Category Archives: Humor

The Horse Trailer With The Broken Heart

All of us who have ever had loading issues, this missive is for us.  Thank you, Michael Johnson!

Throwing My Loop…

By:  Michael Johnson

  The Horse Trailer With The Broken Heart
(Part Two)

     When we last left Michael, he was sitting in the trailer with his head in his hands wondering if Blue would ever load in the trailer again.  He was at that place in life where we all are sometimes.  When we are on the edge of the precipice – certainly not wanting to jump off…but wondering if there is any other option. 

     I’m staring at Blue and he’s staring at me.  We’re at the back door of the trailer.  Nothing on him but his halter.  I’m sitting on the floor of the trailer facing him with my feet on the ground.  He’s in front of me staring back.  His head is low and even with mine about a foot away, and we are staring…looking for all the world just like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef in one of those old spaghetti westerns.  Standoff!  All we need is some strange music in the background.  We’ve been out here for days.  (Well, not straight.  Actually, while it has been days, it’s more like three or four hours most days.)
I’m over the flag-waving, put pressure on him, rope-around-his-butt thing.  Nothing is working and my heart is filled with negative certainty that nothing is going to work.
“Would you go in the trailer?” I asked him again.
Blue looks away.
Where to turn?  What to do?  Mystery.  Then this thought comes…
“Why won’t he go in the trailer?” the little voice says.
“Why won’t he go in the trailer?  Why don’t you ask him?”
“Why won’t you go in the trailer, Blue?” I ask him, realizing I had never stopped long enough to think about or even consider that question.
“Well, I’ll tell you, Pop,” said Blue, “It was a mouse.  A mouse scared me.  Or maybe it was  hornet…or maybe a grass snake inna’ twailer one day.  Or maybe it was because you stopped too quick when we wuz widin’ down na’ woad, and I bumped my nose, or you took a curve too fast and it scared me.  Maybe you didn’t cool me down enough after working and I had a cramp.”
“Well, that didn’t do me any good at all,” I said in frustration to the voice.
“Yes, it did,” said the voice.  “Asking that caused you to think about why.”
“I still can’t load, Blue,” I said.
“You never could,” said the voice.
“What?  Of course I could.  I loaded him for twelve years!”
“You did not.  You never loaded him in your life or in his,” said the voice.  “And you still can’t.”
“So what do I do now?”
“Sit down,” said the voice.  “Take a load off.  Be still.  Think,”
So sitting on the trailer floor staring at Blue, I began to think. 

     And I thought about… 

     When the horse won’t load, we all do the same thing.  We get nervous. Our mind turns to fear that we might now be late because of this delay.  (We get in exactly the same frame of mind we do when the plane is going down.)  After all, we must be on time for the (insert here) barrel racing, cutting, team penning, roping, or trail ride.  We must arrive before the event starts.  Even if we are finished with the event and the horse won’t load, we might – God forbid – be late getting home.  The moment we see the horse failing to load…we get in a hurry.  We need to load that horse right now!  And that is all we think about.  That creates resistance.
But thank goodness there is always someone there who “knows how” to load the horse.  He lives in every town and he has many names.  In my town, his name is “Mad Dog.” I like Mad.  He’s my neighbor.  I think he means well, but the problem is Mad Dog knows everything under the stars.  He knows about politics and the local school board, lake levels,  what America oughta’ do in the Middle East, and everything else.  And he most of all, he knows how to load a horse.  (The fact that none of Mad’s horses ever load well goes completely unnoticed.)  When our horse won’t load, Mad Dog is always around and he takes command immediately.
“Okay, now,” he says in a loud voice.  “I’ll take the horse up here by the trailer and all of you get behind him.  Okay, now start walking toward him…that’s it.  Put some pressure on him.  Harold Wayne, you pop him on the butt there with that quirt if he won’t go in.  We have to load him ‘cause if he won’t load right now, he won’t ever go in the trailer again until the Lord himself comes back to take us all home.  That horse will learn he doesn’t have to do what we say, and we surely don’t want him to learn that!”  Then everybody begins marching toward the horse like a platoon of Roman soldiers and we have a 30 to 45 minute fight with the horse.  Once done – if we get done – everybody is sweaty, nervous, and mad.  And we know the maddest one of all…the horse.
Of course the reason I know such much about all this is because I’ve done all those things more than anybody.  I’ve used pressure, force, rope-around -the butt, paddles with rattles, sticks, quirts, yelling, waving arms, and whacking with a rope countless times.  But on this day, I continued to wonder why?  Why did I ever do all that?  And the thought came again…why was Blue doing what he was doing?  Why would a horse do something so willingly for over a decade and then suddenly refuse to do it?
Who knows?” said the voice. “It’s not important!  What is important is that we wonder WHY?”
As I kept sitting there on that trailer floor thinking, I became aware of the strangest thing… I was no longer focused on loading Blue.
And I began to see I had never loaded Blue – never in my life. 
Blue always loaded himself

     And then the most painful thought of all came – and it really bothered me.
“Mad Dog’s not here.  Oh my.  Oh my.  I am.”
“THERE YOU GO, BUBBA!” shouted the little voice. 

     “Let’s go the barn, Blue,” I said to him.  Once there, I filled the bucket with feed.  Back to the trailer we went.  Standing.  Staring.  And I said, “Blue Man, if you will put one foot on this trailer floor, I will give you a bite of this feed.”  For 27 minutes, Blue stood still as a stone.  I knew he was coming.  I knew it in the bottom of my soles and in the bottom of my soul.  For the whole time, I knew he was coming.  How?  Why?  Because I stopped trying to load him, and made sure he wasn’t afraid – like I did long ago. I gave him all the time in the world and just wanted him to know I loved him so.
And Blue said, “Are you kiddin,’ Pop?  I want the whole bucket!”
    And then…my precious Blue walked up in the trailer with me. 

     I looked outside.  The sun was shining.  Kinda’ warm for January.
Such a cute day. 

“But what do I do?” 

“I don’t know.  Use all that love you have for him.”

                                                           –Greg Dial
Horse Trainer
Lampasas, Texas

— Michael Johnson 

Michael and the Blue Man.

Riding Warehouse
Your purchase with Riding Warehouse through this link helps the Bucket Fund!

Supporting The Bucket Fund through Amazon Smile
Please choose HORSE AND MAN, INC when you shop via Amazon Smile through this link.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

Is There Anyone Close to You Who Just Doesn’t Understand the Animal Thing? Sigh. Me, too.

(THIS BLOG ORIGINALLY POSTED IN APRIL OF 2010.  This year, my husband’s family came for Thanksgiving to the new house.  All of them had a great time and were extremely pleasant, but none spent any time outdoors.  So interesting…)


My Mother was here for the last few days.

Me with mature Gwen

Sadly, she never has and never will get the “animal thing”.  Every time she is here, I get the proverbial, “Why so many horses?” and “How do you get all that hair off of ______ (fill in the blank)…?

Actually, her resolve for most all of my problems… broken refrigerator, unfinished basement, property tax bill due, dry skin and need of a root canal can all be traced back to “If you just got rid of all of these animals, your life would be easier.”

Well, it bothers me that my Mother will never understand my love for animals.  However, I know that our philosophies are just different.  For her, animals mean work and a mess and they cost money.  For me, animals mean work and a mess and they cost money.  But, our opinions of that are completely different.  Do you know what I mean?

First off, I’m not going to chide my Mother for her views.  She is right.  Animals are work, they are messy and they do cost money.

And, I’m not going to be upset (well, maybe a little) if she will never come to terms with my regard for animals.

But today, in deference and reference to my Mother, I want to put to paper why I have animals.


Me with Ava (Mamma Tess in the background)

I just wrote that header and I found my fingers pausing.  I have to think about this.  Why do I have animals?  Hmmmm.

I think it is different for each kind of animal.  But, the main reason is because their personalities and thought processes are very engaging to me.  You see, I find the personalities of humans engaging, too, but humans aren’t as honest as animals.  Humans don’t always tell the truth.  Animals cannot hide the truth.  I like that.

I like that they are honest in who they are and honest in presenting who they are.

Of course, there are dishonest horses (we all have met one), but they aren’t dishonest in their honesty, if that makes sense.  You KNOW a horse is dishonest so you watch him more closely.  Perhaps the word, “dishonest” is not appropriate for those types of horses.  Perhaps, “avoidance opportunistic” is more appropriate.  Dunno.  Anyway, what I am saying is that I think I love animals because I love their truth.  (Actually, I think it would be great if humans would pin their ears when they were upset…  but human body language isn’t so obvious, is it?)


Me training teenage Gwen

Well, since this blog is about the bond between Horse and Man, I thought I would speak about horses specifically.  And, you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you don’t already have horses…  So, I guess I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know…

OK, here goes:  Horses are way bigger than us.  Yet, they let us ride them.  Why?  Would you?

No way.

I think horses are loving, willing and charitable most of the time.  I mean, think of any other animal that weighs 1200 pounds.  Would you approach it?  I wouldn’t even approach a 250 pound man!  So, I guess I feel honored that horses invite me into their circle.

For me, sitting and watching the horses interact in a group is fascinating.  They all have their personalities and their duties within the herd.  And, they are all true to that.  No ifs ands or buts in the herd.  It is what it is.  Which, I might add, is very different when you have a large gathering of women, let’s say…

Horses are consistent.

They act like they are going to act all the time.  I like that.

Me with a younger Tess and baby Ava

I like that I know that Tess will always be at the gate first.  I like that her baby always gets a kick if he gets too close to her at feeding time.  I like that my Icy filly is always just outside of kicking range but incessantly irritating since it is in her personality to push.  I love that Gwen is always the strongest, that Sam is always wild yet willing to let me approach if I do it right.

I love how Finn is goofy but sincere in his protection of Beautiful Girl.  I love that BG is sweet as can be and totally willing to let me do anything with her because she loves me best.  I admire that Remi survived as a mustang in the wild and now lives, always regally, here.  I love that Bodhi is learning from her and beholding to her.

I love both of my Shetlands… Dodger because he is like Yoda and Slick because he is relentlessly like Collin Ferrell.  Norma is so precious and so discerning that I feel privileged that she lets me love her.  And they all, always, make me feel accepted and appreciated.  Hmmmmmm.

Me recently on a friend’s mule

Is that enough to feed and house them all?  For me, absolutely.  I think of them as my outside roommates and really good friends.

I love seeing them everyday.  I love interacting with them.  And, to me, they are better than roommates since they don’t leave any messes in the house (well, kinda they do since I track in hair all the time…).

I can leave them whenever I want without explaining why.  Actually, I want to leave my horses far less than I remember wanting to leave my roommates…  But anyway, what I mean is that they GIVE to me so much more than most people have time to give.  Horses seem to want to hang out and be with you.  If you listen to them, most listen back.  If you treat them the way you want to be treated, they do the same.  Horses are honest, humorous, discerning, gentle, faithful and loving survivors which are also traits I find in all of my close human friends.  Hmmmmm.

Me with Finn


There you have it.

I love having horses because their animal traits mesh with mine.

Sure, they are hairy and messy – but so is Hubby.  Sure they cost money but everything costs something.   However you cannot put a price on what moves your heart – to me, that is priceless.

What matters is that horses give consistently more than they ever get.  I want to give back.  I want to nurture them, help them be happy and be around them as often as possible.

And, in this awful economy recently, the horses have gotten the short end of the stick.  Horses are neglected, starved and dumped in epic proportions nowadays.

So, for me, I’m just one who is trying to right the wrong, a few horses at a time.  It makes me feel good.

That is why I have horses.


JEWELRY THAT BENEFITS THE BUCKET FUND HORSES! Every donation counts! Click image to see the new pieces!

JEWELRY THAT BENEFITS THE BUCKET FUND HORSES! Every sale counts! Click image to see the new pieces!

Click here for webpage, click here for Facebook!


Riding Warehouse
Your purchase with Riding Warehouse through this link helps the Bucket Fund!

Supporting The Bucket Fund through Amazon Smile
Please choose HORSE AND MAN, INC when you shop via Amazon Smile through this link.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!