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…