it…

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Posted by on May 2, 2015 in Uncategorized


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