Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I went to Kiowa to visit my three booger heads.I brought my mother for company. She's an interesting talker and appreciates the beauty of a cold Colorado landscape as much as I do. We drove the back roads to my friends ranch and she kept saying, "Just how far out is this place?"

I spent so many years with an hour commute to my job this trip seems reasonable to me. But I guess it is pretty far out there.

Loki came up to greet me as I pulled in. Leland stood his distance but stayed alert and friendly.

And then came the yellow mare.

100 MPH racing through the fields with her best friend, an equally goofy TB mare.

They circled us, tossing their heads, making sure we properly admired their wild mustang impersonations.

The couple who owns the C&S ranch call them "The Cheerleaders."

They are beautiful to watch and although I try not to humanize them, they seem awfully vain. And prissy.

I opened the arena gate and they all flowed in.

Have you ever noticed how horses will gather their forces and just blast into any open gate they can find?

Cattle on the other hand stop cold, and stand in a giant, solid clump, staring at the opening as if it's leading them to the pits of hell.

Anyway, the herd willingly ran into the arena and stood around staring at us, a communal, "What's up?" on their faces.

Worming was what was up.

Leland, the unbroke, barely handled 2-year-old stood quiet when I caught him, took his wormer like a champ and hung out for a few seconds to get a wither scratch. I'm starting to really like him.

"He's really sweet," my Mother said.

Loki smelled the wormer and began her rapid fire head toss. She stood quiet but had her head slinging around like a nut job.

I stuck my finger in the corner of her mouth, pulled tight and hung on until she sighed, relaxed and let me worm her.

"Does the wormer taste bad?" My mother asked.

"I don't think so, Loki quit her nonsense as soon as I got the wormer in. I'm pretty sure squirting the wormer in is some kind of insult. I've never quite figured it out," I said.

The entire time I'm doing this the yellow peril was flitting around, coming up behind me to nose my back, spinning and taking off, circling up, nosing Loki, biting Leland, trying to pull the lead rope off my arm, you get the picture.

I bet you guys thought my horses had manners didn't ya? Well, most of them do.

When it was the yellow butt head's turn she trotted up to me, neck arched, knee action waaaay too high for a respectable AQHA quarter horse.

I scratched her neck, went to tie her halter and she sniffed at some wormer on my knee.


She was gone.

She tossed her head, bucked to the moon and tore around the arena.

I swung the lead rope at her and chased her around some, waiting for her to decide to quit.

She finally stopped, looked at me and waited.

As any of you round pen guys know, this is usually a good time to catch a horse. It's a clear signal telling me she's ready to listen.

Unless of course the horse is screwing with you.

I prefer my horses wait for me to come up and catch them. I don't ask them to come to me. I don't mind a friend coming over to say "Hi" like Loki did. But when they're being enough of a goober to need to be worked before I can catch them I want them to wait for me to approach.

I was two steps from Pumpkin-head before she looked at me like I was a pit viper and took off. Now she was trotting a big lofty trot, her tail curled over her back like a husky and her head waving back and forth like, well, a smart-ass.

So I worked her around some more. The arena is a good sized one so I had to do some running. I was glad I've taken up jogging again, I'd of died out there if I hadn't been.

It went something like this, swing my rope, sawdust-for-brains takes off and heads for the gate along the rail. I sprint across the short side, swing my rope, turn her and send her down the other side and stop to catch my breath.

Blond and beastie circles around and bolts for the gate, I race to head her off, turn her and send her down to the other side.

"She keeps kicking at you," my mother says.

"No,she's not really kicking at me," I told her.

"See how she keeps her legs tucked in? She's just sassing me."

"How are you going to catch her?" Now my Mom was gently stroking the end of Lelands nose.
She smiled at him while he carefully sniffed her coat.

"He sure is pretty," Mom said.

"Oh, I'll catch her," I replied between ragged gasps.

I staggered down the arena and Bomb-shell Barbie pricked her ears and looked pretty.

I was right. Two more goes around the arena and she stopped next to me, put her head down and waited for the halter.

Her eyes crackled with the fun of it all.

I got even. I wormed her.

She spit half of it out.

I scooped it up, dirt and all, and stuffed it in her mouth.

The yellow beast chewed at the wormer-mud-ball and swallowed. She had a deep inward, thoughtful look on her face. Then she turned and sniffed my hands. With a quick lick she cleaned the rest of the wormer off my muddy fingers.

I scratched her neck and rubbed her forehead. She leaned into me and let me wrap my arms around her neck. She stretched up and rested her head on top of mine for just a second.

When I let her go she spun off and and bolted, one last kick and a fart daring me to catch her again.

"You always like the wild ones," Mom said.

As we drove out my mother looked back at the horses.

"I like that one."

Her eyes were soft as she looked at Leland.

Madonna ran with us all the way to the gate.


Lara said...

Love it! Sounds just like worming my horses. The well behaved mass and the butt head stand offs.

badges blues N jazz said...

Haha... Little miss Blondie sounds like my jazz - AKA DIVA!

stilllearning said...

Boy, you painted a perfect picture, Mom and all. Felt like I was there, except standing at the rail, chuckling...(sympathetically, of course).

kel said...

I think I agree with your mom...I like Leland too

It must be a palomino mare thing... I have one that I call "Princess Bailey" or "It's all about me Bailey". She has been a drama queen, diva, and princess from day one.

phaedra96 said...

I ruin all their fun. They are wormed when they have their feet trimmed. I guess if they are going to have a bad day; might as well do it right! They have no options. Of course, they also have an extra leaf of hay for coming in and apples in their grain pans just because.

Joy said...

"Now she was trotting a big lofty trot, her tail curled over her back like a husky and her head waving back and forth like, well, a smart-ass"

AHAHA!snort! AHAHAHAHA! I could totally envision this scene.

mlks said...

Oh my god. BEEN THERE. She sounds like a rockstar, though--worth the extra mile or ten on foot. And she is gorgeous (assuming that's her in the pic at the top of the post).

HorsesAndTurbos said...

That's Starlette...PrimaDonnaDiva I call her! She'll even chew at me and then take of! I can tell she wants to play "chase" when she actually runs into the riding area so I can trap her inside!

These horses!

AareneX said...

I am so comforted to know that other people have horses who are toads.

I rode and worked a friend's horse for 8 years. He never quit being a toad. I cried when I gave him back. He ran in circles around me and refused to be caught so I could give him a going-away carrot. I gave it to his arch-enemy, who came right up to me and asked politely. Hah.

DarcC said...

Great story, and exceptionally well-written.

Anonymous said...

OMG. What have I done? I've gone and bought one of the blond beasties. Is this what I have to look forward to? I thought I was buying a broke-to-death-trained-to-death cow horse. Is it too late to back out? Peg

Becky said...

I got even. I wormed her.

She spit half of it out.

I scooped it up, dirt and all, and stuffed it in her mouth.

LOVED IT. I laughed out loud so hard at this line that I scared the baby and made him cry.

And then your little turd licked it off your hands. CLASSIC.

Adventures of a Horse Crazed Mind said...

You are too funny! Great story.

I have never thought much about how a horse kicks and what each means in horse language (when the kick is directed at me)... but I guess they have all sorts of different kicks they use in the herd.... my favorite is the bundled up flirty kick a mare gives...that and the squeel that goes with it.

Sydney said...

What a turd. The ladies at this one barn I work at looked at me like I had 3 eyes when I told them to chase their horses when they ran from them. Sure you can spend hours following your horse or you can spend 5 minutes chasing the crap out of them so they think about running away from you next time. I ain't got time for the games their horses play with them. They all come to me now when I get to the gate.
My own are awesome for worming. I tried this new "natural" wormer. The fecal count was way down compared to chemical wormer and my horses were really excited when I came with the bottle to give it to them (since it's a 5 days on, 5 days off 5 days on and your done for 3 months deal) Indigo especially thought it was a treat but then again shes the horse that lets you stick the wormer in her mouth and doesnt even loll her tongue.

Muriel said...

Thanks so much for this hilarious post. Don't you love mares. Being the proud owner of two princesses, I mean mares. I could recognise every single behaviours LOL

Thanks for makin me laught. It is 7:26 am here, I am starting the day laughting!!!

Funder said...

Your writing is steadily improving, Mugs. Awesome story; I really felt like I was there too!

Cycle said...

I loved this story.. your mom and Leland are so sweet, I'd love to see a picture of Leland!

Tammy said...

Enjoyed this one. Made me miss my mom.

Jayke said...

I love the way you compare and contrast Leland and the yellow mare, Diva vs Laid Back Boy. I've been lucky enough to own horses that fit both descriptions, you had me laughing the whole way through! Your alternate names for your mare were especially amusing. Keep it up! Love your stories.

B said...

I swear, this MUST be a palomino mare thing! That's my mare, carbon copied! How very strange. She's such a princess that under saddle, she will completely ignore my aids and pose for a camera. I have no idea how the hell she knows what a camera is, but she'll strike a pose no matter what we're doing.

fernvalley01 said...

Is it a pally thing ? hubbies mare has unfortunately begun to respond to a growled Whoa B*tch" as she puuls a similar stunt every time . till i growl the "words " she then drops her head in the halter like nothing ever happened

lopinon4 said...

Wonderfully composed, as usual! I always get so excited to see when you've posted a new story! I sure can relate to the premise of today's story...and it made me miss my mom, too.

gtyyup said...

Isn't she just Miss Attitude...glad she's yours 'n not mine! When I go to buy a horse, I always tell myself don't by for color...or pretty...there's a good reason!

Shadow Rider said...

It's golden girl thing, my daughter's buckskin mare is the same way, if a bit slower since she is 20 now. If you have her halter, she is totally miss manners. But if you give her an opening, like not tying her properly, or not shutting her door completely and latching it, she will nose it open and take off for the far corner of the pasture. She drops her butt and scoots like she was running barrels, tossing her head the whole way. Eventually she will come back in, but not before you have quartered the pasture after her. She only does this to my daughter, for me she is an angel, LOL!

HorsesAndTurbos said...

My mare's a dark bay, but she has alot of pally from her dam's side ;)

autumnblaze said...

:) Great story. Luckily my boy takes his wormer like a champ, but I've fought those sorts of battles many times with other peoples critters or for oral meds (which DO taste nasty).

I dunno... I like the attitude too for some reason. I like knowing they have a thought or two of their own and are playful. Though, I like Leland too, just because he's friendly doesn't mean he's dull either. Something though about a mare with some spice... makes me smile.

My word verification is 'yesses' ... which is how I feel about the post. Many nods, smiles and yes, sounds just like so and so :)

mugwump said...

mlks - Yes, that's my girl.

Anonymous said...

I can't beging to tell you how much I enjoy your blog.

Reading it is like spending quality time with a long time friend.

You make everything so real, I swore I caught a whiff of the fart......

and I'm in love with Leland.

Heidi the Hick said...

Oh there's one in every crowd/ herd.

I hate to say it... I decided after Champ died that I wasn't going to mess with any more crazy horses, and it would be all nice mellow headed horses from now on... but my heart speeds up with excitement when I read this.

It's nice to finally hear more about your Madonna.

I think it's great for you and Mom to have a little day together too.

RuckusButt said...

I can't help but think Leland is like the guy you want to marry and madonna is like the exciting, semi-dangerous guy you know isn't all that good for you but you can't help falling for anyway :) How lucky to have one of each!

Like everyone else, I can't get enough of your stories! I feel like I'm right there, every time.

Thank you for sharing more of your world and especially Madonna. I've missed seeing her face on the EI blog!

mocharocks said...

She sounds like quite the character! I miss the photo of her that was on the EI blog too. The expression on her face in that photo is spectacular, quite stunning!

Horses are our Lives said...

The very same thing happened to me as I went to worm my stud last week. Off he went, Kicking and running, but he was in the round pen, so I didn't have as much work as you to keep him moving. He finally started sweating, and decided to stop running, and look at me. He even dropped his head into the halter. He has been fighting and head tossing lately, at worming time, but that day, he stood still! lol

DeeDee ( said...

Mugs, FInally got my husband to read your post (on his NEW droid). He read outloud and took forever between laughing so many tears in his eyes he had to stop reading.
Great intro to more horse stuff. He loves our laid back boy. Sure loved your story and use of language. Hurray to the Cheer leaders! DeeDee

Anonymous said...

I love the way you write :) I always look forward to a new post by you.

HorseOfCourse said...

I just loved this post, Mugs.
To me, it was one of your best.
Horses have humor, and I laughed out loud when reading!

I can't help myself, but I love the rascals.
The ponysmart ones that won't let an opportunity pass by, or the spirited ones that pretends to be scared (or show around) just to get some extra entertainment.
You can get mad on them sometimes, but you sure get many laughs too!

Our horses are wonderful.
I think your mare was just going to squeeze out as much entertainment as possible out of this break from a more laid-back life on the pasture.
I hope you get the other two settled because it sounds like she is ready for work!
She is a beautiful horse.
Sounds like she is aware of it too...I bet she is one that will do well at shows.
All light on me, please!

mugwump said...

HOC- When I enter the show pen on her I have to be ready to ride, she really draws the eye.
For someone who always wants to show in all beige (the better to fade into the dust)this horse is a tough one.

quietann said...

ah. yes. palomino mares.

Mine is a princess. Luckily, she's a mostly well-behaved princess, no longer an "ice princess" as she was when I got her.

But how can she help it, when just about every person's reaction to her is "OMG, she's beautiful, how old is she, what breed is she, how long have you owned her, can I pet her, do her breeders have more like her... ????"

Anonymous said...

I really think you could take these and publish a book of short stories. Sonita, Mort and all the others. I would certainly buy it and I know many that would. Hmm, it would make a really good gift for the Horsaii friends too.

Just do it!!!

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