Tuesday, May 24, 2011

So much more...

Mr. Smothers*, Mother's felinicidal/suicidal cat, has taken to escaping the house with alarming regularity. Mother suspects the aunts find it humorous... they have a point.

Fat Donkey is so much more than a fat donkey... he is also a warm, fuzzy, mobile couch.

* If this sounds familiar, it was one of two phone calls that Mother captured between some of the inhabitants of Marilyn's mountain hideaway and Aunt Nancy. Mother posted these last summer, but if you missed them, here they are again.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Down the Rabbit Hole

Mother is a fascinating human. I think most humans are a little bizarre, but I have grown accustomed. Mother makes more sense to me than other humans, most of the time, but at other times...

Mother and the aunts have been acclimating my red mare herd to the grass. Often, they graze us on the lawn. Mother has let me graze free on the lawn, as she is too lazy to stand there with me. Since I am a particularly herd oriented horse, she doesn't worry that I'll flee the wrong direction if trouble comes. One, I am smart, two, the fast road is about three quarters of mile and many grassy knolls away. And three, as I discovered the other weekend~ there are no horses anywhere else, anyway.

The other day, Mother decided to put me on the tract to graze. This is a 50 foot wide expanse of grass between brush walls that extends from the lower driveway up to the house. I had been led down it a time or two earlier in the year, although this day Mother took me down via the driveway.

Mother unclipped the lead from my halter, and stood watching. I ate a few bites... walked a few steps up, ate a snatch, walked more steps, one more mouthful... and started walking determinedly up the hill. Mother sighed. She decided that going around the driveway was easier than scrambling up the steep tract in my wake. That, and she is afraid of ticks.

The poor thing seemed a bit confused, because while I grazed well up the hill, in the neighbor's yard behind our paddock (yes, the neighbors with the roam-everywhere-devil-dogs, who fortunately like horses), Mother presumed I had stopped at the top-ish of the tract, since the underbrush was so heavy, and she didn't see me on the lawn, as she would have expected. She sat on the porch of the house and waited a few minutes. The barking of the smallest neighbor dog urged her to check on my safety and whereabouts.

Mother quickly ascertained I was not in the little meadow at the top of the tract. As she clambered her way back up the hill, she saw one of my hoof marks. She followed them... to a bush. My hoofprint was clearly visible under the protecting branches... which arced about two feet off the ground. And were dense. And extended upwards, as well. Meeting the branches of the neighboring brushy vegetation.

Mother was puzzled as to how I had gotten through there. From other prints, it was clear I had not jumped. But how, she wondered, could a thousand pound horse gotten through an area a fawn would have issues with and NOT even broken a single branch? And more importantly, where had I gone?

She knows me, though, and found me immediately behind the paddock. She laughed at the little blossoms all over my tail and in my mane, but she didn't seem as enchanted as I had hoped. She escorted me back to the main lawn, and pondered again my feat. Was I a magical being, capable of transforming to the size of a rabbit at will?

Um, I'm from the North Dakota badlands. If my papa could avoid the roundup for years and years, I surely can pass through brush with no trace. Come on, Mother, a little faith.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Well of Lonliness

Something... unpleasant... happened last weekend. It's only now, since I've had a week to process the incident, that I can talk about it.

Halter loosened for head brushing. I am not normally this slovenly.

Mother decided to take me for a little drive. I was behaving well. But when we got to the down slope by the sheep pasture, I decided enough was enough. I wanted to turn back, walking on the grass. Mother disagreed, I started to run away. Mother was forced to drop my lines or be drug along behind. I galloped away, across the bridge and back up the hill. When Mother found me, I was eating grass while the red mare herd in the small stared at me.

Mother gathered up my lines, and guided me back down the driveway hill. She drove me with shorter lines than before. I was behaving well. But when we got to the down slope by the sheep pasture, I decided enough was enough. I wanted to be on the grass. Mother disagreed, I started to run away. Mother attempted to snug me up, at one point she had the one line with all her weight trying to haul me around, but I ran. Mother was forced to drop my lines or be drug behind me. I galloped away, across the bridge and back up the hill. I heard Mother exclaiming behind me. There were not nice words being hurled in my direction. Granted, I'd never made her drop her lines before, but some of those things she said really hurt, you know?

Mother found me on the lawn, by the extinct dog run. She came to gather up my lines, but I attempted evasion. Not so easy when one has two 20 plus foot lines hanging off them. Mother muttered something about no more driving in just a halter and did I really want a bit? Oh, she could find a bit. Mutter, mutter, mutter...

Mother led me to the multipurpose.There were odd low mutterings coming from her. She lunged me in the multipurpose for a while. She made me work on HO-up. She muttered. I behaved. She muttered even more.

She took off my driving equipment, and led me along the postal route. She muttered. Last time we had retrieved the mail, Mother was very pleased at how well I handled the traffic along the fast rode. This time, she didn't stop at the mailbox. We kept on walking, along the fast road.

It was Friday evening. Many, many cars went by. Mother walked between me and the road, and other than an occasional "good boy" was eerily silent.When we switched to the other side of the road due to space limitations, I asked her to walk again between me and the road. This was my first oh-so-close-to-fast-moving-cars experience. So, really, I was a good boy.

I admit, the two motorcycles that roared past gave me a bit of a start. Not their appearance, as I'd seen motorcycles before, and their approach did not scare me, but just as they passed and continued on they made a dreadful growling roar. I skittered to the side for fear they would attack. Mother plodded on.

We walked to a funny parking lot where humans were getting out of their cars and Mother let some of the curious humans pet me. There were quite a few young humans, and they all thought I was pretty handsome. Is this why Mother led me along the fast road? No, we're moving on, and not back the way we came.

We walked along a quiet road with houses built back on long driveways. One or two cars passed and then nothing. Cows dotted a nearby hill, then passed out of sight as we continued.

After a while, I realized it was quiet... too quiet. Were it not for the sound of chirping birds, there was no sign of life... no humans about, no cars, no dogs, only the clip clop of my hooves on the road.

We had walked miles from home. I had no idea where we were, or where we were going.
I was with Mother, who did not seem at all like Mother.
I tried to call Aunt Nancy, but no answer.
Mother had me halt. I called out for any horse in the area. The only response was the chirping of birds.

I plodded onward. I had given up hope of ever seeing my red mare herd again. Mother showed no sign of turning back. What was wrong with her? With us? Where was she taking me?

We trudged up a long, steep hill. I was heartbroken... so far away from my herd, and getting farther away with every step. Plod, plod. As we crested the hill, Mother kept looking at me oddly, but I was too bereft to care. She turned off the road and we walked up a steep lawn next to some wood board fence. Mother continued to stare at me. WHAT?!?

Then I heard one of my red mares call to me. Close. I looked up, neighing loudly... She was less than 80 feet away. I was home again!

So, I've spent the last week trying to sort this all out.

Obviously, Mother had sensed my anguish and teleported me home.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Needed: Optometrist

Mother is having trouble seeing, I suspect. This afternoon, I spied her walking into the barn and retrieving my halter.  When she came in through the pasture to our run in shed, I stepped toward her with my pleasant, "ears forward" face. She patted my nose, then threw the lead rope over Belle's neck and put my halter on her. Uh, wrong horse, Mother. She's not even the same color! How could you get that so wrong?!

Mother led Belle away, presumably to the barn porch, but since I can't see out there, for all I know she was grazing her on the lawn. The other red mares of my herd went to the stall overlooking the porch, and Bert was in the other stall (MY STALL!!) that faces the porch.

I was... alone. And no one answered my calls. Apparently, Mother is deaf now, too.

I saw Mother and Belle emerge a little while later. By this point, I was out in the small, rustling up the blades of grass brave enough to poke their heads out of the mud. Mother rode Belle for a few minutes. I didn't even know Belle knew how to do that. There are some things she prefers not to talk about...

So, finally Mother came and got me. I got a good brushing, and she tacked me up and lunged me for a very few minutes. I moved slowly on the lunge, because way back in the day when Mother rode me all the time, if I was quiet and slow on the lunge, I only did a few laps before she decided to climb aboard. I would just as soon get all this work over with, thanks.

We had a pleasant little ride, wandering around in the back pasture and over a tiny fallen tree, then Mother decided she was tired, I guess, because she had me stop and she disembarked. She rides me for less than 5 minutes... maybe she is dying of some sort of energy sapping disease. Hmmm... is there a doctor for that?

The best part was then Mother put me on the lawn, for a good half hour at least. YUMMMMM!! And then I had my dinner. And quite a bit of cookies today. Mother got more of the Withers and Withers cookies for me, which is nice. I was eating so many Herballs my eyes were turning a little greenish.

The question now, though, is do I punish Belle for spending time with Mother? Usually any horse that takes away my time with Mother hears about it later, but Belle is mine, too.. I'm not really sure how to deal with this situation. I suppose it is OK, provided this mis-attention doesn't get out of hand...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Always on her mind

This evening, Mother called Aunt Marilyn, telling her that she had worked late and still had some projects for work to do tonight, and would Auntie mind feeding me as she would not be able to make it up to my mountain hideaway. Fortunately, Aunt Marilyn fed me.

But I found out what the project Mother was working on really was...

 A few days ago, I mentioned the fact that I had trained Mother to no longer carry plastic bags with us on our walks. Just last night, in fact, I made another deposit at the gravel bank as we were concluding our walk. So when Mother heard they were having a Derby Party and potluck at work, it seemed obvious to her what she should bring in.

According to Mother, these are "horsie brownies".

Mother's coworkers are not horse people. I am not sure this will seem like the obvious choice to them. And I must say, the amount of industry and time put into this endeavor... well, she should have been up here with me. I mean, is this kind of a serving dish really necessary? Especially considering it required a hacksaw to help create it?!?

The serving dish for "horsie brownies".

Yes, Mother cut up a box and put aluminum foil on it and shortened an unused old wood handle with a hacksaw and cobbled it together. SERIOUSLY?!?

The good news, even though she did not come to visit me, is I guess I am always on her mind. I'm not sure this is really the image I want her to have of me, though...

Gooey, moist, caramel-filled horsie brownies...

Would someone please adopt me? I am dying from embarrassment. She'll tell everyone about my littering, I'm sure.

Oh, no! What if she tells those humans the coat story? Word will spread, then everyone will know.

I'll never be able to hold my head up again...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Love me, love my hair

Springtime grooming is a strange thing. Shedding, for instance; there are many corollaries between shedding and love.

1. No matter how much you give away, there is always more to give.

2. This gift you offer then leaves you vulnerable, without protection.

3. As you look at it in tatters at your feet, blowing away in the wind, it kind of gives you the heebie jeebies.

4. It works even better with the caring touch of another creature.

I think you get the point.

Anyway, Mother was teasing me the other day... she asked me if I was pregnant. If you recall, Mother, you stretched the weight tape around me the other day and I was under 1000lbs, thank you very much. I wasn't sure what she could mean... she pointed at the dark line on my belly. Mother's photos aren't great, but I have a definite line of black guard hairs running down my midline.

Apparently, humans will have a similar change in coloration occasionally when they are gravid. I am a male, though... Mother should really know by now that my providing her with a foal really isn't an option!

Love doesn't really conquer all...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


The aunts and Mother are not nice. They were very busy clearing vegetation along the fenceline on Friday, and Saturday there was muttering and bickering coming from out there before they finally liberated us from the barn and released us in the small pasture. They watched us with rapt attention. We soon found out why.

They have renewed the electrical pulses along the lengths of wire that run along the fence in the small. I know, because I innocently reached towards the grass growing on the other side and burnt my nose. Mother commented as she kissed me later that she smelled something burning. Her quick, half-hearted "sorry", and "just kidding" were meant to appease me, but it stung for a while.


So when Mother came up to see me late tonight, I was cowering - I mean, uh, hanging out - with the red mares in the run in shed. Mother, with her abysmal human senses, did not know my whereabouts and proceeded to wander to the center of the small, calling my name and biting delectable sounding crunchy mouthfuls from the apple she had brought. That seemed worth interrupting my conversations with the mares... I peered out of the run in.

Mother at last noticed my contrast of white face against the black shade/fly cloth. She giggled when she approached to hand me the apple. Apparently, all that was visible was my head, as my neck and body were obscured in darkness. She delicately lifted a strand of frayed cloth that was draped over my ear and blending in with my forelock.

She kissed my schnozzle, told me she loved me, and walked away.

Hey, what about dinner? WHAT ABOUT DINNER!?! HEY!!!

Oh, Aunt Marilyn is coming now to feed dinner.
My mistake. 

Afterward, I'll go back to the important conference I was having with my mares... how to disconnect the electric. Bert and the fat donkey are useless when it comes to making plans that involve more than just brute force.

For stealth and cunning, mares are the way to go.
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