Friday, December 23, 2011

Mort and Merry Christmas

The heavy clouds had lifted during the night and bitter cold had laid claim to the snow laden ground below.

When I looked out the window, the thermometer showed the temperature hovered just below freezing. I could just see the horses, their shaggy winter coats were puffed out and glittered with a fine shower of  ice crystals. They bucked and spun, rearing up at each other in a goofy mock battle, rowdy with the cold and the clear blue sky.

Their play was irresistible. I slid my bare feet into my boots and pulled a jacket over my pajamas. I eased the basement door open and shut it behind me with barely a click. My parents were upstairs and sleeping at the other end of the house, but raising six rowdy children had honed their hearing to razor sharpness, it wouldn't take much to wake them.

 I wanted to be alone with my horses and delay the chaos of holiday togetherness. My freshman year of college, and first time away from home,was proving to me how much I still needed my family, but it was my horses, especially Mort, that I had missed the most.

 When I slid between the corral rails the horses bolted. They tore up the hill, digging with their front feet, hinds pushing dirt and snow and  their tails flagged in fun.

The three of them crowded together, Murray, the flighty Arab, Oakie, my goofy yearling Paint and Mort, playing wild mustang.

He blasted a warning snort at me and I squared off. I spread my feet and bent my knees, my arms spread wide and my hands open.

Mort charged down the hill,leaping in a zig-zag pattern with lightening speed, the other two came racing behind him. He snaked his head and his mouth opened with deadly intent as he approached.  He skidded to a stop in front of me with his ears flat against his head. His eyes were wild and steam blew out of his nostrils.

"HA!" I shouted and stood upright, my hands in the air. Oakie and Murray spooked and spun away.

Mort arched his neck and we faced off almost nose to nose.

He blasted me with another snort and snot showered on my face, freezing as soon as it hit. When he reared up to his full height I stepped into him, ducking his front feet and slapping him on the chest.

"HA!" I yelled and stepped to the side as he came crashing down.

He whirled and shot back up the hill, crazy with fun.

We were getting in position for another round, snarling and snorting like two WWE wrestlers in the ring, when I heard a door open with a bang somewhere behind me. Oops.

"Janet! Knock it off! You're going to end up with a hoof planted in your head! Good God!"

I ran for the barn, if  I fed and chopped ice it would give Dad time to cool off and hopefully see the humor of the situation. Mort and I had been playing our game for years, it was as inevitable on a cold winter morning as the ache in my fingers from an old case of frostbite.

Poor Dad had about had a heart attack the first time he had seen it and was pretty bent. But jeez, you'd think he'd have gotten over it by now.

I filled up the feeders and gathered up their buckets. A good hot mash was in order for today. It was Christmas after all. I headed to the house, whistling the alto part to the Hallelujah Chorus and banging my buckets in time.

Merry Christmas!!!!







29 comments:

MysteryTheMorab said...

Perfect for the holiday, thank you! Merry Christmas to you and a happy and safe New Years.

Tamara Baysinger said...

:) My heart and horses are in that same mood today. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Holy Flying Hooves Batman !!!

My Phoenix has reared in front of me only twice, each time I could tell it was play not agression, but is an adrenaline rush no matter what.

Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and your herd.

Barefooter

mugwump said...

I really have to write a disclaimer.

I keep telling these stories and am afraid the stupid mistakes I share will be construed as a good idea.

Yikes!

Tamara Baysinger said...

LOL Don't worry -- we know. ;)

DeeDee said...

mugs, I know that isn't a good idea BUT.... you sure make it sound fun. Keep that entry out of the hands of children. It is way toooo good. Wicked good.
merry Christmas to you and your whole herd.

luvredponies said...

My filly did the same thing to my hubby this morning - minus the slap on the chest. I watched it as if it were happening in slow motion. No one died :) I wish I'd had my camera with me..

nagonmom said...

Merry Christmas,and Happy New Year! My draft cross has such big feet, I doubt I could get between them to smack his chest. Of course, it is also doubtful he could get them very high off the ground!

Anonymous said...

Lol my Arab and I used to play chase in her stall. She would almost cut me like a cow, ears pinned teeth clashing. If I let her catch me she was a sweetiepie again.

joycemocha said...

Heh. I used to play a similar game with my first Shetland Windy Foot. But we kinda grew up together...I got him as a yearling when I was nine years old.

OTOH, playing games like that with him meant that I wasn't intimidated by old Sparkle, the certified kid-chaser. That's how I ended up with her, and she turned me into a semi-decent bronc rider. Luckily Mocha's more like Windy Foot than Sparkle!

Mary said...

That was really an exhilarating story!
I play like that with my little dog, but somehow I don't think it is the same... So fun!
Merry Christmas!

Bif said...

So, uh, if that had been the Kidlette, what would your reaction be? ;-)

Thanks for the early present: A Mort Story for Christmas!

Merry Christmas for you and yours this year!

redhorse said...

Mugs, I think you have a little Parelli envy in there (ducks).

Peanut said...

That made me laugh out loud! Merry Christmas.

liberitarianqh said...

Fun stuff! Guilty of that game myself and I think the horses love when we connect on their level. It's my tradition to make an alfalfa mash with apples and carrots every Christmas morning for my clan - I love walking to the barn with a steaming bowl of sweet.

Merry Christmas to all!!!

mugwump said...

Bif - kidlette isn't allowed to read my blog...

redhorse - go wash your mouth out with soap...

Bif said...

Yes, but if you *saw the Kidlette doing that* what would your reaction be? ;-)

EvenSong said...

As a good friend recently said, after posting a photo of herself, sitting on her "dragon" of a Standardbred, who was laying down in the field:
"WARNING: Rider is a trained idiot on a closed course. Do not try this at home like I did."

Although I was hoping for the rest of the endurance ride story [hint, hint], this was a great Christmas Eve offering.
Merry Christmas to all!

Anonymous said...

So glad someone else was an idiot
:lol: Gollee,the things I did with my horse when I was a teen.. Yes,I lived thro it,wish I could do it all again.

mugwump said...

Bif - she's smart enough not to let me catch her....

Anonymous said...

I am soooo glad there are other people who did this growing up. I had a blast playing tag until my appy caught me in a corner and put a nice green hoof print down my sweatshirt sleeve.. I then thought Gee, what am I doing.. It was fun.. Thank you for the memory. I enjoy all your stories Merry Christmas...

DarcC said...

Aw, that brought me back to memories of my first horse, a glorious Arabian gelding, who loved to play "gotcha last" tag around the paddock, and see if he could make me flinch by racing up to me and braking at the last possible second. Good times, love that horses have such a great sense of fun.

mugwump said...

I am sooo glad to find out I wasn't the only fool out there

Anonymous said...

i'm 53 and still play chase with my 17 hand thoroughbred, it seems to be really important to him, but i don't let him up the ante by rearing close to me. kinda envious of mugs, but my husband would kill me if i crossed the line of idiocy with my horses.

gtyyup said...

Brought tears to my eyes...Merry Christmas Janet~

mugwump said...

Anon - I sure don't do that any more. I was 19 when this was going on...I'm 54 now and much smarter.

Gttyup - merry Christmas to you to!

KD said...

Snortin Mort! What a nut you were! I didn't have that cool relationship with my first horse, but we did have crazy fun.

I'm 55 now and prefer to use trailer fenders, fences, and stumps just to get on my pony...no way I could be quick enough to play those kind of games. :-)

Breathe said...

Oh god. How many heart attacks did you give your mother?

mugwump said...

Breathe - lots

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