Monthly Archives: July 2012

I Am Seeing TOO MUCH Of That Guy!!!

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It is hard being the Wonder Horse.  It is good to be the Wonder Horse, because there is special pink salt and there used to be hanging sticky balls until I ate the last one and there is not another one yet.  But it is not easy either, because it means having a rider that pesters me about every single little scratch I get.  So I rolled in a part of the paddock that has rocks.  I was itchy!!!  So what the rocks made little cuts on my skin.  They are nothing to the cuts that I would put on another horse’s skin if that horse got in my face and was disrespectful to me.  They are little cuts.  Yes, they made some blood.  The only problem with that is that the flies want to go on then, and I hate flies.  But that is what the special yellow goo is for.  To keep the flies off of cuts.

That rider makes too much of a fuss over these things.

Like a while ago, the same day me and Clay had that adventure and scared all the other horses?  The V came out.  The rider was there in the morning, to have adventure with us, and then she was there again.  I thought it was time to come into the barn and have dinner but it was really time to come into the barn and go into the cross ties and see the V.  I said Rider! What is the V here for?  It is not time for shots!  And I do not really want to have the poky needle thing again.

But she said Huey, it is because you have little dots on your nose.

I said I have dots on my nose?  I did not know I have dots on my nose.

She said Yes.  You have dots on your nose.  And you did not use to have them.  So that is why the V is here.

See?  She makes a huge fuss over some silly little scratches from rolling on rocks, and then she is so worried about dots on my nose that she makes me stand around and see the V!!  I must have the silliest rider in the world.

The V said the dots on my nose were from the same thing that made me cough a while ago.  I did not know a cough would make dots come out on a horse’s nose.  Then the V said I had one  next to my eye, too!!!  Then guess what the rider said?

You will not guess this, and so I will tell you.  She did not say this to me but she said it to the V when I was right there.  She asked the V if the dots on my nose would mean that I could not go to a show.

Well.  The V said that I could go to a show even with the dots on my nose, but that is not important.

The rider said she was going to take me to a show!  I am going to go to a show!!!!  I do not know when, but I heard her!  She said we could go to a show!!!!!!!!!

It has been a very long time since I got to go to a show!  I have not had my mane and tail braided and my hoofs shined up in AGES.

And!  This is VERY important!!! I have not got to go to a show since I became the Wonder Horse.

Yes.  That is right.  When I went to a show before, I was a GREAT horse, and EVERYONE said so, but I was not the Wonder Horse.

Now, I will get to go to a show and EVERYONE will stop and they will watch and they will say Look!  There he is!  It is the Wonder Horse!

They will be lucky to see me, too!  My rider said so!!!

So then I did not mind about the dots or the V so much because I knew I was going to go to a show.

I cannot wait to go to the show.

But then something happened to my rider, and she was riding me but she felt very strange.  Usually she is good about not sliding around.  She used to slide around but I taught her not to.  Now she does not do that any more.  But then she was.  And I said Rider! What are you doing up there?  And she said I am riding, Huey.  But I said You feel weird!  And she said Oh, that is because I have injured my fetlock.  I am a little bit lame.  And I said Maybe you should not be riding because I do not go riding when I am lame.  But she said It is OK Huey.  I will try not to slide around so much.  And she did not.  Well, a little but not as much.

Then it was better, but then she was gone for a long time.  When she came back I went over to her in the paddock and said Rider! You have been gone!  I am bored!  No one has given me apples or carrots and there is no hanging sticky ball any more.  I am bored!  And she said Huey I have missed you.  So I said Well, you should have been here.  But she said I could not, Huey.  I have been very lame.  I have been too lame to walk around.

Well, I know about that.  I was that lame last summer.  I was just walking along and then my hock hurt!! I could not even stand on that leg!  My front leg got very tired from that, but I still could not stand on that leg.  It was not any fun at all.  But that was before I was the Wonder Horse too, but it was not before I met my rider.  She was not my rider then, though, she was just a rider.  Now she is mine.  But I remember being that lame, so I said I hope you are not lame any more because that is not being a very nice thing to be.  And she said No, I am much better.  And then she said Let’s go do some work.

I don’t know about that, though.  This is because my leg is being a little stiff lately.  That would be being the leg that was lame last summer.  I am hoping it is not going to be like that again, because it hurt so much I did not want to eat.  And I like to eat.  But it is being stiff, and we are having to do work that is hard.  It is hard anyway, and it is hard because of that leg being stiff.  My rider wants me to make the turn where I stand on my front legs and my back legs and my butt go around in a circle.  I am happy to do that turn to one side because I am being the Wonder Horse, and Wonder Horses do all kinds of things like that.  But I am not wanting to do that turn to the other side because I do not think I can.  And I said that to my rider.

She said Huey, why don’t you think you can do that turn?  You know how to do that turn.  But I said I know how to do that turn.  See, I can do that turn this way.  But I do not think I can do it the other way.  Well, she said You can too do that turn, and she put her leg on me to make me do it.  I backed up instead, but she said No, and made that leg stay on.  Then I did the turn, but I did not like doing the turn.

Then later, I heard my rider talking to Laura about it, and guess what Laura said?

Right.  She said the V should come out.

The V?  He is nice, and he has soft hands, and he wanted to take pictures of my Special Nose Dots, but still.  He also makes shots.  And I have seen that guy all the time now!!  I do not want to be seeing the V again this soon.  And I think that they said something about a shot.  I do not think I should be having a shot again, and I am not wanting to see that V, and I do not think I am being lame in that leg.  I made sure to show that rider today too.  She was scared to get on me.  I said What are you talking about?!?!? I am not some scary stupid crazy horse!  Why are you scared?  I am Huey, and I am the Wonder Horse!  I am your special horse you said so!!!  So she said I am not scared of you silly.  I am scared that I am going to break you and make you lame.

I said You are all the time saying silly stuff, like Stop beating up the other horses Huey and Please stop getting all scraped up Huey and You are looking like a giraffe Huey and Do not roll on the rocks Huey.  But that is not as silly as saying you are scared because you will make me lame.  That is the silliest thing I have ever heard.  Let’s go ride, now.

And we did.  And I showed her how good I am trotting and I did not even once try to slow down and I made a very good walk and when she cantered I did not pretend that I thought she was asking for a trot, and then in the other direction, I did not even wait for her to ask for the canter.  I was just going to do it.  She said You have to wait for the signal, Huey!  But I said I know what you want me to do.  Why should I wait for your foot?  But she said it was because I am being a dressage horse now and dressage horses know exactly what the rider wants all the time, but they all wait for signals, otherwise, they get points taken off in shows.  So I said Oh that is right, we are going to a show!!! And then I was very excited, and the rider said You have to calm down or you will make yourself lame!!  So I did.  She said the V still has to come out, because otherwise she will be too afraid to take me to a show.  So I said OK.

This is me and I am wearing smelly stuff on my nose that makes my lips curl up, but the rider says it keeps my nose from getting burned by the sun, so I wear it. I am not liking that smell, though.  The smelly stuff is hiding some of my new dots.

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Why Being A Horse Mom Is Being A Mom (part 14)

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*sound of phone being dialed*
*busy tone*

Sigh
<pause>

*sound of phone being dialed*
*busy tone*

Sigh
<pause>

*sound of phone being dialed*
*busy tone*

Sigh
<pause>

*sound of phone being dialed*
*ring-ring*
Hello! Vet’s office, how may I help you?
It’s complicated.  My horse has developed little white spots on his muzzle.  They didn’t used to be there, but I’m not totally sure when they arrived.  One of the other horses in the barn has a little white spot near its eye, but it might not have anything to do with my horse’s white spots.

Can I get your name?
Sure.

Oh, I see the vet is scheduled to be out tomorrow.
Yes, but the owner of the other horse that had one little white spot made that appointment, but the vet dropped some ointment off on Friday for that horse and now the other owner isn’t sure that he needs to see that horse’s spot.  But I’m not totally clear on this.

*Sound of laughter*
Because this is all happening with text messages.

*more laughter*
*laughter*

You did say it was complicated!
So if whatever the vet dropped off Friday is working for the other horse’s spot, then I don’t know if I need to have him come out and check Huey’s white spots.  They don’t seem to be itchy.  I don’t want to drag him all the way out here for something that isn’t actually a problem.

Well, he is going to be in [nearby town] anyway tomorrow afternoon.  So it’s not going to be making a special trip.
OK.

<thinking about totally reasonable, yet undeniably painful, charge for house call>

Here’s another complication.  My horse was just on a course of antibiotics. I think these white spots came up around that time, but I’m not totally sure.  I don’t know if they have anything to do with the antibiotics.

*laughter*
It really is complicated, isn’t it?
No kidding.
You’re in luck.  The vet is actually here right now.  Let me go ask him.

<pause>
<pause>
<pause>

Nope, he says the antibiotics shouldn’t make him get spots anywhere, certainly not on the muzzle.

<damn>

OK, then send him on out!  What time should I expect him?
Around 3:30.
Great.  See him then.

*click*
*sound of phone being dialed*

Hello?
Hi honey.
Hey!
You know that movie we were going to see tomorrow afternoon?
Yep.
It’s off.
Why?
Huey. Vet.
Oh, OK.  See you later.

*click*
*sound of checkbook opening*

I hope that whatever this is is NOT contagious, or permanent.  Naturally, I have been scouring the web, because where else do you get Quality Medical Advice for Weird Health Conditions?

I think it looks like vitiligo, which is neither contagious nor curable, unless you buy the “clinical” results that say that certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause it and thus remedy it.    But he seems kind of old for a first-go at vitiligo, unless he’s not getting enough of some nutrient from his hay.

Or maybe it is ringworm, which IS contagious, and which will be a PITA because then I think I’d have to shampoo his muzzle with some medicated thing daily or give him a daily bath, and I’ll bet that “some medicated thing” both 1) smells bad to him and 2) is expensive.

Or maybe it’s a fungus that he picked up from some grass he got into.

Or maybe it’s an allergic reaction to some grass he got into.

Or maybe it’s the signs of infection by space aliens.

It’s just as well the vet is coming. House call fee or no.

dirty_huey03

Old picture: Note presence of dirt, hay, and cheery insouciant attitude, and absence of large number of small white dots.

I Finally Got To Go Over A Jump!!!!!!!!!!!

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This is being a very exciting day for a horse!!  First, I got to eat my whole breakfast because my rider was not coming out to get me while I still had a big pile of hay.  That is good.  Horses should not have the breakfast interrupted to work.  Also, it is being a LOT nicer today! It is cool, which I like, and the big biting flies are not bothering me today, and even the little ones that do not bite but are pesty are not bothering me.  That is great!!!

But that is not being the best thing for today.  Because my rider came and she said Huey! We are doing something different today!  Well.  That was Good News, I am telling you!  Because I am a horse that likes a routine, but it is too much routine to always be doing the same boring things in the ring, and never any jumps.  I will tell you in case you did not know this:  I am a jumping horse.  I am a horse that is going over jumps that are big as me, and I am one huge horse!  And I am not a being scared horse!  I am a brave horse, and I am not being scared of those huge jumps, not like some horses I have known.  Some of those horses are running away from jumps horses.  I am a going right to that jump and going over it horse.  That is Good.

But for a long time, I am a not jumping at all horse.  I am not liking to do a lot of work, but I am not understanding why the work is not jumping anyway, because I am a jumping horse. It is not like people are not knowing that, too.  They are saying to me Huey, you are a jumping horse, but you cannot jump.  And I am saying I can too jump!!!!  And they are saying You cannot jump because it will be hurting your leg.  But I am saying My leg does not hurt now!

I do not understand why I cannot be a jumping horse still.

So.  My rider is saying we are going to be doing something new, and I am thinking that maybe we will be jumping at last!  But we went into the ring and even though almost the whole herd was in that ring, there were not being any jumps.  There were other things.  Poles.  A scary thing that made a clonky noise when a horse walked on it.  I did not want to go on that thing, but my rider said Huey, you went on this thing before.  It is not scary.  Go on it.  And so I did, and it was OK.  And there were things to run in and out of, and there was a huge pink ball, and there were lots of horses and people!  And Clay was there.  You know Clay.  He is that horse that laughed at my yesterday, and he is that horse that tries to pull my head around when I am on the crossties, and he is always trying to be the Boss of me even though he is young and silly.

I am not letting Clay be the Boss of me at all.

But.  There we all were running around in that ring and walking on things and stuff, and I thought this is what my rider meant when she said we are doing something different.  It was different too!  But then she said we were just warming up and getting a little exercise, and then we were going to be doing something really different.  And you know what that was?

It was a Trail Ride.  With Clay.

I have been doing Trail Rides a little but not very much and not with my rider.  There are too many bugs.  Also, Monsters.  I said to my rider, Rider! Are you sure we are doing a Trail Ride?  What about the Monsters? But she said Huey, I will take care of you.  There will not be any Monsters that can come close to you.  We are going to have fun.  So I said OK.

Well, Clay wanted to go first, but I am not a walking at the back horse.  Especially when it is a young punk like Clay.  I am a walking in front horse.  So I went in the front.  And we were on the road, and I have been on the road before, because there is a very nice patch of grass there that my rider takes me to some time.  But then she said Let’s go into the woods, Huey.  Follow that path.

So I did.  And it was fine until I smelled it.  A Horse Eating Monster From The Woods.   It was there.

Well, I am not going to go be eaten.  And because I was the leader I said Clay! You better stop!  There is a Horse Eating Monster ahead!  And he stopped.  And we stood around, because I was trying to see that Horse Eating Monster.  Then Clay said I do not think there is any Monster here, Huey.  I said Yes there is! But he said No.  And if you do not move, I am going to be the leader.  I said OK.  I you want to get eaten, you can be the going in front horse.  So he did.  And then I knew that if a horse was going to get eaten, it was going to be Clay and not me, so I was OK.

Well, we went like that for a while, and then I decided it must not have been a Horse Eating Monster, so I said I am going to go first!  And I went there.  And guess what there was on the path?

A huge log!  Well, it is not as huge as some logs I have seen, but it was a good size.  And I could see that the path went right up to that log.  There was another path that went around the log, but I said to my rider I am going to go over that log!  And she said OK.  You can walk over that log.

But I had a secret.  I will tell you what it was.

I was not going to walk over that log.

I know what logs in the path in the woods are for.  I used to go on races in the woods when I was younger, and we would go as fast as a horse could run, and when there were things in the path?

We jumped them.  We did not walk over them!!!

And you know, I am a jumping horse.

But I was sneaky about this because I knew that my rider would not say OK to jump that log.  So I pretended like I was going to walk over it, but at the last minute, I pulled my body together, and I JUMPED!!!  I jumped right up into the air over that log!!!!!!  It was not even a very big jump, not like I can really do.  It was a tiny jump, really.  Like babies make.

But it was still a jump.  And I jumped it, because I am a jumping horse.  I am not a running over sticks horse, but I am a jumping over logs horse!  That was my surprise!!!

Well, my rider was surprised!!!  But you know what?  She was fine.  It is all the tiny hops I make when I am supposed to be a running over sticks horse.  I am teacher her to ride, you know, and secretly, I am also teaching her to jump.

She said Huey!  You jumped that log!  You are not supposed to jump!

But I said It is too late.  I jumped it.

And she said I could have fallen off!  I do not know how to jump!

But I said You did fine.  You did not fall off.  You did not even come close to falling off.  I would have known.  We could go over a bigger jump too.

But she said that same old thing about my legs and stuff.  Boo.

You know what?  Even though it was a stinky old tiny little jump over a log that was hardly bigger than a stick?

It was fun.  And I am going to do it again, I do not care what people are saying.  My rider better get used to that.

Well, then I knew I was some hot stuff.  Clay said I do not think you were supposed to do that Huey.  But I said Do not be such a chicken Clay.  You must be a brave horse, like me.

Then we went on the street, and there was a scary fence and there was a hill and I couldn’t see the barn any more, and I was getting a little bit scared.  But Clay was not.  He said Do not be such a chicken Huey.  You must be a brave horse, like me.

Well.  I ask you, is that respectful?  It is not.  I made sure that I was the going in front horse on the way back.  And we went by the ring where there were all the other horses running around the stuff, and a bunch of people, and there was a car parked at the end of the road.  I did not want to walk close to that car, so I walked on the grass.  My rider said to go back on the road with her leg, but I did not listen.

And then guess what happened?  This is too exciting!

I put my foot in a hole. I thought it was going on the ground, but the ground was farther away than I thought.  And this scared me because I though it was a Horse Eating Hole!  So I jumped up in the air and I said EEEK!! And then I scared myself by saying EEEK! and then my rider was there saying Huey! Huey! Huey! and telling me to stop with her seat and the reins, but I could not be stopping.  I was too scared!

Usually I get scared like that but I am a smart horse and I can pull it together.  And I was trying hard to run away only there was no place to be running to, and there was another horse in the outside ties and she was saying HELP!!!  HUEY IS SCARING ME!!  And I could hear Clay behind me and he was going AAAAAAAAGGGGGHHH!!!!!  IT IS A MONSTER AND IT IS EATING HUEY!!!!And I am thinking OH NO!  THE MONSTER IS EATING ME!!!  And it was making me want to run away even more!! And I was thinking as hard as I could that I should stop trying to run, and my rider was saying the same thing and it almost worked, because she gave me time to think by making me go in a little circle, but when we did that, guess what I saw then?!?!?!

It was CLAY!!  And he was running like crazy towards us!  And he did not have a rider any more!!!!!!  And he was thundering down the road screaming IT’S COMING TO GET ME!  AAAAAAAGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!  And my rider is saying HUEY! HUEY! HUEY!  IT IS OK! HUEY! And I am thinking RUN! RUN! RUN! RUN!  but then I am also knowing that it is not good that Clay is not having a rider any more, and it is being very bad if Iam not having a rider any more, and then I am hearing my rider say Huey!  It is OK!  You are fine Huey!  Just stand still for a minute! You can do it, you a brave horse.  And she is being right.  So I am standing still and the mare is still saying HELP! HELP! but she is being the next thing to a baby, it is Tango’s foal, and she has a rider on the ground who is saying You are OK. You are OK.  And then we were.  I stood still for a little bit and my rider got down in the right way, and she scratched my neck and told me I was a Good Brave Horse and she said You are taking very good care of me Huey!  And I am saying I got scared and I tried to run away and Clay lost his rider!  But she is saying It is OK, he is young, and you did not make me come off.  You are a good horse, Huey!

And then she is rubbing my face, and I am realizing that it is OK.  And then Clay came back and we all went in the ring.  All the people there had to get off their horses because those horses might have thought they were going to get eaten too, and that would not have been good.  But then we rode around and I got to canter, and then I got to eat a LOT of grass, me and Clay together, and he did not try to mess with me at all.

Every horse should get to jump and have such an exciting day!

I Sent That Bad Horse Voice Away!

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My stupid rider went away again, and she said that I had to go work for a couple of other people while she was gone.  One of those people is good because she does not yank on my mouth.  The other one does not yank on my mouth, but she makes me work hard!  They are both better riders than my rider, but it is better when it is my rider because she does not ask me to do hard things.

When she came back again, she said I missed you Huey! And I said You should.  I am the Wonder Horse.  She said You are the Puffed Up Horse! And then she looked at every inch of me.  This is right that she should do this.  I am worth looking at every inch of!  It is a privilege to look at every inch of me!!  And then she said Huey! What were you doing while I was gone!  And I said I was having to work Very Hard! But she said No, I mean how did you get all these cuts and scrapes!  You look like you have been playing with sharks!  I said What is a shark?  She made that noise like the wind with her mouth and said You have a lot of scrapes and things.  Your hair is all messed up, worse than if you had been playing with Clay.  I said It is the bugs.  They are very bad and they make me itch, and I have to roll around a lot.

Then she made a wet thing on my leg, and my shoulder, and my other leg, and my hock, and my other leg.  I said Ouch.  She said I have to clean these things out because they are full of ick.  I said It hurts when you do that.  She said I will try to be careful but it is going to sting some, please try to hold still because then it will hurt less.  So I tried very hard to hold still.  And it did hurt a little less.  Then she put some stuff on it and said This will keep the flies off.  I said Anything that keeps the flies off is good!

I HATE the flies.

So since she has been back I have had two apples, and a few apple treats, and a very small amount of grass, and no sticky hanging ball.  That is because I ate the other one.  I ate it all up!  It fell off the string right into my grain bucket!  Then I got to have it with my breakfast!!!  I hope another sticky ball comes soon.  They are good.  It has been very hot too, so I have been licking my special pink salt like crazy.  It used to be that my BFF Tango lived next door to me, and I would say I am licking my pink salt Tango!  It is so good!! And she would put her lips out and say Stop boasting so much, Huey.  You are a pest.

And she is a mare, so I have to do what she says, so I would stop boasting to her.  It did not make me stop boasting to Lemon Drop and Elvis, though.

I had to work hard yesterday because we got a lesson.  I always have to work harder when there is a lesson.  I had to do a bunch of very hard turns, and it was hot.  That was good because later, I got to have a shower.  And then some people came by and stood around and said how beautiful I am.  And they were right.  I am beautiful!  Then a lot later my rider came by with her person.  That guy always has a treat for me, and last night he had two carrots!  I did not even have to work for them like I do when it is just my rider!  That is better, when I don’t have to work.  It was still hot, though.

It has been hot forever.  That is not so bad because I like to get showers.  I put my face into the water and it scratches my chin!!!  I like that!!!  But when it is hot there are tons of flies.  And other stuff.  Even my Wonder Horse Fly Mask does not keep them all off, and not even the Fly Spray does either.

I HATE flies.

There are big flies that make a buzzing noise like they are a bee!  And when they bite me it HURTS.  I whip my tail around to get those flies!  My rider saw one and smacked it off me!  I did not even get scared because I knew she was going for that fly, and she got it, and knocked it onto the ground and then she stomped on it with her boot!! And she said Do not pester the Wonder Horse, you stupid fly!  You are dead now!!

That was being a good rider.

Today was not so good, though. My rider showed up again before I finished my breakfast.  I put my head up and I looked at her and I said Oh. It is just you.  And I put my head right back on the hay.

She said That is not the right thing to do, Huey.  It is me.  Put your head up because it is time to work.  I said No.  Then she sneaked that halter onto me and made me walk.

I said You are not the Boss of me.

She did not say anything.

I put my head down to eat some grass while we were walking.  I am not supposed to do this.  I know that.  If I have the halter, I am only supposed to eat grass when my rider says so, because she is like a mare.  But I did not feel like her being the Boss of me.

I am used to being the boss myself.  All my riders before, I was the Boss of them!!  Sometimes they would say Huey, you should do what I say!  And sometimes, if I felt like it, I would say OK.  But only because I felt like it.

This rider thinks that she is the Boss of me all the time.  Most of the time it is just easier to let her be the Boss of me.  She has tricks that my other riders did not.  And she is a lot bigger than them.  She is not afraid of my Scary Face.  And when I put the Stink Eye on her, instead of saying Oh, no, Huey!  What did I do!  Tell me how to make you stop putting that Stink Eye on! she just looks at me and you know what she does?

She laughs.

And she says Good Stink Eye Huey!!!  You are so cute!!  I said I am not cute! I am big and scary!  But she just says You can save that for someone who believes it.  Then she tickles me until I have to stop making the Stink Eye.

It is not fair.

Well, today, I was not going to put up with that. I was going to show her.  I am the Boss here!!

So I put my head down to eat grass.  She let me know it was Not OK by making my halter squeeze my head a little.  Well.  What I know is that I get One Chance with the squeezy halter, and if I try it again, the lead rope snake comes up to bite me on the butt.  I do not like the rope snake to bite me, so usually, I do not try it again.  Today, I thought maybe I will try it again, but my rider said HUEY! and I realized I did not want the rope snake to bite me so I stopped.

But.

But then we went into the barn, and guess what there was, right there?

Right.

It was a hay bale.

A whole hay bale.

And then I could not help it.  I thought that it was not fair that this rider made me leave my breakfast, and here was food, and she was being the Boss of me again, and I did not want her to be the Boss of me, it was time for me to show that I am Boss!  So I put my head down fast and I grabbed a huge mouthful of that hay!! And I started chewing it!!!

And the next thing that happened was that the rope snake bit me on the flank!  Hard!!

And I said HEY!  And I thought I do not want to be in this barn with a Horse Eating Rope Snake Monster so I started backing up!

I knew there was not really a Horse Eating Monster, but I was going to be the Boss.  So I gave the Super Huge Stink Eye to my rider because I know she has something to do with that rope snake, and I said HELP!  I AM BEING EATEN!!

But she just looked at me and said You are not!

And I said I AM TOO!!! And I pulled back.

Well.  With my other riders, this always worked.  They were little people, and they could not hold me, Huey The Wonder Horse, when I did not want to be held.

It did not work that way this morning, though.  I was very surprised to find that my rider was holding me there like a rock, and she said YOU DROP THAT RIGHT NOW HUEY!

I was very surprised!!! And I was even more surprised when that rider held me like a rock and she had a spare hand that she used to grab that hay right out of my mouth!!!!

That is right!! She took the hay away.  Right out of my mouth!!  Can you even believe this?

And then guess what she did!

She gave ME the Stink Eye! And she said BAD HORSE, HUEY! BAD HORSE!!

Well.

I am not really a Bad Horse, and I was surprised to hear my rider say so.  And then Clay, that dummy, started laughing so hard I thought he was going to fall over in his stall, saying You are a Bad Horse Huey!! HAHAHAHA!!  And all the mares were in the barn, and they all said Huey.  You are being one stupid gelding.  You better obey that mare even if she only has two legs.  Do not be such a Bad Horse.

So I said I am not a Bad Horse!! And the mares all said You are acting like one right now, Huey.

So I put my head down and went into the cross ties.  Then I was good.  But then when I got my tack on it came back.  I thought This bad rider is going to want me to go out there and do hard stuff I don’t feel like doing, and now she has the Magic Stick to make me, and then she will probably yank my mouth and bounce on my back, because even though that doesn’t happen as much, it still does, and she is going to expect to be the Boss of me AGAIN.  And I do not want anyone to be the Boss of me.

I am the Boss!

But you know what?

My rider gave me a look and she said You are being snippy Huey.  I think it is time to work on your Manners.

I said What are you talking about?

But then I saw she was taking me into the little round pen.  I said I do not want to go into that little round pen!!  But she said MOVE ON and made me go in anyway.

Well.  I went in, because I am not really a Bad Horse.   But when I got in there, my Bad Horse bit started talking to me and it was saying how no one should be the Boss of me, because I am big and strong and smart and brave.  And this person, she is not a very good rider.  And she really should not be the Boss of me.  And that Bad Horse voice said Run Huey!

So I started trotting around the ring.  The rider said OK and that is when I realized she had the lunge whip.  I realized this because I could see something pointing at my butt, and when things get pointed at my butt it makes me run.

Then the Bad Horse voice said So what if she has the lunge whip. YOU are the Boss, Huey!  Turn around!

And I could not help it.  I turned around.

Only, my rider was not happy that I turned around, and she made the Sign for me to turn back around and go the direction I had been going.

And the Bad Horse voice said You do not have to pay attention to that Sign Huey!  You are big!  She is small!  Just run at her and she will run away, and you will be the Boss!  So I ran at her.

Then she made the TURN AROUND RIGHT NOW Sign, and even with the Bad Horse voice, I had to do it.  I turned around and went back in the direction.

Then the Bad Horse voice said What are you doing, Huey!  You were going to go the other way!  Do it!

So I hopped up in the air and I turned around again, and I plunged my feet at that puny rider!  I thought for sure she would run away then!  But she did not!!! She made the TURN AROUND RIGHT NOW Sign, and I had to do it again!!

The Bad Horse voice said You are being weak Huey!  You go back in that other direction and you show that rider what!! So I did.

But she was ready for me!  She laughed.  She said You are being One Bad Horse today Huey!  But I still love you!  NOW TURN AROUND RIGHT NOW.  And MOVE ON!

That Bad Horse voice tried to say No, but then I saw she was making the whip move, so I turned around.  Then she said I am tired of this game Huey.  Let’s play another one.  And you know what she did then?

She made that whip crack!

Well, it did not hit me of course, she never hits me with that whip, but still.  A whip cracked behind me, and then I had to run forward.  I said to that Bad Horse voice, You stop saying these things to me!  I am not a Bad Horse!  Stop making me behave like one!  Go away, Bad Horse!! And then to make it leave, I bucked.  I bucked, and I cantered, and I bucked some more!  And there was my rider saying You go Huey!  Get that Bad Horse stuff out!!  And then I guess I bucked that Bad Horse right out. Then I could just trot, and stop, and turn around when my rider said to, and trot some more.  Then we went and worked in the ring.

I am glad that Bad Horse voice got out.  I do not like to be a Bad Horse ever, but I really do not want to be a Bad Horse with a rider on me.  That would be very, very bad.  Good thing I was not.  And afterwards, I got a bunch of sticky ook on the scrapes, and some apple treats, because I was being a very Good Horse.

I do not think I will be the Bad Horse tomorrow. It is too much work!

One Perfect Day

Standard

On this trip, we seem to have unwittingly saved the Best for the Last.  Two days of dedicated lounging at the cottage topped off the batteries, and charged us up for a full day – a very full day – back up in Acadia: Paradise On Earth.  We positively vaulted out of bed at 6:15am in order to avoid the Friday Traffic to parts north.  Acadia is one of the most…intensely…visited National Parks, and the weather this week has been nothing short of sparkling.  You know that the weather is fantastic when the farmers and the skippers are raving about it – this is possibly the first time I’ve ever heard a farmer talk about how good the weather is.  Typically, farmers and skippers can always find something to complain about the weather – but the only thing even close to a complaint I’ve heard is that there haven’t been any bad-weather lay-offs at all in the last week.

I know that I, for one, and deeply and personally grateful to the spirit of good fortune that has provided this clear, dry, warm summer week for us here. It set the stage for a Fully Perfect Day.  And – as with any perfection of man’s creating, the day had a Persian Flaw, when I stepped off a curb unexpectedly and sprained my ankle.  Not badly enough to stop with the day, but enough to remind me of the transience of joy.  The ankle was the Memento Mori I carried through the day, reminding me not to take any moment of it for granted.

Item One on our agenda was a Boat Cruise.  The last one was on a four-masted schooner that used wind power to give us a tour of Frenchman’s Bay.  This one was on a motorized tour boat that cruised the coast, took us out to a nearby island for a short visit, and then showed us the Houses of the Rich and Unfamous (aka, the Old Money with which this area is seasoned).  There were porpoises, cormorants, gillimots, and a big shelf of harbor seals rolling in the sun. One seal had captured the highest, flattest point on the shelf, and took advantage of this position to sprawl on his back with his flippers in the air, contributing immensely to my perception that these animals are basically sea-dwelling dogs.  The island was charming, perhaps not so much as Monhegan, but really, what could be the equal of Monhegan?

My favorite moment of the cruise came when the National Park Ranger who was our Guide started providing a more in-depth history of this treasure of a park, and some of the first words from her mouth were “Trustees of Reservations”.  Now, The Trustees is my absolute favorite land conservation group.  Roy and I contribute to a great many conservation causes, but The Trustees are the nearest and dearest, and the greatest beneficiaries of whatever largesse we have in a given year.  The Trustees own an incredibly broad spectrum of properties in Massachusetts – anything from working farms to blasted and remote hillsides to formal gardens to historic homes with original contents intact.  The Trustees owns the Old Manse of Nathaniel Hawthorne fame, from which the residents were able to watch the Revolutionary War breaking out at the bottom of the garden.  It owns my favorite cross-country skiing areaever, which is also a splendid place to hike at other times of the year.  It owns cascading waterfalls, swamps, oddly-shaped hillocks, dinosaur footprints on a river bed, and what seems to be about a third of the island of Chappaquiddick.  Each property is marked with a highly distinctive sign by the road, and it never fails to give me a thrill when we drive down some remote country road or backwoods path and encounter that sign.  We are Trustees, and proud of it.

So when the ranger uttered those magic words, I was unable to repress the urge to say “WOO! Trustees!” at which point she stopped and said “You guys are members of the Trustees? Me too!!” and then went on to let the whole boat know that it was a Maine-based offshoot of The Trustees (the Hancock County Trustees) that developed the idea for the park and got the ball rolling in the same way it had been done in Massachusetts.

So, a boat cruise, seals, an island, and finding out that my Pet Conservation Group was also indirectly responsible for my Favorite Natural Destination outside of the state.  How great is that?

It only got better when we went to lunch.  There is a lobster pound on Mount Desert Island (where most of Acadia is), on the opposite side of the island from the one infested by the Ravening Hordes of Bar Harbor, that we’ve been wanting to try since we first saw it five years ago.   It looked Promising, and I can say that it delivered on every atom of that Promise, plus an exponential amount more.

So there we were, sitting at a wooden picnic bench painted green and shining in the speckled sunlight falling through the pine trees.  The lobster cooking at this place takes part in a different spot than the restaurant – the restaurant captures the panoramic view from a hillside and looks out over the water, while the cooking shack is at the base of the hill, where it won’t interfere with the air conditioning for the restaurant.  Interesting approach, not one I’m used to from a lobster pound, certainly.  Then again, this lobster pound had waitresses.  That’s a first for me.  Typically, a lobster pound has a college student at a window behind a cash register, and five hot and red guys next to an open pit filled with water kept on the boil by gas piping.  You shout your order to the cash girl, pay, pick your lobster, and then take a seat at a picnic bench and wait for something that sounds like it might possibly be Your Number to come garbled out of the tannoy.  You might be able to go to a different spot and buy a beer from a bartender, or you might have to BYOB.

Notable, here, is the absence of frills.

At this lobster pound, the cooking operation was well out of the way, but easily available to the Interested Party, of which there were quite a few.  It was an open-air structure that would have looked at home on any Colonial Living History site in the region.  The cooking pit was manned by a couple of guys who gave an impression of Professionality – contrasted with the impression of College Student Summer Jobity yielded by the cooking staff of other pounds.  And the equipment was quite different from any I’d seen before.  In place of the vast welded pans open to the air while the gas-fired heat causes the steam to boil away constantly, this pound had a cast-iron kettle suspended in a superstructure of ancient cinderblock over a wood fire – open to the air on one side for regular stoking – and what could have been a three-hundred year old wooden lid with handles to cover the kettle and let out only a discrete, controlled amount of steam.  Which, happily, the Professional Lobster Steamer did for me as soon as he saw my camera come out.

Now, that is service with a smile.

And this brings me back to a slice of perfect heaven, as we’re sitting in the shade of the pine trees, drinking our draft blueberry ales with real blueberries floating up and down on the currents of bubbles in the glass, looking out from the hill over the Sound, with a light afternoon breeze moving the air about, air that is perfumed by an intriguing and delightful mix of the pine needles underfoot, the saltiness of of the ocean, the steam from the cooking lobsters, the woodsmoke from the fire.  Possibly every Favorite Outdoor Smell Available To Mankind was in that aroma.  As I watched the sparkling of the fire under the kettle, a sudden cloud of steam boiled up to fill the hut, and out of that cloud emerged the cook with a shiny metal bucket – obviously very hot – with a number clipped to the handle, and as I watched, he ran right up the hill with that bucket.

Yes. The lobsters are cooked at the base of the hill, and when they are done, someone runs them up to the kitchen so they don’t cool down on the way.

And that is why this place has been in continuous operation since 1939.  Dedication to Customer Satisfaction.

Equally astonishing was the sight of a waitress, laden with a heavy tray of hot crustaceans, making her way down the hillside on a dirt path covered with pine needles and nobbly roots, not losing a drop of anything.  I don’t know where they get these people, but I wish we could make some more just like them.

And just when I thought this could not get any better, our order arrived.  I wasn’t in the mood to dismantle a lobster for lunch, so settled for a cup of the lobster stew.  Lobster stew is always milky, usually buttery, and typically involves several pieces of lobster meat that cannot be identified until consumed (meat from the claws has a different texture than the tails, etc.).

This cup of lobster stew, however, hadan entire claw sitting right on top.  Not in the shell, mind you, but a claw that had been removed in one single piece.  With any luck, the pictures will come out well…

After lunch, I went to wash my hands in the restroom which was – as typical for lobster pounds – located outside of the dining area.  What was not typical was the boutique-style decor of the restroom, nor its pristine and sparkling cleanness.  It left me with more questions than answers…until I passed the windows of the indoor portion of the restaurant, and saw table after table after table of sexagenarians with Expensive Hair.  Then I realized where the inhabitants of the 60-room cottages we’d seen from the harbor go for lunch.

A lobster pound that caters to Old Money is roughly indistinguishable from a lobster pound designed and executed by Disney.

After lunch we went into Northeast Harbor, which is evidently where the Old Money kills a few hours by shopping.  It had antique stores filled with actual priceless antiques, unlike the usual stock for these places.  A Junk Shop by any other name… it had boutiques.  It has a “grocery” filled with gourmet treats and a sizeable wine cellar being worked by a guy whose parents obviously think that Having A Job is a Very Good Idea for a young man home from Harvard.   Builds character, you know.   The on-street parking was a peculiar combination of Luxury Sport Utes and battered and ancient station wagons.  And I mean ancient – the kind I remember my mother driving when I was 8 years old.  I’d be willing to bet that the Wine Kid’s wheels were one of those battered old wagons.  And I’d be willing to bet that his perfectly coiffed mother also uses that battered wagon to get around the island too…when it’s not just easier to take the boat, that is.

We had an hour to kill, so we took the car up Cadillac Mountain, which offers perfectly splendid 360 views of the lakes, the ocean, the harbors, the islands, a few very large sailboats, and – yesterday- a large cruise ship anchored in Bar Harbor.

The final expected thrill of the day was our carriage ride up the carriage roads to the top of Day Mountain.  What can I say about this ride?  The rhythm of the carriage is not the steady forwardness of a car.  It’s step-forward-pause, step-forward-pause.  It rocks, like a ship or a hammock.  The only sound is the thumping of the horse’s hooves on the broken stone road, the jingling of the harness, and a surprising amount of squeaking from the carriage itself.  The pace is steady, but slow enough to fully take in the surroundings.  It is an entirely different experience than driving, hiking, or cycling.  It is restful, engaging.

And – after the thought of icing on the cake – there is a particular smell that hangs about the Maine coast.  It’s ocean spray and blooming flowers and pine needles and balsam.  It is nothing short of intoxicating.  And it comes in waves, on the breeze.  When out in the woods on the coast, one is assaulted with this perfume unpredictably, which leads to hiking bands making a halting progress across the landscape between wafts, and pausing stone still with noses in the air and lungs working like a bellows to take in as much as possible before it moves on.

If they could bottle this, there’d be no more depression in the world, I’m sure of it.

I don’t even get the full benefit of this – decades of concentrated assault on my sense of smell by hay fever and other allergies – have left me with what seems to be half a nose.  For people like Roy who has a very acute sense of smell, the scent is literally intoxicating.  At one point we got a wave of it through the car while we were moving, and I thought he was going to drive us right off the road.

I don’t think, before yesterday, that I could have imagined anything that could possibly be added to this bouquet that would improve it.  Now I know, though, and should have known all along.  It’s horses.  The existing forest aroma, overlaid with the smell of horses, leather, and sweat rockets past Intoxicating and moves directly to Controlled Substance.  I wish I could do this justice, but the only thing I can say is Try It.

Dinner closed off the day with another trip to the Luxury Lobster Pound.  This time we had indoor, mosquito-free, ringside seats for the sunset, which I watched unfold in cotton-candy pink and blue, as I demolished a final lobster.  And – happily – the restaurant came through with one final delightful surprise at the end of the meal.  Instead of the de rigeur wet-wipe in a foil package?

Afinger-bowl with a slice of lemon and sprig of mint floating in it.

Try It.

Kayak