February 2015 - Horsey Humor
Written by Bob Goddard
Wednesday, 04 February 2015 02:43

Grass Grabber

by Bob Goddard

As our riding Sensei leads the group out on the trail, I make sure I take up the rear. It’s more relaxing in the back of the line. With no decisions to make, Goldie and I amble along, effortlessly matching the pace of the horse in front of us. My mind drifts.

Suddenly, I’m jolted from my reverie and a command is issued from the front of the line.

“Don’t let her do that!”

Like any good riding Sensei, Karin has special powers and this includes rear-view vision. But I’m not ready to admit anything. Rear-view vision can be iffy. So I bluff to reinforce any doubts she may be having.

“Don’t let her do what?”

“Don’t let her eat grass!”

Ah. Grass. I respond with the innocent by reason of obliviousness defense.

“What grass?’

But like the kid with chocolate icing all over her face who No Way ate the donut, Goldie gives us away with the long blades of field grass dangling from her bit. It’s kind of like eating with your retainer in.

The Sensei has seen all with clarity and it’s time to recant. I offer this excuse:

“She’s sneaky, Karin.”

I’m addressing the left side of Karin’s face, as she half-turns in the saddle. Her right side is watching the trail in front of us. Even from thirty-five feet away I can see the vague shake of her head that tells me she’s not impressed with my explanation. So I offer a little padding:

“She got it in her mouth before I knew it. She’s sneaky and fast. I just sort of looked down and there…”

“Who’s in charge?” Karin heard enough padding.

I sighed. “You are.”

“No. Who’s in charge between you and Goldie?”

Oh, that. We’ve had this conversation many times. I think Karin is still a little confused about it. Goldie and I have a very complex relationship, complete with sophisticated subtleties and refined nuances. It’s an advanced form of equestrianism. Revolutionary, really. I created it.

“We’re like a committee of two, Karin. We sort of decide things together.”

“You need to make her listen to you. Remember: use as much force as necessary and as little force as necessary.”

Interesting. I’ll have to sort out the logic on that when I get home. I’ll need pen and paper in order to see it. Maybe I’ll even be able plug it into my revolutionary system.

Karin continues, “Don’t get into a tug of war with her. You won’t win. Next time she does that, pull up with just one rein. And don’t play.”

“It was just a snack, Karin.”

Goldie has no idea how long we’re going to be out here. We might be gone for days!  Besides, it’s in her nature to graze.

Sensei has a different philosophy: “It’s rude behavior. That’s how she expresses her dominance. She gets to eat and you don’t.”

That’s it. I will never again walk into any horse barn without a big bag of potato chips and a carbonated beverage in my hands. And the horses can’t have any. That’ll show ‘em whose boss.

The Plotting Down Below

To be honest, I really don’t appreciate Goldie’s grass grabbing. In the first place, it wakes me up. I don’t like that. I work too hard accumulating those natural endorphins to have them obliterated in an instant by an unexpected jerk of the horse’s head. And then I get yelled at by the left side of Sensei’s face.

What really bothers me is the darn sneaky nature of the whole thing. Grass grabbing is not honorable behavior. Goldie and I are supposed to be fellow committee members and she’s plotting against me? It’s a betrayal, a violation of trust.

I think we need to infuse this relationship with a little forward motion kind of energy. I’m sure there is room in the revolutionary system for it. I know, for instance, that I am unable to eat a cookie and play volleyball at the same time. So to distract my fellow committee member from unnecessary in-between meal snacking, we can pick up the pace, keep that head high and into what we’re supposed to be doing. And if I have to lose my precious last place in line, pass a few horses on the way (with due respect to Goldie’s social dominance rank) and maybe even take the lead, than so be it.

And then Sensei can talk to the back of my head.


Freelance writer Bob Goddard lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his wife, Jenny, and assorted pets. His book is Horse Crazy! A Tongue-in-Cheek Guide for Parents of Horse-Addicted Girls. To order, and to read his humorous blog, “Bob the Equestrian,” visit www.horsecrazy.net.