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A Horse,
of Course

with Don Blazer

A Horse of Course

I walked passed Walter's stall, peeked in and saw him dunking his hay in
his water bucket.
I hate it when he does that. "Hey," I said. "Why do you do that?"
"Hay," he said. "I like it wet and soggy and drippy and messy. And it
turns the water the darkest green color. I like that."
"You don't like that," I countered. "You just do it to irritate me. I
think you've got a lot of gall."
"No gall at all," he said with a smile. "Horses don't have a gall
bladder," he informed me. It was a fact I already knew, so I just ignored
it. Sometimes ignoring him is the best thing you can do.
"Why don't you make a New Year's resolution you won't soak your hay in
your water bucket anymore," I suggested.
"Why would I want anything to do with a revolution," he questioned?
"Not revolution; resolution. A resolution is a decision to a future
action. Such as," I explained, "resolving not to dunk you hay."
I further explained that just before the New Year we all make resolutions
along the lines of being a better person, or horse. "It's a very nice
tradition," I said. "We take a good look at ourselves and resolve to try
to overcome our weaknesses and act in a more thoughtful, considerate way.
"You should try it. It would be of benefit to everyone if you didn't dunk
your hay. Your bucket would contain nice, clean, fresh water, and you
wouldn't have that silly green slim all over your muzzle."
I could see he wasn't going to jump at the New Year's resolution idea.
But I had a little plan. Horses are herd animals. They like to do what
all their friends are doing. Horses have a following instinct; if other
horses are doing it, then they want to do it. So I thought I'd suggest a
few New Year's resolutions for Walter's friends.
I turned to Katy Bar Dee Door and I said, "Katy, you know almost every
time I turn you out to play in the big pasture you run around, catch a
shoe, and either loosen it, or tear it off. Wouldn't it be great if you
made a New Year's resolution that you'd be careful in 2002 and not jerk off
a single shoe?"
I didn't wait for her answer. I just went on with my plan.
Gone For Ice Cream didn't seem interested, but I knew she was listening.
"I know and you know, there is no reason why you should chew on a lead rope
while you are tied. You are a mature mare with excellent ground manners,
except for that one little quirk. Now think how nice it would be if I
didn't have to grab a slimy, wrinkled, half gnawed lead rope when I came
back to get you."
When you are on a roll like this, you just keep going.
Getembaby is a big, strong, horse. I looked right at him and said, "It
would be a very good idea if you resolved not to blow, snort or shy when
you have to step up on the rubber mats of the wash area. You've had
hundreds of baths and you know nothing bad is going to happen. It should
be very easy to keep that New Year's resolution."
I swung my arm out in a jester of encompassing them all. "Those are so
easy," I said, "I expect each of you to faithfully keep your resolutions
without a slip all year long."
"Next year is not the year of the horse," Walter said. The Year of the
Horse, according to the Asian zodiac will be 2003."
Walter explained that each year of the 12-year cycle of the Asian zodiac
is named for one of the 12 animals who came to pay homage to Buddha as he
lay dying.
The horse was the seventh animal to arrive. The hour of the horse is
between 11 a.m. and l p.m. (Don't ask why the hour is two hours. Walter
doesn't know.) South is the direction of the horse on the compass.
And, Walter explained, the sign of the horse--as the other signs--has
different meanings when combined with different elements, such as earth,
metal or water.
"You want a New Year's resolution," Walter asked? "See me next year!"
Why do I even try? Ignoring him is the best policy.

Don Blazer
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"A Horse, Of Course"
Monthly Column
by Don Blazer

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