Cross Coun­try With Jim Wof­ford

… but are you li•ten­ing?

Practical Horseman - - News -

In a de­par­ture from the norm and in the spirit of Christ­mas Eve myths, Jim lets Prince, the talk­ing horse, take over his col­umn and speak his mind.

Pssst! Hay! HAY!! This is your horse speak­ing. It’s me, Prince. That two-legged id­iot who usu­ally writes this col­umn has got­ten into the eggnog or some­thing and is MIA. Al­though I must say I have de­vel­oped quite a taste for eggnog my­self, es­pe­cially when he puts cin­na­mon on it. It tick­les my nose and makes me sneeze, you know, and I’m like, “whoa” (funny me, say­ing “whoa,” that’s a horse-laugh).

Any­way—what’s in this stuff? It has a real kick —a “kick,” (yuk)— there I go again. I crack my­self up some­times. Where was I? Oh, yeah, the col­umn. Have you tried this new voice­dic­ta­tion thingie yet? Really in­ter­est­ing once I learned how to hold a pen­cil to tap the com­puter keys to wake Siri up. Or is it Echo? So many voices, so lit­tle time. But I fi­nally got Siri trained to my voice and we have been pals ever since. It took a lot of pa­tience and rep­e­ti­tion, but it worked. You should try it some­time. She has the sweet­est voice. It just gives me chills. I’ve al­ways been a sucker for red­heads and in my mind, I see Siri as a chest­nut filly, you know, with a lit­tle chrome and the cutest hips and pasterns to die for and … what? Yeah, you’re right, where was I go­ing with this?

Well the thing is, you see, is that horses

talk. I know you don’t know. That’s why I’m telling you now—we talk. I bet you also didn’t know that we get a spe­cial chance to talk on Christ­mas Eve, which hap­pens to be tonight, right around mid­night. But no mat­ter when we talk, you don’t know how to lis­ten, do you? Bet you didn’t even get it when I said “kick,” did you? See, that’s funny be­cause … yeah, right, the col­umn. And speak­ing of hear­ing, my “owner”— you see my quotes there? “Owner.” That’s a horse-laugh, LOL. I sleep in a fresh bed every night, stand in the shade of a tree in the pad­dock wear­ing the lat­est in sun­block fab­rics, get a monthly pedi­cure, a reg­u­lar mas­sage, my very own Pi­lates in­struc­tor and have free 24/7 med­i­cal care. Makes you won­der

That two-legged id­iot who usu­ally writes this col­umn has got­ten into the eggnog or some­thing and is MIA. Al­though I must say I have de­vel­oped quite a taste for eggnog ...

who’s the owner here. But back to this hear­ing thing: re­mem­ber last year, when the garbage truck scared me and I dumped my “owner” and ran off into the fence line? And I came back look­ing as if I had been run through a wood chip­per? And the vet bills? Re­mem­ber that? Yeah, me too. In­stead of pro­tect­ing me, know what my “owner” was do­ing while that truck was bear­ing down on me? That’s right, she was groov­ing to In­sane Clown Posse on her iPod with the new pink Bose head­phones. She wouldn’t have heard Hur­ri­cane Irma. Served her right. And serve me some more of that eggnog while you’re at it, will you? A lit­tle more cin­na­mon and sugar this time.

You’d think that when she just bought that new multi-thou­sand dol­lar sad­dle, she’d pay more at­ten­tion to how it fits It’s like two baked pota­toes are press­ing into my shoul­ders, so I’m trot­ting like a sand crab ...

Sad­dles—From My Point Of View

Any­way, I read this guy’s col­umn every month. He’s OK, but I wish he would talk about things more from my point of view rather than his. I mean, take sad­dles. He nat­u­rally writes about how, yeah, the sad­dle should fit the horse and then he goes on and on about how the sad­dle should fit the rider. I mean, who has to wear this stuff, right? You’d think that when she just bought that new multi-thou­sand dol­lar sad­dle, she’d pay more at­ten­tion to how it fits me. It’s like two hard-boiled pota­toes are press­ing into my shoul­ders, so I’m trot­ting like a sand crab, and her dres­sage guru, Cruella von Dres­sagen­splatz, tells her I am be­hind her leg and to use the whip, and I’m like SO not hav­ing fun. But I have the last horse-laugh on her—every time she tries that whip trick on me, I kick at it. Know what she does then? She pats me and gives me a spe­cial ap­ple-fla­vored treat. I mean, who’s train­ing who—whom—what­ever. Makes me go all ROFLM ... oops, this is a G-rated col­umn, for­got I can’t use that one, LOL.

About that sad­dle, I was go­ing to say that she should put two baked pota­toes in­side her breeches and sit on them—then she would see what it feels like. But there wouldn’t be room in there, would there? And that’s an­other thing, her skid­ding around on my back like a hog on ice. All that time she makes me do those crazy trot sets, jump­ing gym­nas­tics and weekly Pi­lates ses­sions with Cruella, all that time, and she can’t hold her­self still in the sad­dle for more than two steps. No won­der all my

dres­sage tests come back say­ing, “Needs more im­pul­sion.” If I ac­tu­ally do re­spond to a leg aid, next thing she is hang­ing on my mouth like a drunk on a lamp­post. Not good, owner-baby, not good. She should get her­self in a lit­tle bit bet­ter shape IMHO.

What’s Up with Bits?

See, just that lit­tle bit ex­tra sugar and cin­na­mon moves this eggnog up, don’t you think? And speak­ing of bits, what’s up with the lat­est? You are talk­ing with a crea­ture who can feel a fly land on him, and she shows up with a bit look­ing like some­thing from the Span­ish In­qui­si­tion. The only things miss­ing are the blood-stained spikes, but don’t give her any ideas. She still thinks I am run­ning through her halfhalts. If she would learn how to ride, I would be a lot more mel­low. Mat­ter of fact, I’m pretty mel­low right now. Did you sneak a lit­tle more Old Headache in here? Whoa, get­ting sleepy here, LOL. “Whoa”— funny, I know, right?

Stop with the Bling

I might take a lit­tle nap, but one more thing be­fore I turn Siri off. What’s with

And speak­ing of bits, what’s up with the lat­est? You are talk­ing with a crea­ture who can feel a fly land on him, and she shows up with a bit look­ing like some­thing from the Span­ish In­qui­si­tion.

the dec­o­ra­tion? I mean, I’m a guy, right, and I’ve got my pride. Well, yeah, I’m a geld­ing, not that there’s any­thing wrong with that. You got a prob­lem? My prob­lem is that I’m OK with the or­ganic fly spray and I can han­dle the body wash that makes me smell like a trop­i­cal rain for­est or even baby oil on my muz­zle. But c’mon, lady—I mean, glit­ter on my feet? Really? What’s next? False eye­lashes and hair braids? Sheesh. I think I’m kind of a stud (“stud,” get it? I crack my­self up some­times). Right, right, fo­cus. For sure my bod isn’t go­ing to be on the cover of some horse mag­a­zine any time soon, but I’m OK, ya’ know? So why goop it up like that? Jus’ sayin’, let’s go nat­u­ral here.

Lis­ten, would you turn out the lights and close the lap­top for me? Siri and I are kind of an item, but we aren’t quite ready to go pub­lic and all. Peo­ple might get the wrong idea. I’ve been hav­ing these sweet dreams of Siri and me cross­ing won­der­ful green fields while some hokey Christ­mas mu­sic plays in the back­ground and we gal­lop off into the clouds with vi­sions of sug­arplums danc­ing in our heads.

There is an an­cient myth that an­i­mals are given the power of speech on Christ­mas Eve. In the spirit of sober, se­ri­ous jour­nal­ism, I de­cided to in­ves­ti­gate this phe­nom­e­non. My in­ter­view with “Prince” is the topic of my col­umn this month, where I at­tempt to an­swer that ageold ex­is­ten­tial ques­tion, “Do horses talk on Christ­mas Eve?” You will have to judge for your­self if the world is ready for Prince. Merry Christ­mas, every­body!

Based at Fox Covert Farm, in Up­perville, Vir­ginia, Jim Wof­ford com­peted in three Olympics and two World Cham­pi­onships and won the U.S. Na­tional Cham­pi­onship five times. He is also a highly re­spected coach. For more on Jim, go to www. jim­wof­ford. blogspot.com.

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