Guest Author - Susan Hopf
Murphy's law states that if something can go wrong - it, undoubtably, will.
After 28 years in the horse business you would think that I would know better than to meander down to the barn, in the dark, dressed to kill in an expensive frock and 4 inch heels and procede to turn the horses out to pasture. But alas thinking was the last thing on my mind and this valuable lesson was learned the hard way.
It was a late summer night – horses in during the day with fans ablowin. Home late from a party – tired, perhaps a little too much wine – grabbed the dogs and down to the barn I went – without changing into some sensible shoes – bad idea – very bad idea!
Horses were all anxious – there was skunk on the breeze and I was late. First horse out with no problem, second the same – the third did not care for the rustle of my skirt and almost pulled out of my hand – but once he ascertained that I did not have a giant hissing snake wrapped around my body out he went with no further incident. The fourth horse – by way of the “horsy precognitive network” – had received the usual warning from the third not to trust the snake-wrapped lady and his behavior was even worse – more appropriate for a dragon wrapped around my waist and not just a 20-foot snake. In a lovely shoulder-in/half-pass he waltzed sideways – first away from me – then into me in what I can only guess was an effort to smash the snake/dragon from my body. That failing to provide relief from the constant hissing/swishing sound of crushed crepe rubbing against hose (as well as from the stubble of erratically shaven legs) the rest of the 60-foot journey found us exploring the appropriate aids for the courbette. When we at last made it to the gate – he with both of his shoes on and me with – well one and half left actually on my feet – out he ran in a cloud of dust and frustration. I spit out the dust and sighed relieved that he, Luke - the spookiest horse on earth, was the last for this pasture.
The next group I assumed was waiting patiently for the usual half a minute it takes to reenter the barn and start the process for the next pasture’s order of turn out. Since that alloted time had already passed I was not surprised to hear them banging on the walls – unfortunately as I reached to replace what I now refer to as “those toe crunching, ankle twisting straps of torturous evil” I discovered that my skirt was caught on the gate handle. With no flashlight with which to see how to dislodge the fragile material from the hard steel clip the, now screaming mares awaiting their release from their prison cells, had an even longer wait in store. I twisted the fabric first one way then the other and only made the knot tighter. The group already in pasture was waiting for a fresh drink from the trough but were too worried about the lady/snake thingie that was hanging onto their gate so they all, instead of quietly drinking, kept sticking their faces into the water and running off – but not without a good splash of green spit sprinkled in my direction first and of course with the force only a spooking and snorting horse can muster. “Green horse drool – the new in-color for the summer season”.
Working diligently on freeing my skirt I barely noticed that one mare had loosed herself and was making her way into the hay field – once aware of this I decided that enough was enough! I tore at the fabric with all of my might – the filmy, thin, piece of c*#! gave way long before I reached the full point of exertion so of course I wound up flat on my back in a small puddle created by the dumping of foul water from the trough earlier in the day.
I lay there panting, wishing I had never taken that first pony ride at Coney Island so very long ago and hoping that the mare that just brushed passed me with a tail flaggin gallop would come back soon and let the rest of the horses out. Well that did not happen but come back she did – she being my very personable Welsh/QH cross Sandra. She bent slowly down and deposited a great big sloppy kiss right on my mouth with a look on her very sweet face that said it all…”whacha doing down there in the mud with all them purty clothes on??”
Well that was the question of the night – wasn’t it!!??
I reached out a hand and she helped me up. I handed her a shoe (aka “those toe crunching, ankle twisting straps of torturous evil”) and she gave it a good toss as I did so with the other. I limped and stumbled across the stone of the parking lot but I liked it – anything but those shoes – and stuffed my feet into one of my boarder's winter boots – dead mouse included – again I liked it better than the thought of putting those shoes back on – even just left the mouse right in there – and managed to get the remainder of the horses out without incident.
Dogs and I returned to the house where hubby was sound asleep and snoring. I punched him in the arm – he sort of woke up – and I asked if he wondered what was taking so long – with half a raised lid he grumbled into his pillow – “oh were you gone?” I punched him again, brushed my teeth, and fell into bed – yes with all them purty clothes (mud, slobber and rips) still on – that’ll teach him – yes indeedy that’ll teeeeeeeaaa – snoreeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.