Tall Tales and Code Breakers

If a horse aims to exaggerate, his tale ought to stand at least as tall as his own withers. To tell a lesser tale that also ain’t truthful is an insult to a horse’s own personal code of proper behavior, which is also called the Code of the West. It’s a insult to horsedom. If a tale’s lesser and also true, that’s one thing. Truthful things often ain’t real interestin, but on the County Island, usually it’s the most true tales that’s the most strange – which a lot of folks also think is interestin on account of some folks is like that. It’s been a long time now since I spoke of the Code of the West directly, though it’s always part of everythin I do. Unlike for some horses. Horses with false tales hurt all of us. That’s exactly what I said to my own horse-buddy Coors Light one time, but it might’ve come out more like –

“Bull pucky!”

I’m a real tolerant horse. Ask anybody on the County Island or beyond it all the way back to the ranch. My reputation’s solid. But even tolerant horses got limits, and mine’s gray and an Ayrab and stands about 15.1 at the withers the day before the horse-shoein man’s due.

And so thusly I repeated myself, “Bull pucky!”

Hold that thought.

Tall Tales pic

I got myself all ready to go for a trail ride one fine day.

What I do to get ready is run around. To tell the truth, I don’t know exactly why I like to run around while the rollin white horse-box’s gettin hitched up, but I do. It’s a fun thing. And if ya got time enough on your hooves for fun, a horse should always have some. So the bucket gal was doin her people hitch thing, and I was flaggin my tail and lopin circles around the corral. I like to get Coors and Coors Light lopin, too. It’s part of the whole routine we perform before we go out someplace trail ridin, me and the bucket gal. She gets the rig hitched. I run for fun. She shouts somethin insincere such as, “Knock it off, Whiskey!” I run some more, and I buck-fart. She tells me that’s gross. I circle Coors and Coors Light and then cut ‘em off, and sometimes I like to call ‘em my cattle to their faces. The bucket gal shrugs and laughs, and off I go in the rollin white horse-box.

Only this time, she yelled at me with grave sincerity for makin Coors Light lope and buck so much. We wasn’t playin up excessive-like as far as I could tell. And also, he likes it. We play far worse when she ain’t around, but I suppose what a person don’t know can’t hurt ‘em.

She frets over Coors Light. Well, she frets over all of us, for different people-reasons that don’t make sense to a horse. One of Coors Light’s legs was suspended a while back, which means he was suspended from ridin until it healed up proper. The sweet-talkin but evil vet lady called it a supendery injury. And he busted his suspendery to start with by playin up and buckin hard with me one day. To me that says he was likely to bust it no matter what he did or did not do that day, but I also don’t care to know much about suspenderies. And, well, I got own my bad hawks which earned me my birthday “ramp” recent-like, and Original Coors has got his sore lack of a proper vicular, which is called havin no vicular at all. But still. Who cared if Coors Light played up hard once in a while? I ain’t got to repeat the answer. By which I mean the bucket gal cared.

And then she haltered Coors Light, not me. And away he went, cloppin up the rollin white horse-box’s new “ramp” which was my own personal 29th birthday gift to use, not his. She did tell me previous that maybe he and Coors could use it sometimes, but I had no idea by sometimes she meant right now. I couldn’t take my eyes and ears off ‘em as they rolled away, without me.

The Code of the West says a good horse has got to accept things as they come, rollin with the changes (and rollin for real if you’re feelin scratchy) – but it don’t say he’s got to like it. The same goes for rollin horse-boxes. It don’t matter if ya like steppin into ’em or not, if your person says get in, ya got to get in and go. But you can still pin your ears if they ain’t lookin, as long as all four of your legs is movin in the proper direction. And if your hawks is real bad, you can try and make a case for their badness like I done by necessity, and then maybe you’ll get a ramp, too.

They was gone a real long time.

Original Coors went to wait by the gate. He kept watch of the road for his brother from breakfast ‘til long past when the sun’s high in the sky.

A few rollin horse-boxes rolled past, and they was all white, but none of them was ours, and they was headed to other ranches, carryin other horses.

Me, I ate some, and drank some, and walked around some, and napped some, and pondered Coors and his position at the gate some, and rolled some to maintain the spirit of the Code, and then I ate some more.

Original Coors eventually turned his big, wide eyes toward me. “He’s coming back, right?”

“Couldn’t tell ya,” I replied. Not to be mean about it but to be a truthful horse, like the Code of the West says to be. The last time I ever left the ranch, I thought I’d come back to it like always, too. But I didn’t. And they’d been gone a lot longer than a normal trail ride time by now. I couldn’t lie, not even to an Ayrab-horse. And don’t tell, but especially not to him. He’s my buddy, lack of good breedin and all.

I forgot about the Code for a spell and started to wonder things horses ain’t meant to wonder.

I wondered if Coors Light went to the auction, like I did. But who would bid on a Ayrab-horse with no ranch skills at all?

Right as my thoughts and the sun started to sink, they came back!

So since the Code also says always be grateful for what ya got, I set to lopin more circles out of gratefulness for gettin Coors Light back, or somethin. Maybe I loped slower on account of overdoin it that mornin, but I still did it. Original Coors did, too, and not only ‘cause I made him. We was as happy as two County Island horses that’s also me and him can likely get.

Until Coors Light opened his mouth to whinny.

It wasn’t just a howdy, hey I’m back, hey I missed y’all too.

It was braggin. No, it was bald-faced as bald as a bad halter rub lyin.

So, “Bull pucky!” I said no sooner than he was unloaded and let go to roll.

He told a real dumb tall tale which insulted my intelligence, most of which I ain’t gonna bother to repeat, all about how he and the bucket gal AND the carrot guy went out ridin. Which is ridiculous ‘cause the carrot guy would ride ME if he rode at all. Coors Light said he rode a rolly-bike while the bucket gal rode him, and they went out like a herd of only one proper horse and one improper rolly-bike up and down and around all the hills. I happen to know he don’t do hills no more on account of his suspendery, so there. Some other amigos and their rolly-bikes came, too, and they made a picnic after, durin which he was fed LUNCH. And he was the only horse at the whole entire place. We never get fed lunch. I never get fed lunch. So I knew that was a lie. Rode so far and long he lost a hoof boot. Well, he was surely missin one now, but I’m sure that ain’t how it happened. Everybody givin him carrots from the palms of their hands. Travelers from beyond the County Island makin their picture with him. *I* get my own picture made with the tourists, not him. It’s happened any number of times with the folks who often talk like they ain’t from around these parts: “Look at ze be-you-tee-ful palo-meeno vestern cow pony wit ze cactus! Can we make ze picture?” That’s what they say.

“Draw me a picture of it in the sand with your own hoof or it didn’t happen,” I flattened my ears at him. It was a dumb thing to say, but still less dumb than what he’d said. “Or I’ll believe it when I hear the bucket gal tell it with my own ears.”

And then she did. But I still don’t believe it. Some days I think she makes up more stuff than Coors Light and Coors combined. And that’s directly in violation of the Code of the West.


Bull pucky.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 6, 2017 in Uncategorized


Step Two (which is part 2 of Step One)

So I done turned 29 years old. County Island people seem to care about that so I figured I’d mention it. And also the bucket gal told me, “Whiskey, I got you a special surprise for your special birthday!” Like bein 29 is more special than bein 28, or 27, or even 3. But I wasn’t about to decline a special surprise yet.

She said the surprise was meant to be all mine, and maybe Coors and Coors Light might like it, too, but it was mine and for me number-one. So I set to ponderin, which mostly ain’t productive for a horse, what sort of special surprise might it be? The rollin white horse-box was gone forever? It had gone away, like it does sometimes for reasons that don’t matter to a horse. And ever since my own bad hawks let me down it didn’t matter to me none if it never came back and I never stepped hoof in it again. Well, that ain’t true. Most horses feel that way about non-horse stuff regardless of their hawks.

Or, I thought… how much alfalfa could our li’l hay barn possibly hold?

I became sure she got me all the alfalfa hay bales I could eat. That had to be it. That’d be the best special surprise of all for a horse who’s 29. But where was she gonna stack so many fresh, leafy, sweet, mouth-waterin green, green bales meant for me? And maybe also some for Coors and Coors Light, but not much. They can’t hold their alfalfa like I can. Our hay shed ain’t real huge, either. I supposed that was her people-problem, not mine.

And I waited for the hay man to come. He and his rumbly-truck came and the tiny dog he brings along to help him all came and went, and they only dropped off the same plain grass hay we always get, and also my own single, solitary alfalfa bale that lasts me until next time he comes. Nothin surprisin nor special about none of that, other than the gratefulness a horse should always have for havin fresh feed to eat. Nothin that seemed likely as a special surprise for a horse who was now 29.

I waited for the hay man some more. Maybe he went to fetch a bigger rumbly-truck. He didn’t come back. I got no special birthday surprise.

Unrelated, eventually the white rollin horse-box came back. And it parked inside our corral, and the bucket gal fetched my halter. My hawks didn’t feel bad, but if they was gonna act up again, I wanted no part of them nor of the white rollin horse-box. My lower lip flipped with worry, betrayin my thoughts thusly though I stood still.

She led me up to it and I could barely look at the thing. And when I did look, I saw it now had a wide, black, bottomless, yawnin, horse-devourin deep pit of blackness laid before it. Magically the bucket gal walked ON and UP the wide, black, bottomless and so forth deep pit of blackness. And she did not die. That was interestin. Not trustful, mind ya, but interestin enough that I pricked my ears.

She brought forth a cookie. Come on Whiskey, she said. And she stomped on it, and did not fall to her deep, dark doom, but rather remained standin upon it. But still. I ate the cookie.

Another cookie appeared while I was still chewin on the first one, and chewin on my thoughts.

I stepped forward and near lost a front hoof to it. I took a step back to keep my hoof safe, but I sniffed it.

Coors Light, who thinks he knows everythin, nickered from his pen and rolled his eyes at me. “Its just a RAMP, dude!”

First off, I ain’t his dude. And second off, I knew he’d made that word up.

So I walloped the black deep pit thing with my other front hoof. It made a funny sound but it seemed solid. And it hadn’t swallowed the bucket gal whole, yet.

So I took a step, and another. And I got another cookie. And up I went it, into the rollin white horse-box. Ramp, my ass.

But then I was stuck! To exit the thing, I’d have to jump the big black chasm. I ain’t no jumpin horse no more. My bad hawks would surely betray me and I’d fall to my doom. The bucket gal demonstrated how to get out. I walked. We both lived.

For all those horses that don’t know what I’m talkin about, I intend to inform y’all right here about this new-fangled contraption called a “ramp.” A “ramp” seems like a li’l black hillside built onto a rollin horse-box but it looks like a bottomless death pit ‘cause people is crazy like that. The important thing is it ain’t neither bottomless nor a death pit. And surely they woulda used ‘em back on the ranch if they’d been a real thing back then. That proves they’re new. I can’t explain Coors Light’s knowledge of a brand-new invention on this occasion, but then again, I can’t ever really explain Coors Light. An Ayrab-horse’s mind is a mysterious critter best not to poke.

For all the good horses like me that might be fearful when ya see a “ramp” for the first time, don’t be scared. It took me 10 people-minutes tops to figure it out. If I can do it, y’all can too. Old ranch horses can learn new tricks. The tiny black hillside built onto your own rollin horse-box is your friend. Trust me on this. There’s no hawk bendin needed. Ya ain’t got to hop neither in nor out. Ya just walk. That’s all there is to it.

Although, while I know for a fact it won’t swallow me nor the bucket gal, bein a practical horse, I also can’t pretend to know if maybe it might swallow some other horse or bucket gal alive, but it likely won’t. I hope that brings ya some small comfort. I still recommend testin it first with your own front tester hoof, whichever one ya think ya can live without if the worst happens to it. But you’ll likely come out of it, and into it, and out of it, and into it again, in one proper horse piece. I can almost guarantee it.

I still don’t know what my special 29th birthday surprise was meant to be, or if it ever was meant to be at all. I guess I’ll see what happens next time we get some new hay delivered…


Ya likely won’t die at all, so I hope that brings ya some comfort.



Leave a comment

Posted by on January 28, 2017 in Uncategorized


Step One (part 1 of 2)


I never been one to argue with ridin in the rollin horse-box — well, except for the one short spell when me and the bucket gal had to come to terms with it, early on. But after I got her broke to it, everythin was back to business as usual between the rollin horse-box and me and her. Ya hop on in, go wherever ya got to go to do whatever ya got to do, and then ya hop back out. I like to say, step on, stay put, step out. For all the fuss I seen some horses make over it, that’s really all there is to it.

Until one time. My ol’ bad hawks still generally work fine, such as for gettin up and down to roll and rest, and wander in aimless loops around the County Island while wearin my saddle and bridle. But the older and wiser I get — and as I think to tell this tale, I am a bonafide 29 years wise — the badder my hawks get. I don’t know why they can’t behave more like me, but bad hawks seem to have a mind of their own. That’s prancey-horse talk, I know.

My horse-buddy Coors Light claims the bucket gal slips me mickeys all the time, which he calls “meds” and “supplements,” which he claims prancified for-show horses get fed all the time. He claims he and Original Coors get fed ‘em all the time, too. I claim he’s full of it. If I was bein slipped mickeys in my own feed bucket every day surely I’d know it, and taste it. He also claims the li’l hand-fed treat we all get every night is a “med.” Bull! I do know about the silly-yum we all eat sometimes, of course, on account of it’s so yummy, it’s downright silly. It’s even more delicious than the sweet, sweet palo verde flowers I love so much. But that’s all I ever get fed other than proper horse food.

It had been a while since I went for a ride in the rollin white horse-box. I let myself lead in with a slack rope like usual, but that step up seemed higher than I recalled, and my baddest left hawk hesitated to comply. It made it on board with the rest of me but the bucket gal made a frowny mare-face at it. But I was goin for a real ride with some amigos under the blue clear sky.

It was a good day on the County Island.

We rolled off to a ridin-around place, and we rode around it, walkin up, and a li’l bit down, mostly flat with some tiny slopes hardly worth callin hills. It wasn’t much of a leg-stretcher of a ride as far as rides go. Those is the best rides. And my horse amigo, who met us there, and me got all caught up on our horse business and overall it was downright pleasant for a pointless pleasure ride.

When it was time to go back home, both my hawks flat out said NO to climbin back aboard the rollin white horse-box. I’d say no one was more surprised than me, but that’s a lie. A good ranch horse never outright lies. The bucket gal was most surprised by far.

But if hawks won’t bend, they won’t bend, and there ain’t no amount of pushin, pullin, shovin, proddin, pleadin, askin, tellin, promisin, nor tappin nor even whackin with the spare sweep-broom that lives in the rollin white horse-box that’ll help. They hurt, my hawks did, too much to take the big step up required of ‘em. The bucket gal knew it too, bein halfway insightful for a person. But she said my hawks had to get back in the trailer anyhow.

I said, they plumb can’t and they won’t.

She said, Whiskey, you have to get in.

I said, no it seems I do not.

She said, I can’t ride you home from here. It’s too far.

My hawks and me said, that ain’t our problem.

She said, you can’t stay here forever. We have to go home.

I said, that also ain’t my problem to solve. I’m a horse.

She said, if you get on this one time, I’ll figure out something better for next time, I promise.

I said, well, why not figure out somethin better right now?

And she did. The situation got solved when some bystandin horsefolk came along with a butt rope. They unfortunately felt more sorry for the bucket gal than for me. By then she was real red in the face and startin to maybe hyperventilate like a foal freshly weaned from her mamma. But still. I was the genuinely sorrowful old horse with the genuinely sorrowful old hawks that wouldn’t bend. And I’m the one that got butt-roped into the rollin white horse-box like some kinda disrespectful bronc.

We went home. My hawks got me out of the rollin horse-box alright. The bucket gal put the rollin white horse-box back. I stood under my favorite tree and shifted my weight around to try and get comfortable. She came back and hand-fed me a bigger than usual li’l treat. I pinned my ears at Coors Light ‘cause I knew what he was thinkin of it. She patted me softly. I couldn’t look her in the eye. I shifted my back legs some more.

It was a bad day on the County Island…

<to be continued, y’all>


Posted by on January 23, 2017 in Uncategorized


The Jingle Horses


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.




Leave a comment

Posted by on January 7, 2017 in Uncategorized


Happy New People-Year, Amigos!

Thanks as always for bein my friends even if y’all are all people, and I’m a ranch horse. It means the world to me to know you’re out there listenin to what I got to say.

And also, since County Island people like to make “resolutions” for their new made-up people-year, why dont’cha resolve to try new things next year? Don’t be afraid to try somethin, even if it ain’t real popular with nobody else. Ya got but one trip to make around the big ranch of life, so make it a real good trail ride.

For instance, I am tryin out this here new bucket technique for the remainder of this people-year and likely all of next year, too. It ain’t makin me more popular with the bucket gal. But the rabbits seem to like it. What I do is dump out my top feed, and thusly hold my bucket between the fence rail and the wall, and I eat my pellets from the bottom pellets up to the top pellets! It works real good despite the neigh-sayers.

Best horse regards,



Posted by on December 31, 2016 in Uncategorized


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.


This story’s for the birds!

Leave a comment

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.





Leave a comment

Posted by on November 20, 2016 in Uncategorized