It all makes horse (Blue Rooster McGooster) senseHave you ever received any psychiatric counseling? I do quite frequently, from my horse.
By: Kevin Holten, The Dickinson Press
Have you ever received any psychiatric counseling? I do quite frequently, from my horse.
He’s a big sorrel, quarter horse gelding, very intelligent, a hard worker, rounds up cattle well, team ropes, team pens, picks up at rodeos, rides in parades, yawns when bikers roar their engines and smirks at yapping dogs.
His registered name is Sans Trouble Blue but I call him Blue Rooster McGooster, which, although it’s a very long name, makes people smile when they hear it, so that’s good.
The “Blue” part came from his original name and I added “Rooster” because his relaxed temperament was so much like that of another “Rooster” I owned (now residing at my sister’s horse ranch), although we sometimes called him Ior. Then a friend added McGooster because she just thought it sounded good, so I went with it.
He’s the nicest horse in America — calm when you want him to be and aggressive when you need him to be; very talented and able to round up large numbers of cattle by himself, and seems to enjoy it. He freely turns his head toward me when I put a bit into his mouth, which is unusual, so I give him a little hug and he likes that and we’re a good team.
When I first got him the previous owners called him Ug (as in Ugly) because he has a long body and face and had been ignored in the pasture for a long time and looked pretty scraggly. But when I looked into his eyes I saw something special, which is hard to explain and as it turns out I was right. He is special and we became instant buddies and work in unison about as well as any horse and rider can. Now people comment on how good he looks, very well muscled with big hooves, sturdy legs, limitless power and quick reactions that require little prompting.
Oh sure, he’s not perfect, pawing at the ground impatiently when I fill his feed bowl with goodies, as though he’s trying to act cute enough to earn an additional scoop, which he often does. And I hate it when he tries to steal mouthfuls of alfalfa while we’re riding and especially hate it when he looks at me like I’m an idiot, because it makes me feel inferior, but I get over it.
Of course, our bond has not been without an occasional mini crisis, like the time he went down on his left shoulder at full speed while chasing cows, pinning my left knee under the saddle and slamming my head into the ground. Instead of hanging around to make sure that I was OK and licking me on the cheek like those TV horses do, he took off to continue chasing cows, apparently bent on showing me how unnecessary I was and adding insult to injury.
At first he lived with me in California during the winter months, spending too much time in a small stall next to other cranky horses with lower IQs, waiting impatiently for his next flake of hay. But it was those sands in the Los Angeles river basin that turned him into the muscle bound beast he is today, ultimately giving him the kind of look that would draw a lot of attention from women were he a male actor clad in Speedos on a Barcelona beach.
I assume he’s intelligent simply because he gets genuinely irritated when other horses are bothered by stupid things like a plastic bag caught on a barbwire fence, as though it was an unidentified alien bent on destroying the Earth.
Yet, the best part about him is that he untangles, unwinds and refocuses my mind just by taking me for a ride and listening to my ramblings, which would cost me a fortune if I went to a trained psychiatrist who might suggest that I: 1) Write madly because writing is a proven way to help organize thoughts. 2) Take deep breaths to calm myself. 3) Go for a walk to get distance from my thoughts. 4) Draw a picture to show which thoughts are on my mind. 5) Describe my desired end state and then work backward from there. 6) Talk it out with another person.
All of that sounds great, but the fact remains that you can get the same results by buying a horse and giving him a funny name.
Holten is freelance writer and cartoonist from Dickinson.