(A few of you have asked me to re-post this so today is the day! Originally posted 1/07/2011)
THANK GOD HORSES CAN’T CHEW GUM.
This thought came into my head today.
You probably would like to know how this ridiculous thought came about, right? Well, I’ll tell you…
I was sleep-walking through my regular feeding routine this morning when I heard the familiar sound of the fence boards moaning. Wrigley, my coming 3 year-old, was clamoring against the barn gate and sticking his giraffe neck waaaaay far over the invisible manners barrier to grab at the flake in my arms.
Me: Hey! You Backup!
W: “Make me.”
Me: Huh? Is my babywoogiegoogie giving Mama attituuuuude?
Me: Alright, Alright, you just need to back up now, enough of this.
W: MAKE ME.
He just stood there. Insolent. I swear he had that 14 year-old human boy smirk that makes you want to slap him and giggle at the same time. I knew right then that it was ON.
We stood there, squared like Wyatt Earp and Ike Clanton, eyeing each other with guns in our holsters. I wasn’t moving and he wasn’t moving. It was a Morgan/Human standoff. I knew he couldn’t win, especially at this age when he would take that victory to the bank and never respect me again. So, I didn’t blink and he didn’t either. I could smell his breath. He could probably smell coffee on mine. But, neither of us wavered.
It was right about now that I enlisted the help of his dam. Without moving a muscle, I ventriloquisted my request to Tess, my dear friend and patron of the ‘Baddest Mare Out There’ style of discipline.
Me: Tess, couldya help me here? (I say without moving a lip…)
Tess: “Huh? I cannot hear you. Could you enunciate a bit more?”
Me: Tess! Help me here!
Tess: “Isn’t he cute?! I just love him. He’s my baby… sigh…”
Me: Tess, make him move now (I’m hissing out the side of my mouth).
Tess: “I think he takes after me, don’t you think so? He couldn’t be cuter and he is already bigger than me…”
Me: C’mon woman, reprimand your son!
Tess: “Well, he isn’t doing it to me, is he?”
This is when I had the gum idea. This is when I said to myself, while looking at his smug little mug, “all we need now is for him to blow a huge Double Bubble and then let it pop in my face” – showering horse breath all over my shrinking leadership.
Instead, I picked up a lead rope and created a helicopter blade in front of my personal space.
Me: Take that, you nasty little creature!
W: “Ahhhhhhh, OKOK, ahhhhhhhhhhh I hate that! I don’t think that is Natural Horsemanship… You’re cheating!”
Me: Well Son, here’s my Clinton Anderson DVD. I’m sure the helicopter rope whirl is on there (as I snigger like Muttley).
As I continued to feed, I imagined what kind of gum each of my horses would chew…
Finn is definitely a COOL BLAST sort of a horse. Beautiful Girl is so dainty and light on her feet, I would think she would chew half a stick of Wrigley’s Spearmint (the white wrapper). Sam, the untouchable mustang, would probably choose chaw instead. I’m sure she could spit with dead accuracy. Gwen, my Morgan bully, would have about 40 gumballs in her mouth at once although I could see her chewing Beeman’s for the bite or maybe Clove just to be different… Tess probably would refuse to chew gum – such a disgusting habit. Bodhi, Hubby’s sweet draft cross, couldn’t chew gum because he wouldn’t get anything else done. Or, if he did chew gum, he’d be contented for hours. I’m thinking his poison would be Juicy Fruit. He’d like the sweet flavor and the yellow label. Remi, the wary mustang, she’d chew Original Trident. She would want the sensible gum. No sugar, no mess, no fuss. The ponies, well, this is a problem as they would have wads of all different types of gum they’d stolen scattered about everywhere… I’m sure Slick would prefer one of those rolls of bubble gum so that he could unwind it and put it all in his mouth at once. I imagine Dodger would have a big ol’ wad of Black Jack. Or, I could also see them fighting over the different flavors of Fruit Stripe or maybe they’d hang around with bubble gum cigars, trying to look taller… Norma, dear Norma, nope, she would demur and choose a Tic Tac – the orange kind.
Well, we know Wrigley would blow bubbles every irritating second and then suck the bubbles back and crack the inside bubble against his tongue. Phhhhhhhhhooo, POP! schlluuurp, crack, Crack! Then he’d run around at a million miles an hour, trip, choke on his gum and run back to his Mom.
Gwen would wad up little, pre-chewed gumspitballs and throw them at my head until I fed her something better.
Finn would stick it all over his fence rails and Beautiful Girl would come along behind him and scrape it off, tsk tsking the whole way. I’m sure she would save the wrapping paper and delicately put hers in the paper and then probably put the neat wrapper in her empty feed bucket for me to collect.
Sam would watch everyone very carefully and as they all became totally gum distracted, she’d tippy-toe ever so lightly up to the barn and eat everyone’s food. Suckas!
Tess would spend the entire time like Lurch (Addams Family, remember?), shaking her head and muttering…
The ponies would have gum all in their hair. And, Norma would love them anyway…
Could you imagine trying to train a horse who chews gum?
“Hey, I can’t trot and chew gum at the same time, everyone knows that! Come back later.”
Couldn’t you just see it in the arena? You’re trying to impart some great horsemanship move and they’re chewing gum. Kinda ruins the whole picture, doesn’t it?
You’re grooming them and they spit it into your hair or maybe stick it on the seat of another horse’s saddle. Some of them would hide it under their tongues and then pull it out again just as the judge is walking by. Ha ha! Dressage test out the window! Could you see stopping a show because the horse got his gum caught over his bit?! What would you say to your horse? “Where did you get that, Trigger! Were you going through my purse again?!”
My favorite image in my twisted little brain was the ‘afternoon ladies who lunch mare circle’. Do you have one of those? This is where all the mares walk to their favorite place and stand there, shooting the breeze. I could see them all, chewing away as they swatted flies and told stories. And then, if they heard any unusual sound, they’d all STOP instantly, mid-chew. And then resume. That just makes me smile…
WE ARE SAFE
Of course, horses have no fingers to unwrap the gum and no pockets in which to hold it — so we are safe for now… But could you just imagine how one little thing, one little piece of rubbery stuff, could ruin the entire elegant image of the horse?!
Hmmmmm. I wonder what horses think when they see us chewing gum?
All of a sudden I got self-conscious. Did you?
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
January Drop in the Bucket Fund: The Piute Orphan Foals
To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate the the ‘Saved from Slaughter Orphan Foals’, please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)