By Ada Lang
For the record, I have always been a sucker for the under dog. Or maybe I should say, the under canary......and now, the under horse. Plus, I hate bullies.
Exhibit A: The collie I saw on the side of I-85, a multi-lane highway near Charlotte. It was getting dark. I had a three hour drive ahead of me. When I saw her, I went to the next exit, turned around and made my way back. She was eating roadkill but I lured her into my car with a 3-year-old granola bar I found in the glove box. She slept all the way home. She thanked me for saving her a few days later by presenting me with five puppies.
Exhibit B: When I was a youngster, we went to a canary store. Yes, in Spain, they have canary stores. I spotted the forlorn little canary sitting on the floor of the cage. I had to have THAT one. We took it home and within hours he turned out to be 1) a she, 2) not so much the forlorn little canary and 3) in fact, quite the little canary trollop.
Exhibit C: When I lived in North Carolina, I looked out my dining room window one day and saw a group of kids walking standing out in the street. One boy kept knocking another boy’s books out of his arms and onto the ground. Papers flying everywhere. When he would gather his things and stand back up, the bully would knock them down again.
I ran out of the house yelling. I helped the boy gather his things and asked the bully if he would like me to do the same to his books? No? Good. I warned him that if I saw anything like that again, I’d follow him home and tell his parents. After that, no more problems. Sweet waves from the rescued boy and his little sister every afternoon.
Greg says this should have all been a warning to him. But, it is too late now.
So, it came as no surprise that when some tenants we had at our trailer in Chiefland were traveling a lot for work, I offered to help take care of Bill, the horse. Roxanne was afraid of horses but she had bought him because his previous owner was pregnant and not riding any longer. She kept him as a companion because her boyfriend was gone a lot. Plus the dog she rescued - Snoopy.
When money got worse and they had to move out, I had been taking care of Bill on a regular basis. We agreed that I would take him, on the condition that if I ever didn’t want him again, I would give him back to Roxanne. Bill is about 12 years old, a QuarterHorse/Thoroughbred mix and super mellow. A great horse for a novice like me. Up until then, I had spent maybe six hours in a saddle over my entire 49 years.
So, I moved Bill to Cypress Station where he lazed around with Thunder, the pony and Isabella, the goat. He never wanted to leave them to ride because they would cry when I took him out. One of the visiting grandkids started calling him Gillbert. When Thunder and Isabella went back to their original owner, I moved Bill to another place where he gets to see other horses more regularly and there is easy access to riding trails.
Now, his feet and coat are looking great. He stuffs his face with grass all day and with sweet feed, alfalfa, carrots and peppermint candies all night. He lets me clean his feet and put stuff on the soles to make them less tender, so he won’t stumble. I scored the deal-of-the-century on a used saddle at a tack yard sale but he is such a sweet horse that you can ride him bareback and without a bit - just a rope halter.
When I haven’t spent enough quality time with him, he shows his displeasure by turning away from me and not letting me pet him. After he has made that point, he then sticks his face in my face, so I will be forced to kiss him on his nose and rub his chin. I’m usually sitting in a chair when that happens. Reading a book with one hand and rubbing his chin with another as he stand towering over me until he decides he has had enough.
So, there you go. My latest underdog. The 1,000 pound horse that I renamed BillBert. So, if were wondering why my Mini-Cooper smells like manure and has hay stuck in the carpet, now you know.
Ada Lang is the former office manager for the Williston Pioneer and now a reporter for the Cedar Key Beacon.