Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The Great Escape
Everyone seems to love the “boys” on this blog. No, they aren't a group of Hollywood hunks with delineated pecs and abs, sweat-slick skin and chiseled faces. For those of you who are new to the blog, I'm writing about the boys who work with my horses at the barn. They are in their early twenties, going to college (doing well with their studies) and trying very hard to stay out of my way and off my radar. They’re good kids but sometimes I have some doubts about whether their mothers dropped them one too many times when they were babies.
Back in the fall I left to go eat lunch with some friends and returned later in the afternoon. As I was coming up the long driveway to my house, I noticed that Sugar (my 30 year-old palomino quarter horse) was munching grass in my front yard – outside of the fence. I immediately backed up, locked the front gate and called the barn. I managed, over the twanging of some pretty loud country music, to convey the message that A HORSE IS LOOSE. I parked the car and tried to get Sugar to understand that she needed to come with me. Now that is another tale altogether – horses don’t listen and they certainly don’t do what you want when there is thick fescue involved. I don’t put halters on the pasture horses because there are too many dangers involved, like getting hung on objects and breaking their necks. There was no way for me to catch her and, standing there in my good clothes, all I could do was wait patiently for the boys to get there.
I heard the four-wheeler crank up and there they came, one riding shotgun behind the other, exploding from the barn in all their mechanized glory. Why they always need the four-wheeler constantly escapes me. Can’t they just walk the few hundred feet instead of involving some internal combustion engine? Nothing on this place can be done unless it involves machinery, at least that’s what the boys think. The boy riding shotgun held a halter in his hand and was already waving it at Sugar as they came barreling down the hill from the barn. I wanted to tell them that noise from the four-wheeler combined with waving and shouting at the horse wouldn’t help the situation but I remained silent, not wishing to contribute to the cacophony or disabuse them of their idea of being able to sneak up on a horse over the roar of the engine. Sugar continued munching grass, one eye on the boys, until they got near her. As soon as they came within a few feet of her, she tossed her head and ran. Now, I could have told them that she would do that but what was the point. I gave them the cut engine sign, i.e. swiping my hand across my throat, and proceeded to tell them to get off the four-wheeler. Both of them crawled off the monster and gave me their patented deer-in-the-headlight looks. I was informed that all the horses knew the sound of the four-wheeler and they had no idea the horse would run. Yeah, right, I gave them my patented you’re-brain-damaged look and told them to catch the horse – on foot. I heard grumbling but they went after the horse, sending longing looks at their four-wheeled steed. I stood for about fifteen minutes watching them creep up on Sugar only to have her toss her head, give them a jeer and run to the other end of the yard. After a while it became clear to me that this was becoming a game to her. Let them get just close enough then RUN. In my high-heels, I wobbled down to the quarter horse barn, grabbed a bucket, filled it with sweet feed and wobbled back to where Sugar was cornered by the fence. She was weighing her options – run over the boys who had her trapped or run over the boys who had her trapped. I seemed to be the only one aware of Sugar’s plan because the boys continued to approach the twelve-hundred pound horse, oblivious. Seeing disaster in the making and a trip to the emergency room, I yelled at the boys to back off and proceeded to shake the bucket. Sugar cocked her head and immediately came to the bucket. As she was eating, I held out my hand for the rope, slipped it over her head and then slipped the halter on her when I could get her head out of the bucket.
The boys, grinning because they didn’t have to run any more, took possession of the horse. “But Miss Cheryl, we didn’t know she’d come to the feed” was the first comment I got from them. I gave them the you’re-brain-damaged look and wobbled back to my car. Sugar, who has been known to kill for sweet feed, gave me a look over the shoulders of the boys that said “yeah, they are stupid but fun.”
Can someone out there explain to me why men and boys have to use internal combustion engines with everything they do? I would really like to know. No work can be accomplished unless diesel or gas is involved. And yeah, even though I have been married for nearly 32 years, they still call me “Miss Cheryl.”