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.




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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!

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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’


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.


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



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