Friday, March 11, 2011

Horse Play

"I want to have fun," I say.
Sun's out, weather's warm. These darn chores can wait. I grab the nearest horse, my new thoroughbred, out of the field, scrape off yesterday's mud and throw on my saddle. Rustic shimmies left and right as I tighten the girth signalling his desire to rejoin his buddies.
"If you don't have to work, I shouldn't have to."
"Yeah, yeah," I say, then cock my head. Have I just been talking to a horse?
He turns his head my direction and blows. I wipe the fine droplets of exhalations off my brow and decide I really should spend more time with humans. He agrees with a vigorous nod.
In the tackroom, I select the fat, rubber bit. It will fill up his mouth and garble his speech, just in case Rustic thinks he wants to continue his smart mouthed ways. I chuckle at my own penchant for giving horses human characteristics, finish tacking up and climb aboard.
Today, Rustic wants to go on a trail we've never taken. I let him have his way, simply happy to be out. He picks up a trot, extends it. I'm tossed high in the air on each shoulder thrust, drop back in the saddle on each down beat. The trail bends and we enter a shady, pine-bough tunnel.  I ask for a walk. The needles strewed under our feet can be slick.
Rustic kicks it up a couple of gears. Skips the canter and launches into his racehorse gallop. He makes a few sounds, but I can't understand. Wind whips branches, and I haul back on the reins. Rustic rumbles. I duck left and begin to regret the fat, rubber bit.
In the flash of an "Oh #*##" we're completely lost. At least, I am. Rustic seems to have a plan. I grow tired, give up on trying to stop him.
"Okay, you win. Take me home," I say.
He begins to slow.
At the next intersection, Rustic takes a left, then another. His neck stretches, he ambles into a walk. I remain silent. Even though I know he can't understand my words, telling him he's useless sack of bones doesn't seem like the wise thing to do at the moment. Only he knows where we are.
Three hours later, he ambles onto a familiar trail, one that leads to the barn. I give a relieved sigh. He's mumbled all the way, throwing in a whinny now and then.
Back in the stable, I take his saddle and bridle off, grudgingly wash sweat from his coat.
"What was that all about?" I ask as I turn him back out with his buddies. He looks over his shoulder. "Don't you go blowing on me, again." I put one arm up in front of my face just in case.
 "If, you hadn't stuck that big bit in my mouth, you'd have understood. Now I'm not gonna tell ya." He kicks up his heels and streaks across the field.
"Okay, don't," I say, not caring if I appear crazy, knowing I'm simply adding words to his actions in my mind.
As I walk away, I hear hoofbeats coming my way. I turn. Rustic nuzzles my shoulder.
"I was just horsin' around," he says. "You said you wanted to play."
I laugh and blow kisses in his face.


Steve Green said...

Great stuff, a horse that not only talks, but has a wicked sense of humour too.

John Wiswell said...

I liked how this entire story just keeps moving. No sensational drama, she isn't going to die of cancer at the end and the world isn't going to explode, and yet almost every paragraph has momentum on their experience together, which is something sensational stories often can't do. Much more pleasant experience, too.

Karen said...

great story!

DeborahB said...

Steve, Glad you saw the humour! I often wonder if I'm simply coming across as a ditz. :) Thank you for reading.

DeborahB said...

John, Any praise from you makes me happy dance. Thank you so much for the kind words.

DeborahB said...

Karen, Thank you for reading. Glad you liked it. :)

John Wiswell said...

It was my pleasure, Deb!

Jodi MacArthur said...

Hey you! It was such a wonderful surprise to see you on my blog the other day! I was just thinking about you and fox hunting a couple weeks ago. This is a cute story. You select the rubber bit thinking you will show him, where he ends up showing you. ;-) I used to have a horse named Misty back in the day. We had a love/hate relationship. And this is all to familiar. ;-)

Anonymous said...

This is enjoyable to read, Deborah. It has been years since I rode a horse, but your story brought back fond memories.

Carol Benedict

DeborahB said...

Jodi, Carol, thanks for the notes. Glad the little story brought back some memories for you. :) There's nothing quite like a horse for keeping life real.