Monthly Archives: August 2012

It’s The Second- Or Third-Most Wonderful Time Of The Year…

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The summer heat has broken at last, and Huey the Wonder Horse is bursting with beans.  We had a front come through overnight on Tuesday. The humidity dropped like a rock and we woke to crystal clear skies, the promise of a nip in the air, and a freshening breeze picking up through the trees.

My barn owner calls this “colic weather” because the horses are used to being hot and sweaty and drinking gallons, but when it cools off, they forget to drink.  And then, because horse digestive systems are as efficient and failsafe as women’s reproductive organs (a Monday-morning design job if I’ve ever seen one), they wind up colicking.  Colic is the scariest word I know, as a horse owner.  It’s not like baby colic, which is also a scary word to parents, because it means “There goes the household’s sleep until this is over…” but  it’s not usually fatal. Horse colic isn’t usually fatal, but it’s often fatal.  Times like this, I really dread that midnight call.  Fortunately, the barn management is on top of the problem, or I’m pretty sure they are, and start dishing out electrolytes to make the horses keep drinking.  They do say that awareness and preparation are most of the battle.  I’m going to choose to believe that, because there isn’t anything else I can do, and I’d prefer not to lose that much sleep.

I call this “Hey, my brain works again” weather.  There’s something about the oppressive heat and humidity that makes it hard for me to think or do anything.  It’s sort of like when I take an antihistamine…the spongy cloud those little pills throw up to catch the pollen and snot also catch thoughts in my brain and trap them there.  I know they don’t really throw up a spongy cloud, but it works, no?  Heat does the same kind of thing to me. Air that you can actually see makes it hard to think.  Makes it hard to launch a thought, makes it hard for that thought to move from Point A to Point B.  You can’t talk through thick air like that.  When the autumn fronts start coming through, they sweep up that thick air and send it away, and then it becomes possible to think again.  And to do stuff.  I get energized.  I remember what it feels like to be enthusiastic.

I’m not alone in that, either.  You ought to see Huey when these fronts start to come through.  I remembered this from last year, that if I am feeling juiced to the eyeballs by fresh air, he is too, and there’s a lot more of him to get juiced, and his eyeballs are a lot higher than mine.  So I planned for it this time, because it’s finally happening…I am starting to get experience.  Useful experience, I mean.  I halfway expected, when I drove up, that the Wonder Horse would be out racing in his paddock like a lunatic.  And some of the other horses were…but he was hanging out, staring at his grain dish as if working a spell to Summon Food.  Even when I haltered him up, he was his usual interested but placid middle-aged self.

Yet when we took one step past that Magic Barrier of the paddock fence, his eyes lit up, his head went up, his ears went forward, and he got ready to spring into action.  I gave the lead rope a quick yank to remind him that he was Not Alone in this moment, and he settled down.  And I?  That momentary response confirmed me in Plan A:  lunging first, then groundwork (for you non-horse-people, that’s like obedience work with the dog, you know, Sit! Heel! Stay! kind of stuff), then tacking, and then riding.

It’s easier for me to lunge Huey in the round pen, because I don’t need to use the lunge line.  Less gear management to distract me, nothing to potentially trip over for me or him…and he likes it a whole lot better too.  He hates being lunged.  Not in the OMG! NOT THE LUNGE LINE!!! RUN AWAY!!!  HELP! HELP! HELP! way that horses can “hate” something.  More like “hate” in the sense of “I hate working out on the treadmill at the gym.” or “I hate long division” kind of “hate”.  Gets a dull look in his eye, and starts asking right away if we’re done yet.  The round pen doesn’t do that for him.  He goes right in there and starts heading right around.

Yesterday, he started heading right around at a trot, not his usual slogging walk.  Head up, tail flying in the wind, I could only stand an admire him…until he put his nose down and began inspecting the footing with an Assessing Eye.  There was one spot that seemed to be attracting a lot of his attention.  The wettest spot in the ring.  I couldn’t understand what was so fascinating about this spot until I saw him give it a good Speculative Look and begin to slow his pace waaaaay down.  It didn’t take a psychic flash to see where this was going:  he had located a Premium Rolling Spot.

I glared at him and pointed down his path. “Go.” I said.

He went.

He went around twice more before starting to slow down and eye the Rolling Spot again.

“GO!” I said.

He went.

Once around, this time.  And this time, when I said “GO” he flicked a look at me, stopped square on that spot, and started to buckle his knees.

He had clearly forgotten that I was holding the lunge whip.  I said “GO!” and gave the whip a good smart crack in the air.  It fired off like a shot.

Those knees unbuckled in Record Time as he straightened entirely up and launched into a canter at escape velocity.  Two paces of that and he forgot all about rolling, and was fully and completely dedicated to leaping in the air like a foal.  He kicked his heels, saw it was Good, did it some more, and decided that if a little was good, a lot would be better, and threw off a few bucks.  Saw that was Good as well, so he put his head down and bucked all the way around the ring. * I couldn’t help it.  I told him he was a crazy idiot, and I laughed.  He threw off another buck or two and then settled down to a huge floaty canter.  Then I was able to go back to admiring him for a minute.

That’s one of my favorite things to do, it is – admiring my horse.  One of my second favorite things is watching other people admire my horse.  I got to have that experience, too, as another one of the boarders was still around, watching the rodeo unfold.

“I’m so glad I’m having this experience with my feet on the ground,” I said, “and not from his back.”

Chalk one up to 11 months of horse ownership:  one very good decision made this week.

The weather also signals the return of the academic grindstone. About half of the kids are back in school, the other half go back next week.  My college fired up this week.  Several of  the other colleges fire up after Labor Day.

So what this weather means, other than Rodeo Time at the barn, is Traffic Time in the towns.  This area is called, among other things, the “Five College Region”.  In the general vicinity, we have Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire College, Amherst College, and the University of Massachusetts flagship campus.  That means, among other things, there are only about four weeks out of the year when parking is not an issue.  Two weeks after school ends but before the tourists come flocking in, and two weeks after the tourism season winds down but before the college students return in a swarm.

It’s always fun when the students come back.  The capital of this state is Boston, you know.  And Boston drivers have a reputation that spans the nation.  The closest thing I’ve seen to the Boston driving experience is the Rome driving experience, and possibly the Ciudad Juarez driving experience.   Nothing else rivals it for sheer, pure, aggressive chaos.  The chaos, and possibly the aggression, is supported by the Local Attitudes towards traffic control that are evident in the lack of road striping (in many places), the disdain for shoulders, the need for on-road parking (which gives rise, naturally, to the demand for double parking), the casual attitudes towards street naming (which gives rise, for pragmatic reasons, to a lack of street signs).  Oh, yes, and this part of the country had been fully developed long before the automobile, so the streets are characterized by qualities of Narrowness and Windingosity.  When you go through Boston, the thought must surface: these streets look like they were made by wandering livestock.  And so they were.

Now, Northampton isn’t quite as bad, mainly because it’s smaller and has fewer people living in it.  But we can do Narrow, Winding streets that change names randomly with the best of them.  The main street through town is Route 9, Bridge Street (not to be confused with Bridge Road, which is about a mile away), Main Street, Elm Street, Locust Street, or Haydenville Road.  And all that within a five-mile stretch.  The traffic signals and patterns can be equally wonky.

And therein lies the amusement value of the students pouring back into the area.  Three quarters of them knew how to get around before, but have forgotten over the summer…and a quarter of them have no idea at all.

It’s like putting 36,000 Student Drivers on the road, all at once, and towing U-Hauls and horse trailers.

And the Crowning Glory?  Today starts the “Three County Fair” in Northampton – the big agricultural festival/demolition derby/roller derby/live music festival/midway for Western Massachusetts – celebrating its 195th anniversary…and the fair grounds are smack in the middle of town…so you can add to those 36,000 student drivers an additional 100,000 fairgoers, tractors, trailers, livestock, and other rustics.

It’s times like this that I thank the heavens that I live smack in the center of town, and don’t actually need to put my car on the road other than to visit my horse (going away from the traffic jams), shop for groceries (can time that strategically and do it only once per week), and drive to work myself (out of the traffic and to another town with a less student-heavy population).  It affords me the chance to hang out in the window of the coffeeshop and just watch the havoc unfold.

I’m so glad I’m having this experience with my feet on the ground, and not from behind the wheel.

*Yes, for those of you who know horses, he was keeping his back end where it belonged, which was well away from me.  And he kept an ear on me, and if horses could smile, he’d have been grinning like an idiot.  And yes, I gave him the cues for down transitions, and he accepted them, so we’re not talking about some scary craziness.  No worries.

Caution Backing Up Lamppost

Classic Massachusetts Street Signage. Kind of says it all…

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The Year Of Living Weirdly

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I woke to a torrential rain this morning, and the first thought in my mind was a flash-back…right to one year ago today, when Hurricane Irene wrought her devastation on New England.  It was a Sunday, I remember that, and the day before school.  And where I am, we got off very, very easy.  Not so, north of us about 10, maybe 15 miles, where the Deerfield River ended its two-state flooding spree by trashing the farms in, well, Deerfield.

It’s been the Year of Living Weirdly, indeed.  Tornadoes in Springfield Massachusetts in June. Hurricanes in Vermont.  Catastrophic flooding in August. A freak major blizzard at Halloween…and then no snow at all for the rest of the year.  Record warm temperatures through the entire time.

I didn’t even bother trying to grow tomatoes this year.  For one, I came to the reluctant conclusion that my garden dirt harbors Septoria.  Every summer it’s been a mad race to finish harvesting the fruit before the Septoria kills the plant.  This spring, I realized that I needed to let the garden lie fallow for a few years and hope that the fungus dies off without any new fuel.  It’s meant not having those wonderful, warm, bursting, fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes that I love so much…but given how vile the weather has been here all summer, I don’t know that I’d have gotten that experience anyway.  Much of the summer has reminded me, forcibly, of my home in Houston, Home Of The Most Hellish Weather In The Nation.  It’s been hot, humid, always sticky.  I can’t remember the last time it was nice enough to leave the AC off and open the house.  A long time, considering the musty smell the house is starting to pick up.  Usually in the summer here, there are maybe three weeks where it’s nasty enough to need the AC around the clock.  This year, it’s more like three months.

I hate this.

I hate this even more when I pause to consider the possibility – and I am familiar with the science, and know that it is a possibility and not a proven fact at this point – that this wretched weather we’ve been having this year is a function of global climate change.  I hate it that too many humans trying to do too many thing using appallingly inefficient sources of energy, may have caused this.

And I really hate the notion that this might just be the Way It Is Going To Be from here on out.

Because, you know, I didn’t pack up my bags and move everything to an alien environment – having to learn all new slang, body language, and customs, dealing with bad drivers, spending unthought-of amounts of money on a house, paying a bunch of strange new taxes, changing all of my doctors and my driver’s license and address – in order to frickin’ live back in Houston.  And, for that matter, if I’d wanted to live in Portland or Seattle (which is what we had all winter) I’d have gone there.  No.  I want cold winters with lots of snow.  I want nice summers with only a short period of heat.  I want beautiful springs, and autumns filled with color.  That’s what I want.

Last year, we didn’t have a fall.  I mean, we did have a fall because everything eventually fell but it wasn’t a Fall.  The hurricane and the flood saw to that.  Took down any leaves that were thinking about becoming Interesting, and left nasty fungal infections behind that took care of any other leaves that might possibly have thought about becoming Interesting.

Oh, yeah, and it messed up the gourd crops.  They were harder to find than usual, and when you did find them, they looked OK until you cut into them and found them rotting from the inside out.  And the ones that weren’t rotting when you bought them, got that way pretty quickly.  I usually buy bushels of the things and keep them about the house as Objets d’Art until I want one for cooking.  Nothing like eating the decor, which is what you usually get to do, living in New England.  These things, last year?  Didn’t last worth diddly squat.  Not that one was in the mood for eating lots of rich pumpkin soups and stuff, not with the weather the way it was.  Reminded me of going to buy a Solstice Tree down in Texas…nothing like shopping for holiday evergreens while wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of flip-flops.  Just sucks the joy right out of the season, that does.

So here we are, on the anniversary of Irene, and I am sorely hoping that this year, it will be better.  That we will have our proper chilly weather, our proper beautiful foliage, our proper crisp nights, our proper bright blue skies, and ultimately, our proper snowy winter.

I’m a little concerned, though, because yesterday I saw the Pumpkin Truck.  I feel about the Pumpkin Truck the way Huey feels about the Hay Truck.  Good Stuff, There, that’s how.  And at first I was excited, because, well, it was the Pumpkin Truck!!  And then I remembered it’s still August.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Pumpkin Truck at this time of year. Shouldn’t really be buzzing about for another two, three weeks, I think.  When it’s Fall, you know.

That’s what I want.  Back to normal.  Not a “new normal”.  I liked the old one.

Running Water

See? Like this. This is what we want. This, and lots of pumpkins and exotic winter squash.

You Live In A Zoo, You Look Like A Monkey…

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As much as I love Maine, there is one thing it doesn’t have in it.

Huey and Buster.  Buster, I know, is lounging around in his penthouse at the Cat Spa, drugged out of his mind on catnip, and getting more than his fair share of playing from the staff.  Huey, I’m sure, is at this moment digging into a pile of hay and wondering if I’m going to come in today and bring treats, or whether it’s going to be the better-but-more-challenging Emergency Backup Rider he usually gets when I’m away.  He’s thinking that he’s not sure if it’s better to have a baby rider like myself screwing things up while riding him, but he gets a soft and easy workout, or to have the better rider who doesn’t screw things up but makes him do more difficult stuff.  And he is not being sure.

I am, however, missing him like the dickens.  It’s easier to not miss Buster, because 1) he sleeps squarely on my feet or knees, and is functionally a 14 pound jelly-filled furry bowling ball when he does, which is less than comfortable for me, and 2) I know quite well that he’s going to blame me soundly for his wild week of wining and dining, and be a right proper little brat when I get home.  Huey doesn’t usually make messes for me, he just spends my money like it’s water.  I’d rather have my money spent like water than wake up every morning with a backache because I’ve been sleeping with a bowling ball.

Anyway, I started down this road because I woke up this morning, and could hear Huey’s voice in my mind saying This is being a very good birthday!! And it is!

We had a few difficulties yesterday, me and Roy.  They arose during a fabulous two-hour cruise that we took along the coast, wherein we saw more seals on Seal Rocks than I’ve ever seen there before, and a huge osprey nest right up close and the ospreys were at home.  And the morning cloud cover pulled off right at the very time I wanted it to the most, so I could take pictures of a nearby lighthouse.  And the weather was spanking perfect, just the right temperature, and no humidity.  And a good coffeeshop has opened up this year right on the waterfront.  And the bar on the cruise boat started dishing up Bloody Marys, two for eight bucks, and they were loaded with horseradish, just like I like them.

So, you say, where are these difficulties?

The boat picked up a few handfuls of people on the usual quay, and then motored across the harbor to make an unusual stop, where it picked up what seemed to be a couple hundred septuagenarians and octogenarians on a tour.  I could tell at once that many of these individuals were members of our Tribe, and doubly-lucky for Roy, they were Homies of a sort.  Every last one of them from Long Island.  Or, as they say there, “Longiiiiiiland.”  There are few things Roy loves more than a big mess of Old Folks From The Home Country.  He likes to bond with them.  And, regrettably, during the course of bonding with a pair of ancient women with improbably red hair and flashy clothes, he rounded up my age to the next year.  And when I pointed out that he had done so, he shrugged and said “It’s less than a day.”

A day is a day.  15 years and 364 days is not the same thing as 16 years.  That would be 15 years and 365 days, or even 366 if it’s a Leap Year.  Not that I am playing around with those numbers, but I don’t see the point in broadcasting that here.  Especially not after I said “WHAT?  I AM NOT [rounded up age].  My birthday is not until TOMORROW.”  It was good for a laugh from the old ladies, who either have long outgrown that perspective but remember it, or perhaps it is a perspective you never outgrow.  No way to tell, and I wasn’t going to ask.

It did net me a Consolation Prize of an early birthday present:  a golf shirt with a golfing Mickey Mouse, made from a truly royal purple, and out of technical fabric.  And in perfect timing, too, because we had a 5:00PM tee-time at the Links on the adjacent peninsula.

One thing I love about New England roads in the summer is their…nomadic…character.  While you do see ordinary smallish cars carrying ordinary people about their ordinary business, you see almost quite as many Motorized Camels humping along with the entire household goods, or at least, a selection of them.   It’s one thing if you’re going to Boston, but if you’re in a position to drive to Boston, you certainly aren’t going to be doing so for pleasure, not at this time of the year, you aren’t.  No. There are much better places to be than Boston, in late summer.  Cape Cod.  Martha’s Vineyard.  Nantucket.  The North Coast. The Adirondacks. The Catskills. The Berkshires. The entire coast of Maine. The lakes of Maine. The Green Mountains. The White Mountains. The Pioneer Valley, where I live.

The thing to know about all of those destinations is that they involve, or can and do involve, truly vast quantities of specialized gear.

And people take it with them when they go.

This leads to, at the very simplest and most commonplace point, the family sedan with two bikes hanging on the trunk-mount bike rack, or an ancient four-door with bikes that cost three times what the car did mounted on the roof-rack (minus the front tires, which are stored in the backseat).

And, at the most ornate and complicated end of the spectrum, you have the family I saw on the way up here, driving an RV with three bikes mounted on the front of the hood, towing a sport ute that had more bikes on the back, and a canoe and a kayak on the roof rack.

And you do have every configuration in between, bikes, canoes, kayaks, three-wheelers, four-wheelers, campers, roof pods, canvas wrapped bundles tied anywhere that provides an attachment point.  And, of course, dogs.  I think there may be some kind of requirement to have dogs in New England.  The more, the bigger, the hairier, the better.  I think the only thing that has let me out of having dogs is having a horse.  The pressure is incredible.  And New Englanders take their dogs absolutely everywhere.  Kind of like the French do, only bigger and hairier.  For the love of pete, yesterday, our cruise boat passed a large yacht moored in the harbor, and even the yacht had dogs, and a couple of dirt bikes mounted on the back.

Anyway, this year, Roy and I decided to dispense with the bikes, because – with the very narrow, very windy, very hilly coastal roads that have no, read it: NO, shoulders whatsoever, it’s just too much like playing Russian Roulette when you go out on a bicycle.

No, this year, our Specialized Sporting Goods of choice to haul along on vacation were our golf clubs. This was Roy’s idea, by the way.  I’d be happy renting various watercraft and hiking.  But he’s been in New England longer than I have, and he’s clearly caught the regional need to take along the bulkiest special-use sporting goods possible.  And two full sets of golf clubs, plus bags, plus shoes, certainly count.  I, myself, am starting small.  I mostly feel the need to fill up the car with skis.  I’m having to work my way up to other stuff, like multiple kayaks, or a canoe that is twice as long as the car.

So here we are, with our clubs, looking for some links, and found them on the nearby peninsula.  I must say, it was the nicest golf outing I’ve ever had.  The weather, as I said, was perfect, and the course itself was much easier than our usual one.  There were water hazards on only two of the nine holes, not seven of nine like there are at home.  The fairways were wide, and not – for the most part – lined with impenetrable forested thickets and swamps. They were longer than usual, to make up for it.  But we got there at five, only had to let one other party play through, and scrambled our way to finishing nine holes in just under two hours, and lost only five balls.  A record, for us.  And we were treated, on the drive home, to a brilliantly colorful sunset of nuclear proportions.  I mean, I did not know that colors like that existed in Nature.  It looked like there was a terrifyingly toxic chemical reaction taking place inside the clouds.  Pink was the least of it. Thank heavens I did not have my camera, or there would have been a wreck.

I finished off the day with a grilled lobster served with drawn butter that had fennel seeds in it.  Grill + lobster +  fennel + butter = heaven.

Now I’m facing the question of what to do with today.  Roy had made it clear that I am Queen Of All I Survey…and one of the collateral benefits of making the trip out to the links yesterday is that we passed the equestrian bookstore.  I said to myself, “Self,” I said, “there is no way that there is an entire store full of Horse Books stowed away in the coastal Maine woods.  It must be that “equestrian” is someone’s name.  Or a word they thought was cool.”

But no.  Thirty seconds on the internet reveals that there is in fact an entire store full of Horse Books stowed away in the coastal Maine woods.  And it’s on the way to lunch.  Bwahahahah…Things like this make my decisions so much easier.  Fabulous hike. Letting Huey spend some more of my money like water, on books, from a distance.  Fresh fried fish for lunch.  Ice cream for dessert. Reading my new Horse Book(s) as I gaze out over the ocean.  Watching the sunset with a microbrew.  Five-star food at an Inn in town for dessert.

I could die happy at the end of this.  Or, probably, at any point while it’s going on.

Kayak

This Is Maine Today.

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This is what Maine looked like last night:  sun setting over the water (yes, from this spot it does), staining the rippled surface of the ocean a red that is redder the blood and pinker than carnations.  The clouds, rippled like the water, stained with the same paints, and where they broke, a fiery green.  The echoes of the sun itself, a bold vertical stripe of brilliant orange.  The boats, black shadows on the water.  The distant lighthouses winking white and red, as they go.

This is what Maine smelled like in the evening: salty and spicy and sweet, from the ocean breeze and the shoreline balsams and pines and the last of the season’s blooming beach roses.  fruity from the dark red rosehips that are bursting from every bush.  pungent with the organic exhalations of exposed seaweed from the retreating tide. dusty from the sun-heated rocks.  sharp spikes of lighter fluid, drifting wisps of barbeque smoke, and stomach-rumbling blasts of grilling lobster and steaks.

This is what Maine sounds like this morning: screeches from the gulls, quacking from the ducks, punctuated with the deep bass guitar thrum of bullfrogs in the wetland near the pool. an endless phut-phut-phut from the lobster boats harvesting tonight’s dinner.  the tread of dedicated exercise walkers on the one-lane road, working up an appetite for breakfast. masses of children forming up with bikes and bathing suits. the occasional slap of a wave on the rocks in the wake of the lobster boats.  the whistle of a solitary osprey.

Morning

Linekin Bay

Oops.

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You know when my rider said those shots that the vet made a twitch so I had to stand still for and I was being a very good horse, she said those shots would make me feel a lot better?

She was right.  I did not even know how good I was not feeling until those shots made me notice!! Now I feel GREAT!!!!!!!

And you know what I am when I am feeling GREAT?  I am a huge horse that goes very fast.  Going very fast is what you have to be doing to jump over the tall jumps like I can, you know.

I got to show that off the other day too!  I went out in the ring with a bunch of other horses and riders all day long.  At first it was not so much fun, it was not even riding, it was just Huey go this way, and Huey go that way, and Huey stand still, and Huey back up.  There was something the other horses got to do with some of those fake carrots like Clay had before, and I said Let’s go do that, rider! but my rider said We are not good enough together to do that.  I do not tell you good enough and you do not listen and do what I say good enough.  So we had to go back to our boring Huey go this way and go that way.

But then after I had lunch we all got to go riding in the ring.  I went in and there was my rider, and there was Noah, and Belle, and Dakota and their riders.  And, I am telling you, I was feeling GOOD.  My rider got on and I got all ready for my hock to bother me, and it did not.  So then I was feeling great!!  And I said to all the other horses, You horses watch me!  I am The Wonder Horse and I am going to be showing you how it is done!!!

But they were not really listening to me, and I could hear in the barn, there was Clay and he was laughing.  So we were walk, walk, walk in a circle, and my rider was moving around a LOT because of being told what to do and stuff, but I knew the moment was coming.  And it did.  When my rider touched me to say Trot, Huey, I said OK! And I made my fastest trot ever.  And we ran past all of those other horses like they were standing still.  And I said See, you horses!!  I am HUEY!!!

But my rider was not saying Good horse.  She was saying Slow down, Huey, that is too fast.  But I was saying There is no such thing as too fast. I am Huey! The Wonder Horse!  And I am one fast horse!!!!!  But she said NO. You are going TOO FAST.  SLOW DOWN.  And I said NO! I am going FAST.  And she said NO! SLOW DOWN!!  and then we had a lot of argument, and I am pretty sure I won.  And I did get to show those other horses how fast I am!!

But when we were done my rider did not say Good horse Huey! like she usually does.  She just brushed me and did not say anything silly, and put me back in my paddock.  Oh, well.

We did not go riding yesterday, but we did today.  My rider came and she said I hope you are not going to be playing any of your tricks today like you did before Huey.

And I said I am The Wonder Horse!!  I do not play tricks.  And I put my head down and blew through my nose.

Then when we went in the ring, I was feeling really good again!  But my rider said Do NOT go racing around, Huey.  So I did not.  I had some really nice trots, though.  And then she said Good horse, Huey!  And I was.  I was even a running over sticks horse, and I put my hoofs nice and high in the air!!  And my rider said Good Horse Huey!!! and gave me a big pat.  And I was a very good horse.

But then we had to do a ton of very boring stuff.  There were a lot of those fake carrots on the ground in the ring, and I had to walk in a stupid circle all the way around them, lots and lots and lots of times.  Too many times.  It was so boring.

Me? I wanted to run.

So then when my rider said it was time to stop walking around those fake carrots and go for a canter, I was very happy.  I cantered once around and we went fast. Then I had to stop so my rider could get some teaching, and then we went again.  Only this time I didn’t like what she did for the teaching.  She was trying to make me not canter as fast as I wanted to, and I did not like that.  But it was cantering, and it felt good, and I could not help it.

I make some little kicks.

And then my rider bounced very hard on my back and I really did not like that.

Then I don’t know what happened, really, because I am not usually that kind of horse, but I made some big kicks, and then I made some little bucks and some big bucks, and I thought that rider would have to come off my back and I could just run as fast as I wanted to then.  But you know what?  She did not.   She stayed on.  She grabbed me around the neck and shouted in my ear HUEY!!! YOU STOP DOING THAT HUEY!!!!!

And then I realized, what am I doing? I am trying to buck my rider off?  Like I am a Colt? Or a Wild Horse?

Oops.

So I stood there like a rock and my rider sat back up and everyone said What is this Huey! And I did not say anything at all.  My rider waited a minute and then we walked around and then we cantered in the other direction and I did not do any Wild Horse thing, and then we walked a little more and then my rider got off.

She did not say Good horse Huey.  She did not say anything at all.  We just went into the barn and I went into those cross ties.  And she took of my Wonder Horse Fly Mask, and I said I am a Good Horse?

And she gave me the biggest Stink Eye ever.  I though I had the biggest Stink Eye ever, but that is only because I never saw my rider’s Stink Eye.

That Stink Eye was so bad I felt like the littlest horse on the barn, even littler than Lemon Drop.

Why are you giving me that terrible Stink Eye? I said.

Finally she said something to me.  She said Huey. You tried to buck me off.  That was the baddest Bad Horse thing you have ever done with me.  It is such a Bad Horse thing that there are not any words for it.  And she kept giving me that terrible Stink Eye the whole time.

I put my nose out and said So what, you did not fall off.

She made the Stink Eye even stronger, and I pulled my nose back in case she thought she might want to eat it.  I was not even close to falling off.  Riders falling off is because that person is not being a good rider.  Getting bucked off is because that horse is not being a good horse.  You were being the Worst Horse In The Barn.

Oh. I said.  I do not know what happened, I said.

You should know, she said.  You are a big, old, wise horse.  You are too old to be freaking out and doing things like that.  It is one thing for the young horses to do that because they do not know better.  But you do.

Oh. I said.  But I am feeling really good like I am young!

Then she made the Stink Eye even more horrible, and then I thought maybe she was just going to eat me like I eat hay.  And then she said it, and I knew how bad I was being.  You will guess what is is that she said, so I will just go ahead and tell you.

You are NOT the Wonder Horse TODAY. She said.

I am not the Wonder Horse? I said.  How am I not the Wonder Horse?

You were too bad to be the Wonder Horse, she said.  Bad Horses cannot be the Wonder Horse.  Wonder Horses do not try to buck their riders off.  You did.  You are not even a plain old horse in the barn, you are a BAD Horse.

Then she said something even worse.  She said In fact, you are such a Bad Horse, than no only are you NOT the Wonder Horse, but another horse gets to be the Wonder Horse instead of you.

And then she said You know who is Wonder Horse today?  Clay is the Wonder Horse today.

Then I knew I was really a Bad Horse.  Clay? Getting to be the Wonder Horse?  Clay?

Clay was right there, and boy was he laughing.  He was laughing so hard I thought he was going to be falling over right there in his stall.  He just kept saying I am the Wonder Horse Huey!!  Me! Ha ha ha ha ha!!  You are not the Wonder Horse!  I am taking that Wonder Horse Fly Mask, Huey, and the pink salt, and the sticky ball!  You are one bad horse Huey!! Ha ha ha!!

I put my head down, and my ears down, and I stretched my neck waaay out and I said to my rider Please don’t be mad.  I just wanted to run very fast.  And she rubbed my nose and stopped making the horrible Stink Eye and said I know.  But you should not do that stuff, it is dangerous.  That was very Bad and I want you to be my Good Horse again, Huey.  We will try again tomorrow.

huey_bath03

I thought this was a pretty good Stink Eye, but it is nothing next to the one my rider can make! I am not the Wonder Horse today, but maybe I can be the Wonder Horse tomorrow. Or maybe not.