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By Pam Burke 

View from the North 40: Just leave the prima donnas at home


September 8, 2017

All I’m saying is that it’s a good thing it’s not against the law — legally, biblically or otherwise — to covet thy neighbor’s horse, or I would’ve been busted last week — thrown in the hoosegow, tossed out the pearly gates or otherwise had my birthday taken away.

I’d forgotten what it’s like to have broke horses around and, honestly, I’ve never had a really seasoned horse, so towing a couple of no-nonsense campaigners under less than ideal conditions was better than a box of Wilcoxson’s chocolate-chocolate ice cream sandwiches. In fact, I was so grateful I was hauling this pair of horses rather than any of my pack of over-privileged prima donnas, that it was better than an ice cream truck full of Wilcoxson’s. Which is high praise from me.

With all the stops to let the hubs cool, it took two hours to drive about 40 miles, in 90-plus degree heat, hauling two horses that weren’t my own in a horse trailer that wasn’t mine. This, actually, is one of my top 10 nightmare situations, ranked right after the one about being naked in public. The only thing that would’ve pushed this higher in the nightmare scale rankings would be if I were, somehow, having this trouble in a country where no one speaks English.

I was having to drive slowly down the highway and pull over at a convenient stop to pour water on the two hot hubs and wait for 15 minutes, patiently checking the time every 21 to 57 seconds, muttering curses every time I saw the clock numbers not changing and saying things like, “Gah!” “Oh, for cryin’ out loud,” and “What the — ? Grraaghpffrawp.”

The horses stood quietly in their little metal box on wheels, only getting shade at one of the stops, but never complaining or fidgeting. They were just happy to be standing around doing nothin’, resting, having some horsey faith that eventually they would stop somewhere that had a bit of food, maybe some water, please and thank you.

We got home and settled in and my horses were, like, “What’re they doing here — that’s our corral. We have to have less space to ourselves because of them? Is that our feed? I just saw you pet them and give them oats. It’s been for, like, ever since I’ve seen even one oat and they each got a whole half-a-scoop? I hate you!”

I know it would have been a much different trip with my herd on board the trailer, provided I could’ve gotten them loaded in the first place. It would’ve gone down like this:

“No. I don’t like horse trailers. That trailer smells like strangers. Just give me 60 minutes to look around and sniff this thing over. Gah! OK, I’m ready to take one step forward. No, wait! Nope, I’m not. (three hours later) Fine, I’m in. Are you happy now? Wait. I’m alone in here! Why are my friends just standing out there looking in and sniffing? I’m being kidnapped. Aaaaaaah! If I just keep thrashing around, I can pull myself free!!” (Three hours later, everyone is loaded, I’m bleeding from somewhere.)

Then it’d be: “Are we there yet? It’s hot in here. Is this actually an oven? Can’t you drive faster? A bug is touching me. I need water. She’s touching me. It’s too bouncy back here! Oh, for crying out loud, when will this torture be oooverrrr?”

Followed by: “Is this where you’re keeping me? It’s OK big-wise, but where’s my shelter? There’re bugs here. Aaack! Don’t spray me with repellent, just stand there and fan them off me. How come there isn’t alfalfa in my grass hay? My food is just scattered on the ground and that other horse’s foot just touched it. I can’t eat that now. The automatic waterer scares me, bring me a trough of water I can spill. What the — only a half-a-scoop of oats each? Um, just so we’re clear here, you’re OK with this level of animal cruelty, aren’t you. Grraaghpffrawp!”


For the record, I’m not a prima donna, I’m just sensitive at pam@viewfromthenorth40.com.


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