Lessons to a Kid – Part 2
My plan to convince Harrison Ford that I should be his next Indiana Jones horse is not going well. I had a conference call all set up with Harrison’s “people” the last week in April – I said I was a relative of Calista, which is kinda true, since I live within a two hours drive of her parents. I rigged up an antenna from the run-in shed that would tap into the satellite phone connections. The plan was foolproof! But then some crazy epic storms rolled through the South that night and the hail put grapefruit-sized holes in my tin roof. Gretchen thinks the remains of the antenna were blown in from a neighbor’s roof. But never fear, I will get a hold of Indy! Or maybe I should try Stephen or George? I could disguise myself as ET or R2D2 – after all, I’m the right size! But I’m far too handsome to be mistaken for ET, so I guess I’ll have to go for the droid. Anyone got any roller skates I could borrow? [Gretchen’s Note: Leave those poor movie people alone! Or I’ll go all “Poltergeist” on your fat butt if you build another firetrap on the roof again!]
Meanwhile the Kid, Gretchen’s 2-year-old Trakehner, is really beginning to drive me nuts. I told him to stay in the run-in shed while the hail came down during the storms, but the noise scared him. I said it was no louder than when the huntsman fires off rat shot at misbehaving hounds, but he couldn’t stand still. So when he got even more scared by the hail pelting him outside the run-in, I ran out of my nice, snug little stall to try to corral him back under roof. I finally gave up and let him run around in silly circles tripping over a carpet of hailstones.
But I did feel a little sorry for him, so I decided to give him more lessons about being a good hunt horse. Since Gretchen has now been on him a few times and walked him around the round pen, he asked if he would have to do the entire hunt with her up there. I gave a great, tortured sigh and sadly shook my head yes. “She will INSIST on being in the saddle for the entire hunt,” I explained. “You will just have to learn how to do your job with her up there getting in the way. It will not be comfortable, or dignified, but you will have to put up with That Woman or she will not take you to the hunts. She will lose her stirrups, get left behind and grumble about any little thing you do without getting her permission first. She’ll be quite embarrassing for you, I’m afraid.”
Since he was so scared of the hail, I told him he would have to deal with lots of weather and mud. I said, “Sometimes it rains, sleets or snows while we are out hunting. You will just have to run with the weather in your face regardless. No hiding under trees or shelters.” He asked if there were a lot of rain, would he then also have to pack That Woman through the mud? I don’t think the Kid was pleased by this realization.
“Look,” I said, “there is gonna be a lot of mud out there in the Tennessee foothills during winter. You will just have to learn to go through it. Put your head way down, so that if you trip Gretchen will fall into mud. I did that to her once during my first season of hunting. The hunt gave her a tiara for Mud Queen! But I didn’t get anything other than a great memory of her covered helmet-to-boot in mud.” [Gretchen’s Note: I remember that day, you vile and evil little ankle- biter. I had mud in my unmentionables! It would not benefit you to remind me of that day, cockapoo.]
Ziggy Pelham, the Tennessee Valley’s Huntsman’s Horse and Saint