Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bah, Haybug!

Mother is crazy.

She should have been feeding me a special holiday dinner, like last year. But after a hasty dinner of normal rations, she put me in the cross ties and brought the contraption around from the barn porch. She reminded me that the holiday is not just about cookies and how much grain I get... perhaps not, but I don't think it's supposed to be about work, either! She picked my feet, brushed me off, and put my pad and surcingle on. The whole time she was making our dinners and getting my various accouterments ready, she was singing about a "one horse open sleigh" and some sort of bells.

I have to admit, this was making me a little nervous. Sleigh? I'm "one horse"... what's a sleigh? Mother just hooked up my normal pole contraption, though, and we journeyed out of the warmth and light of the barn and into the snowy dark pasture.

I've never before gone for a night drive in the snow, but it wasn't too bad because all the snow made it pretty bright out. I have no idea what got into her. I should have been eating my hay, like all the others were, not out dragging the contraption to nowhere.

Mother did give me a lot of cookies before we drove and after, and there were cookies in my dinner, and of course my goodbye kiss cookies (Hilton Herballs... yumm!!).

And finally, I was put back out to eat hay with my mare, Belle. But then Mother came out with the flashy picture taker... if you're coming out and disturbing my already late dinner, you better have cookies, lady!

We have a perfectly good run-in shed... we could have had our hay in there, instead of dining al fresco.

You know, though, I have a full belly and more hay for later and friends and a warm place to get out of wind and weather and good healthcare and Mother came to visit, even if it was a little strange to work in the dark, and I really should just stop complaining, I guess.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hair Club for Men: an Update

Well, hello...

My hair is slowly returning... Mother took some pictures last weekend, and wanted to show my regrowth progress.

Of course, that would not be necessary if she hadn't hacked all of it off. I like to stick a burr or two in there, partly for old times' sake, and partly to show her that her efforts didn't really work.

I realize, especially as a grey horse, that nothing stays the same. I am not as dark as in years past... in fact, I am lightening to a frightening degree. Mother tells me this is regular grey pattern lightening, and there is no cause for alarm.

I still think the next time the hair club for men ad pops up, I'm clicking.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mother's letter to Santa...

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.
Only a hippopotamus will dooooooo...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Mother told me I was to write you a list of what I wanted for Christmas.

1. More cookies. Since Mother isn't at the barn every day like she should be, it would probably be best to just put an automatic cookie dispenser in my pasture. I'd like one for my Mrs. Pastures, and one for the Withers & Withers cookies, and one for Hilton Herballs.

2. Potato chips. Mother gave me some one day, and they were perfectly salty and delicious. She says I really shouldn't eat them, but what she doesn't know won't hurt me. More, please.

3. Free choice hay 24/7... and not the boredom hay, but the good stuff!

4. A new halter that is black and fits my winter head. I would also like you to take the "raspberry purple" halter with you when you go.

5. Grass... I know this is difficult in winter, but if you can deliver presents to hundreds of thousands of horses in one night, you can probably handle a little grass out of season for one little Nokota.

6. Perhaps a little visit from the vet and some sedation. The vet was here the other day, but no sedation, sadly.

Most important of all, Santa... I would like Mother to start coming to the barn every day again. I know you are really just into material goods, but I would forgo all those other things (well, except the cookies, obviously) if Mother would just come back and spend time with me like she used to.



Friday, December 3, 2010

The Fifth Appendage

Mother sometimes has a fifth appendage, the lunge whip. She has two different ones, the red one I've always known, and a creepy black one that's not quite the same. I've see her with other appendages, which she uses around other horses, but she pretty much only uses the red appendage for me.

She can make the whip make sharp sounds, and this reminds me to move along again... like when she would let me gallop loose in the large arena at the old barn on snowy nights, because I needed "more exercise". That's winter fur, not fat, lady. If I stopped for too long, that sharp sound would remind me to keep moving.

When she lunges me, I keep an eye on the whip as well as listening to Mother's voice, to know how quickly I should be moving. She seldom has it make sharp sounds when she lunges me.

When she ground drives me, she wraps the noodly part of the appendage around the stick part and will use it to touch me on my sides or rump to indicate motion or direction changes (or, sometimes, just a touch to remind me she's back there and she made a request... I get distracted way up there all by myself, and forget she's back there). This is where she sometimes uses the creepy black whip instead. She also has black lines to drive me with. She says they look nicer than my dirty, dingy white lines. I don't like them though. I like my red whip and white lines.

Sometimes when she props the whip up against the wall, it leaps to the ground. I don't let this bother me, because as it's Mother's appendage, it won't hurt me. I know some horses who are afraid of whip appendages, because they say they hurt. I will admit I've watched wide-eyed as Mother has wielded her appendage at others with more force than I think she uses with me, but it's never hurt me.

The other day, we walked into the barn after driving. I was turning around in the hall, when the appendage brushed my front legs. WHAT!?! I froze... peered, snorted.... why would this touch my legs? I need my legs! It's never touched my legs. Mother apologized and said she didn't make it do that, the hall is tight and it just happened, the same way it sometimes just falls from the wall.

While it didn't hurt me... uggg, that was just creepy. No wonder some horses don't like these things...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Great Compromise

When I first met Mother in North Dakota, she wandered among the bachelor band, meeting my cousins. After awhile, she and one of the hay men leaned against a big square bale, and discussed the various horses as they came up to them. Mother wondered about their families and temperaments, which ones had been halter broken, which ones had been gelded already.

I understood family, but halter breaking and gelding were unknown concepts. What could she mean? When I at last braved going up to near her, as so many of the others had and they seemed happy to do so, she pet me and I thought, "Wow, humans are good for something besides hay!" Frankly, I found humans more than a little scary for a long time. They smell so predatory, and they walk oddly, and they stare at you as if you're chicken and they want to eat you. No horse stares at you like that.

Anyway, Mother noticed the hole in my head. The hay man wasn't sure which family I belonged to, but said they could figure me out from the foal papers. She visited with me that day again with the young hay man, and again the next morning with a third hay man, all trying to figure out exactly who I was. Mother knew, though. She had already called me "Boyfriend" once or twice, trying to get my attention. Hey, that's me!

Time passed, moons waxed and waned, and I figured Mother was just a figment of my imagination. I didn't really want humans to touch me, although I am glad they brought hay. Only did I later learn that there were discussions about me that would dramatically affect my life. My identity was determined. I am the son of Target* (I could have told them that, if only they'd asked). OK, technically "a" son of Target... my brother Nahockey is a more famous Target son, since he is the Breyer model Nokota, but I am MUCH more handsome.

Just look at my excellent conformation!
That is not the picture I wanted Mother to use...

Mother came out to visit again in November, and she was as nice as I remembered. Mother worried about the hole in my face, and hoped to get it fixed. She asked if after my face was fixed she should leave me "intact" and donate me to the Conservancy, if they needed another Target stallion. They said they had enough of his line, so Mother was ready to have me prepared to ship to Ohio. After six years of life on broad North Dakota prairies, I was to become... domesticated.

The young hay man introduced me to halter, and rope. I learned to follow the human that held the rope. I learned to follow the hay man even into the moving stall (later, I found out this is called a trailer).  I learned that petting me was their way of being nice, and while it felt different than when Mother pet me, it was not unpleasant. A week or two later, the hay man loaded me and the Devlin Pony and Swirly Roan into the trailer, and we went on an "adventure".

We went to a strange building, with many strange, sharp smells. The other two left - one at a time- and then I went in. A stranger gave me a poke in the neck and I felt woozy and odd, and I collapsed. Speaking now as a horse of experience, this is not a big deal... humans do the big knock out whenever they plan to do something really invasive, like stick your head into a big radiation machine or cut a hole in your skull and dig around, or fill your leg with salt water and cameras and scalpels and scrape scrape scrape. At the time, though, I had never experienced anything like it, and I was mortified... How could I avoid predators, if I was just a little heap of Bif?

The young hay man put a piece of clothing over my eyes, and I could see nothing. I lay still as the stranger removed portions of my anatomy that had nothing wrong with them. When he finished, the hay man removed the shirt from my face, and I immediately surged to my feet. There was some startlement on their parts... I guess horses usually don't just leap up like that. I, however, wanted to be ready to escape, lest these odd predators (apparently intent on eating me a section at a time) were not satisfied with their pound(s) of flesh and decided to start hacking again.

I loaded quite willingly with my brethren, away from that strange place, and back to the ranch. I was sore and tired and a smidge upset. The next day, I was loaded again on the trailer with the same two companions, and off we went on an interminable journey, that ended at Mother.

Now, Mother has told me if that terrible thing hadn't happened, life in Ohio would have had to be quite different. In fact, I probably couldn't have come to Ohio at all. I wouldn't be able to go out with mares, and it would have been difficult for her to have found a place I was allowed to live at. I am not sure why... I am the same horse I always was. If I had stayed in North Dakota, and gotten a band of my own... well, with my leg bothering me as it ended up doing, I wouldn't have been able to keep up with my mares, much less keep all of them from other interloping stallions.

I am glad, though, that I am with Mother... One learns that life is a series of compromises.

And here, there are cookies. There were no cookies in North Dakota. So I guess it was worth it...

* "Target", a dominant blue roan stallion who was born in the Little Missouri badlands circa 1980 and died of old age during the winter of 2001. In his prime, Target was considered an "outlaw" by the National Park Service staff at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, who tried unsuccessfully to capture him for several years. He matured during the height of the NPS program to remove original wild stallions from the Park and replace them with domestic animals. Target built a large harem of mares by taking them from stallions that the Park favored, and became a target of their removal campaign-hence his name. He was finally caught in 1991, and lived for another ten years on the Kuntz Ranch. But he always remained wild, never letting his guard down and relaxing into the relative comforts of captivity. He grew old and grey with his head up and his nostrils flaring, ready to run, at the first sight of a human. ~from

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bump in the Night

My weekend with Mother was mostly dark. It was well past dusk when she came up Saturday... I was starting to think it wasn't the weekend, even. She fed me first thing, which was nice, but then we went out to the barn porch for my brushing. I find the barn porch a tad creepy under the best of circumstances but at night...

The problem is, there is a light right behind and above me. I am in effect blinded, as I can't see much past the driveway and Mother's car. So I can't see any predators as they approach. This is unsettling. Magnifying the problem, I am a) tied, preventing escape if required, and b) standing in a big pool of light, easily visible to the predators. Why don't they just get a big flashing neon arrow sign to point at me that says "Tastes just like chicken!"?

Too, at this time of year the breeze is up and there are so many fallen leaves, it is difficult to discern the movements of the predators for all the other racket. I really wish Mother would brush me in the barn hallway, but when the others are being fed and moving around in the barn, we usually go out to the barn porch.

Tonight, Mother got there when it was still a little light out, and she was pulling my Contraption, aka the creepy pole thing
Summertime picture... I forgot there was green grass in there at times...

around the small pasture. The others were ogling it and snorting... they've seen it before silly fools.

Mother brought me in, squeezed me into my surcingle (it must have shrunk in the wash or something, I swear it wasn't this tight last weekend) and took me out to lunge a bit. I was boisterous, but well behaved. This means staying on the prescribed circle, and not pulling on Mother, nor did I buck, but I alternated between canter and road trot at will. At one point I heard Mother giggling: she said I was cantering like Peppy LePeu... something about pogo legs? I don't know what she was talking about, but I am thinking it wasn't very nice. When I was thinking we were probably finished, she had me trot and canter and halt on command in both directions, because she likes to see me be responsive to her requests. She is always very good about letting me know when I have done the right thing, so it is fun, I think.

By this time, it was quite dim out. Mother put my driving lines on, and we drove out into the small pasture, and worked around a bit. I was still puffing, a little... I'm not fat, I just have a good start on my winter coat, and it was warmish today. You try running around in a fur coat for awhile and see if you don't puff, too.

Mother took me into the aisle of the barn, but she hadn't undone my lines outside like usual... she instead hooked up the contraption, and back outside we went. I haven't had to drag the contraption around in forever, but it was kind of fun in the dark, swishing through big piles of leaves, as Mother kept steering me out to the fence of the pasture, and I kept trying to cut it short so I could just go home and eat. That never really works with her, but I continue to try. One day, she'll finally see my logic. I must admit, I do not understand the minds of humans at times. They are absolutely dense when it comes to doing things the easy way so I can go get food!

It is of course, full on dark by this point, with the moon behind the clouds. She drove me back around to the barnyard, unhitched me, fixed my dinner, gave me a good brushing while it was cooking, hurled a missile at the raccoons... then FINALLY, dinner. Yumm!! And I got lots of cookies, because I was a good, good boy. Mother said so.

I want to know, though: what does Mother do on the weekends that she can't come up and see me during the day? The work week is bad enough, and now she barely shows up on the weekends. She says she'll be around more this week, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I'm Losing My Soul

More accurately, I'm sloughing my soles, just a little bit. It has been a very dry summer and fall, and it is that time of year, after all. Mother spent a good while with me this evening, picking my feet and brushing me, and we went ground driving, and she made a yummy dinner for me... although I knew she was making it, and I had to stand through the whole post workout brushing and picking and... and tail brushing and my food was five feet away behind the feed room door cooking and, and ... I just wanted DINNER.

I behave well during these sorts of torture rituals, I just offer frequent sighs so she knows she is taking entirely too long.

Mother was also over this morning, but for only a few minutes up at the barn with me. She went down to the house, and there followed some terrible cat-erwauling... it was awful. I wondered what all the fuss was about, and finally my curiosity was satisfied; apparently, cats are not as gracious about having their hooves trimmed as horses. I'm not sure which cat caused that horrible fuss, as she did a few different ones. I just know if I caused that kind of fuss, well... I don't even want to know what would happen, actually. It is too horrible to even try to think about.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Know What You Did

I know what you did, Mother. Just because you drive a few hours away doesn't mean I don't know you were off riding for hours, learning about "reining". While I sat here at home, cookieless. Too busy just for ME, I see.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Cookie Crumbles

It has been a very dull week. Last weekend the farrier came out, and that was nice because he always gives me a cookie when he's done. I feel kind of bad because he had to work harder than usual... my hooves and frogs are hard as concrete, just like the ground.

Sunday, Mother lunged me for a little while, and she hopped aboard me bareback for a minute or two. It was like old times. Then... "the work week". I didn't see Mother for an eternity. My dinners didn't have crumbled up Withers and Withers cookies in them. There were no goodnight kisses or goodbye cookies.

Mother was up today. I perked up... cookies, lady! But she went and got my favorite mare, Jeanie, and put her in crossties and started brushing her. I stared through the window, agog. I wait all week for her, and she is grooming someone else! And she measured Jeanie with the measuring tape... why?

When I realized Mother wasn't going to give me a cookie, and was grooming another when she clearly should be spending time with me... well, I left the window, and walked to the far wall of the run in. I couldn't help but watch, though. Whenever she turned to look my way, I quickly moved my head and shifted my gaze, but before long I had to come back and stare through the window again.

I saw her... she kissed her on the nose and gave her cookies. UNFAIR!

Then, she came out and stretched the measuring tape on Bert, and pet me and said she'd be back up after she visited Mr. Smothers. Oh, come on!! He's just a cat! What about me?! What about my needs?

When she did come up, she was talking talking talking in the little black flippy phone. She talked while she brushed me, with lots of static-y electric-y shocks, I might add. Thanks. She talked while she picked my feet. She hung up... then started talking again, and was even talking while she lunged me. Hello? Why did you even come up here?

Finally, she put the phone on a fence post and actually focused on me when I went the second direction. I tried really hard to look awesome, so she would realize I was the most important thing, and she should pay attention to me.

She made my dinner just the perfect temperature and sloppiness, and there were some Withers and Withers cookies crumbled in it, and Mrs. Pastures cookies on top, too. It was perfect and delicious. And I got goodbye kisses and cookies. So I guess it was a good day after all.

Cookies... yum!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pathetic Little Update

Mother came up to see me tonight. This is the first week day she has been here in an eternity. She gave me my dinner, and kissed my nose and brought me cookies.

She did not brush me. She scratched my forehead and left brown dust contrails on my face. She sighed. Hey, I am the one covered in dirt because you, Mother are too "busy" to come see me. There will be no sighing about my condition, at least not from you.

I am hopeful that we will do fun things this weekend... like more cookies and a good, good grooming. Oh, and maybe I can show you how well my hair is growing out. I am going to look very punk for awhile, according to Mother... whatever that means.

Monday, October 18, 2010

No Good Deed

Mother decided that we would do stuff together this weekend. I really just want her to stop by every day, brush me, give me my dinner and my good night cookies. Is that so much to ask? She ends up loading all of our together time into two days, and some of it is a lot like work.

Saturday she took Belle and me down to the sheep pastures. She thought we would like to have a little more grass than what we have at home. And we did graze for about fifteen minutes, but then we decided a little canter was in order. After that, Belle started feeling homesick, and was calling up to the herd left behind. I started pacing the fence line, at trot and gallop, of course, trying to find the way out so my mare could be happy again. Occasionally, we did another fast lap or two or three of the field.

I have to admit, sometimes it was hard making all those fast moves; there is a bit of a slope. By the time I decided this was silly, I was huffing and puffing and sweating and even a little foamy in places... like my face. It is rough having a Nokota coat in Ohio when it's in the 70s. Mother sighed, questioned our intelligence, and took us home.

She put us in the multipurpose, as she was worried we would head straight to the water trough, and we started scrubbing around looking for grass. Mother looked a bit put out, and called us ungrateful in addition to the intelligence-questioning comments.

She did make my dinner, however, and I was dry by the time she came out with it. Poor Belle was still a little sweaty, although she hadn't gotten nearly as warm as I had down in the field. My coat, while thick and furry, dries super fast. Mother says the Nokotas who didn't develop these quick drying coats probably didn't do so well if they got hot in the winter in North Dakota.

Oh, oh, and the devil dogs next door brought the evil grazing muzzle out from under the porch, the one they took off with months ago, so now Mother has two of them to torture me with. I'm doomed... well, whenever the grass comes back, that is.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


My mane and forelock are growing out. Mother says I may keep them from now on, unless I get into some really bad burrs. She switched me into my winter halter, because she says she'll let me go really furry and not cut in a halter path. I'm a little hairy with my winter coat coming in, and all that extra bulk makes the already snug summer/driving halter too tight.

I am not a fat head, that was just mean of her to say.

Sadly, the winter halter is the "raspberry purple" one that anyone with eyes in their head knows is pink. But the comfort it allows makes it tolerable. Of course, she could buck up and go get me a winter sized one in black. Would that occur to her? No.

We continue to go without rain. There is no grass in the pastures. We scrub about, and enjoy our multiple hay feedings. I wish she would take me down to the sheep pastures... there was grass down there. Sure, it's burnt out and brown, but it's grass. I will have to use my powers of persuasion...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I am invisible. Mother never sees me anymore. I suppose she could be the invisible one, since I don't see her...

Perhaps I should wander away, and find a new cookie and care human. Mother will cry and cry, but she should have been taking care of me now, not just when it is convenient for her. And my wi-fi hardly ever works at all anymore... not fair! I'm up here at the mountain hideaway with no communication to the outside world.

Her excuses about 12 hour "work" days and 3 hour night classes and whatever other drivel she keeps spouting will no longer placate me. Something radical must be done.

Any suggestions?

Although we did go for a walk this weekend... and I got to handgraze where there was actual green grass (I was almost forgetting grass can be green, our pasture is so dry) and I got a couple of small apples from the apple tree. So that was nice. But it is almost worse when we do fun things for two days, and then no contact at all for what seems like forever...


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where's the "it", Mother?

Mother has been woefully absent of late. I thought she had turned the corner when she came up two days in a row, but now once again, abandonment. I am not even sure how long it has been... Forever?

In good news, Aunt Nancy and the man came to visit. Aunt Nancy is always really nice to me, although she doesn't really give me cookies. She says nice things about me and to me and always sounds very admiring.

Mother says the hos(pi)tile takeover is nearly complete, and that she'll come see me more often again very soon. But I know for a fact that she went somewhere after work tonight instead of coming to see me. Something about calculus and college?

There's a big difference between an equation, Mother, and equitation. It might seem like just two little letters, but there is a world of difference. Really, how do you want to spend your time? Where are your priorities?

When Mother does come up, she often puts the weight tape around me, squints, pulls it tighter, sighs. I have found that if I exhale, she seems happier, so when she pulls it tight around me, instead of blowing out my belly, I try to suck my belly in. I seem to get more cookies that way. I am actually a very good boy about the weight tape. Mother used to laugh at me because I was very nervous of the weight tape. Saddle? No problem. Weight tape? CREEPY! Mother said I looked like Bugs Bunny figuring out he was getting measured for the stock pot.

That's not a very nice thing to say. That sort of thing can happen. I don't want it to happen to me!

I had the strangest dream the other night... Is it because Mother has been neglecting me? Anyway, I found a way to re-enact for my readers. Click this button, but I recommend you just listen and not watch, because the video isn't really me. Oh, for backgound information, Mr. Smothers is Mother's cat. He and Aunt Nancy discussed some of the dangers of the world outside the house... "snake bite, dog attack, or vehicular felinicide".

And one last qualifier. I am a good horse. But Aunt Nancy oh-so-very-occasionally uses bad language. This re-enactment is exactly how the dream happened, so it is verbatim. My apologies to any young impression-ables.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shout out to Fenway


You are a wise mule, well experienced in the ways of humans, and the proper training of cookie and care humans. I have a query: How do you keep your FW so close at hand? Mother keeps abandoning me. Sure, the aunts provide me with my food, and I have plenty of equine companionship, but why is she not here every evening with my cookies? How hard can her "work" really be? How many excuses can she come up with?

Oh, this photo was, of course, inspired by you. It's not quite right, but the best I could do, with my shabby photographer.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A most peculiar happening

Something strange happened today. If you had asked me a year and half ago, I wouldn't have thought it out of the ordinary. But now...

Mother took me onto the barn porch, brushed me off, picked my hooves. She then put the saddle on me. Hmmmm... I have had to wear the driving surcingle a lot this last year, but a saddle? She did put one (or six) on me back in the winter, when she was thinking of taking me to Equine Affaire and I would demonstrate what a travois horse would have looked like. She wanted me to get used to having odd articles on me, around me. One evening she put saddle after saddle after pad after saddle on me until it reached ridiculous heights, and her fellow boarders laughed at me. Hmmph.

Well, a saddle is fine, I guess. Perhaps she is going to ground drive me through the stirrups. She had done that a long, long time ago, before she had the surcingle to use.

Mother then fusses with my bridle, putting my bit on it. What....?

She puts the reins over my neck, asks me to lower my head, and holds the bit up to my mouth. I happily oblige. She adjusts it to fit my head (Hey!! Why is it adjusted for someone else?), replaces my halter, and puts the lunge line on and brings her lunge whip. We head out to the multi-purpose paddock (it used to be an arena, but now the footing is nothing like an arena). We commence lunging.

I am good. Bold. A smidge boisterous for a moment at canter, but I haven't had stirrups to bob about my sides in forever. Sound as a dollar bill... sounder. We only lunge for a few minutes in each direction. Mother has never been real big on making me go in small circles.

We head into the small pasture sans line and halter. She places me near the fence and the step stool thing. She said it was better to not ride in the mountain lion paddock, since I haven't really been ridden up at Aunt Marilyn's mountain hideaway, and in case I did remember anything. She places me near the fence and the step stool thing. She clambers onto it. Why is she way up there? Creepy... yet parts of this feel familiar.

She puts her foot in the stirrup, and I remembered what this was all about!

I stood very still. She swung aboard, her left hand slipping a bit because I no longer have mane to grab (and whose fault is that, anyway?). We strolled in the small pasture for a minute, maybe. We walked out into the back and directly over into the multi-purpose. She had me walk into the center of the paddock, and asked me to stop. She then disembarked. Less than three minutes all together, I bet. Well, that was easy!

I sort of remembered what to do as she asked me to turn in the pasture, or any sort of guiding where I went, but that was a long time ago. I relied on my old tried and true method. If in doubt: STOP. She rode me in a saddle last spring, and a few times in early summer, but then realized I was not quite right. She hopped on me bareback once in all of the second half of last summer, and that was the day before I went down for surgery. Really, much more time has passed since I was last ridden than total time I spent learning to be ridden, so I shouldn't be expected to remember that stuff. It was nice to spend all that time with her again today, though. And I got two Mrs. Pastures cookies after I was untacked and brushed down, as well as my normal little itty bitty cookies before she left. Yumm...

I'm not sure why Mother decided to ride me. I know in the winter my surgeon had said if I seem comfortable enough she could, and that I'd probably enjoy having the personal attention of light riding. Mother says she doesn't expect anything, just would like to walk around for five or ten minutes a few days a week, and she could work on her two-point, too, whatever that is. She says she'll keep a really close eye on how comfortable I look.

So, should I limp (just a little) tomorrow, do you think? I mean, she'll give me cookies either way...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

As the Boyfriend Turns

Humans often seem worried about color. I don't understand why this is. As for me, Mother laughs that I am just what she deserves. She has for many years gotten upset when people call grey horses roan when they are obviously GREY, yet what am I? Both! I am a black based roan, but also have the grey modifier.

I have my black points, started out with a black face, and all my cuts grow in with black hair, seemingly even as I grey.

Right now, I am in parts flea bitten

dappled: my dapples are much more noticeable this year than ever before

and still a nice, even roan mixture of hairs.

I am a horse of many colors.

Mother says there is an advantage to my being a roan, if I am going to end up white/grey everywhere: Roans shed their coat colors at different times, and that allows for my stains to not set in quite as well, providing a cleaner looking appearance.

She likes the fact that I am never the same color more than a few weeks or months in a row. I would go very dark (mostly black) for middle of winter, go to white end of winter, shed again to a deep summer color, blow to white, then start darkening for the winter again. Of course, I end up not as dark each time, as I am greying...

Enjoy watching my color flip, flop, and mature through the years... funny, my mane and forelock also seem to ebb and flow:

two weeks later
06/08 You can faintly see my "stripes" (those aren't ribs, trust me!)

late winter/early spring 09
Hey! That picture doesn't belong in here!!
You'll notice, of course, the prevailing theme... how handsome I am!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blindsided: or, How to Startle Your Human

I gave Mother a bit of fright today. It started when she came to bring me in; as we walked into barn aisle I saw the driving lines and brushes waiting. Well, saw them out of my good eye. My right eye was bothering me, so I mostly kept it closed; Mother discovered it was swollen, although not hot, nor weeping, nor any obvious sign of trauma or other disturbance. She sighed.

I am the one in discomfort! Why was she acting put out?

She stared at me, and sighed some more. I didn't really like her touching it, so she decided to give me some of the banana-that's-not-a-banana-but-I-can't-pronounce-it stuff, and forgo the cold packs, since it wasn't warm anyway. The aunts showed up and also peered at my injured orb, declaring that it didn't look like that when I got my mid-day hay.

I patiently accepted the tube in my mouth. I never spit out dewormer or probiotics or banananmeal or any of the other things Mother tubes me with. She went to the the feed room to get me a cookie. She forgot I couldn't see out of that eye, and pet my back as she walked past me. This caused me to, umm, startle, and I launched myself upward and forward, but stopped short so I wouldn't injure the aunts. Well, and technically I hit the crossties, too. While Mother apologized to me and the aunts, this was not the incident that prompted me to educate you on How to Startle Your Human.

So, after scaring me half to death, she gives me a Mrs. Patures cookie... she has been doling them out to me singly occasionally, as my feet haven't bothered me again and my figure has been staying just below what she calls "a thousand weight tape pounds". It's so good to have Mrs. Pastures again..... yummm!

WARNING: Mother told me I should let you know from this point forward that there is graphic content and visuals, so if anyone is squeamish, now would be their cue to stop reading. I don't see what the fuss is about...

Oh, so I eat my cookie, and a few minutes go by, and she starts my dinner cooking, and is chatting with Aunt Carol... when I spit up brown foamy sludge all over my face. Mother stared at me in horrified fascination. Aunt Carol looked quite perplexed. Mother then laughed at me, and regretted not having brought her camera. My aunt took a quick picture with her little phone. I was left standing there, humiliated, a strand of mucousy brown phlemy badness strung from my mouth over my noseband, into my bad eye's lashes and eyelid, even up and into my ear. I dropped a little more of the mystery sludge onto the floor. Mother went to get paper towels.

She grew alarmed as I continued to expel brown stringy foamy saliva-y matter. She says it really looked like dog bile vomit, which we know is impossible, because I am not a dog. She wondered about choke, but I wasn't snorting to expel the stuff, and there was nothing by my nose. She decided to put me in the stall, so I could drink if I wanted, and she would observe me.

I glucked up a bunch of clear slimy mucousy saliva as I entered, and smeared it all over my chest and front legs. It was so humiliating. Mother wiped me off with more paper towels, and was staring at me in the oddest fashion. I then proceeded to move my mouth a few times, without producing anything, let out a sigh, and started seeking schnibbles of leftover grain by the doorway.

Mother was flummoxed. If I was choking, this wasn't exactly a normal presentation. My dinner was cooked, and is a soft soaked sort of thing. After a phone call and some consultation, she gave me my dinner... at least we could figure out if it was choke, she said. Um, I don't want to choke!

I consumed my dinner with relish, with normal swallowing the whole time. She fed me a smidge of hay, with no ill effects. She came back a few hours later, and I am still my wondrous, healthy self. My eye even feels and looks a little better. Mother was relieved, but still seemed a touch perturbed by the day's events.

The aunts will watch me tonight, according to Mother, and she promised to come see me early in the morning.

The moral of the story: Apparently, all you need to do to freak out a human is release creepy mucous from your mouth.

I have to admit, it freaks me out, too.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Alternate Universe

I had a lot of time while Mother was away to spend daydreaming and thinking on my life. Soak up sun, dream... think about things.

Mother says there are many things I could have done. Now, she says I am only good as a model...


Well, I think they should at least be interesting models... Like, if an artist wanted a good example of a war horse for a Civil War statue.

Mother thinks I would make a good broodmare model. I resent that.

I think I would be a great headless horseman model.
Oh, wait, the rider is supposed to be the headless one? Scratch that idea.

But in the course of my daydreams this week, I found myself thinking in the human way, WHAT IF...?!

I would have done so many things. I am naturally balanced...

I could have done dressage... you just try to move big and look pretty, right?

But I wouldn't want to always stay in an arena... there's so much to do outside!

Eventing!... can't you just see me galloping up to the fences?

Or endurance... you just try to cover ground at a pace you can maintain forever, right? I was bred for that!

Barrel racing... I'm not sure I see the point of running around in circles just to end up where you started, but I do like to fly...

I think I could do some cow work...

I even would be willing to give William Pendelton's family a nod, and try some three gaited. I've got the mane now, after all. Mother thinks I'm hopeless, but if I had really applied myself, maybe...
Ah, well... they are just day dreams, after all.

When Mother met me in North Dakota, she put her arm over my back and showed me thoughts of us galloping through green fields, jumping over things. I didn't know what they meant, but we looked happy in them; I knew Mother was the human I needed. She told a friend later that it was funny, when she did that with Devlin Pony, he felt happy, and eager to learn... when she did it with me, she felt from me confusion and a sort of emptiness, but peace. I had no other way to tell her about my bad joint, but she understands now I was trying to tell her I couldn't really do those things. But I was always happy to be with her, and I would try.

Mother says the best thing about me is I have always done everything she has asked of me. It's not my fault I can't really do anything with my bad leg. But I was willing to try...

She is the best cookie and care human I could wish for. She still sees ME.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Runout

Mother ran out on me. She was off cavorting with other horses at a horse show this weekend, while I did NOTHING. Well, I ate hay, and looked for some grass that wasn't too picked over already, which means I got sticktights and other burrs all over me, even though I have no mane or forelock hair. Mother spent quite a few minutes the other day pulling sticktights out of my ears. Owie.

Oh, so anyway, Mother went to a show on Sunday, and rode some horse and got some little bits of colored shiny cloth and seemed awfully happy. She said she was happy to place well when she doesn't get to ride ever. She looked at me kind of funny when she said that... I'm not sure what that's about. Humans are weird sometimes.

And that's not the worst. Apparently, Mother and Aunts Margie, Marion, and Karin are heading off East and will probably see some guy named Earl. They are going to go see the Banker ponies, but Earl may meet up with them and keep them from going. Who is this guy?

Oh, and Mother won't be around to give me my good night cookies for days. Woe is me. She's been gone so much these last few weeks already, saying she has a lot to do at work due to an impending hos(pi)tile takeover. Sigh.

Talk about a runout! Why gallivant across the country when all the beauty you could ever want is right here at home? For that matter, why even go to work?

Humans have such odd priorities.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's never enough

Losing my mane and forelock was embarrassing enough. Now Mother is talking about taking me to a costume class. It sounds like it will involve either black enhancements, or white enhancements. She says my mane will be perfect by then.

The zebra option

The gra Fjord option

I do kind of like the Fjords, I guess. But the zebra? Totally not me!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Finding your Happy Place

I had my tooth floated yesterday. Mother has the vet come out every six months to work on the tooth that opposes my missing tooth, since it never gets worn down, and Mother doesn't want it to get to the point where it is sharp or otherwise uncomfortable for me. None of my other teeth needed anything this time, so it went pretty quickly. Mother wasn't adept enough to get pictures while holding my head for the vet.

But what I really wanted to talk about was how wonderful veterinarians are. Sometimes they just poke you in the side of the neck, in your muscle, and that doesn't really hurt, but really, it doesn't do much for me. Now, if they go for the vein... this is your chance. It's one of my favorite things.

Have you ever looked for your Happy Place?

I mean really, really looked?

Relax your focus... Look deeply into the puddle... Can you see it? 

I can see it.

I'm seeing the Happy Place. Don't be distracted by my fat donkey...

Look for the Happy Place, and you, too will find it.

If you need help, there are several excellent veterinarians I can direct you to.
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