Honestly, it’s almost like he named himself.My father’s horse, named Macho (Spanish slang for arrogant, extra strength, manly man), wasn’t very tall, but he was sturdy, and built like a dump truck. He was also quite beautiful; chestnut brown with black socks on all four feet. His mane was black, thick and stood straight up.
But it was his personality that made him a true original.The general consensus around the base’s ranch, Lazy R, was that he’d been badly gelded. So badly that it never even occurred to him that he was, in fact, a gelding.
In his happy little world, he was Thunderhead, Flicka’s proud, untamed stallion son, with the run of the entire west, dominion over his hand-picked harem of mares, and the worship of everybody else.Except in the case of hurricanes, the horses were always pastured at Lazy R. When we went to the ranch, we’d grab some halters and leads, then go out into the pasture and bring out our horses.
They were usually happy to see us. They’d get oats and some treats in the form of carrots or sugar cubes. They’d get groomed and pampered by their people. Macho and I were friends. I adored him, and that half-stallion was firmly convinced that all the attention and affection I gave him was absolutely his due. One night he actually fell asleep with his head on my shoulder as I rubbed his neck and spoke quietly to him.
So, I had no qualms about going into the pasture and bringing all three of our horses out.
Until one day.Usually, as I approached our horses and called to them, they’d walk up and stand patiently while I hooked them into their halters. Then we’d go on to the next horse and repeat until I had all three and we walked out of the pasture to the corral for food and grooming. Like I said, usually.Macho was the first horse I got to that day. He was surrounded by his mares, and looking like he was feeling especially stallion-y. Really keyed up and full of himself. Ominously, he didn’t approach me, but backed up a few steps.
I spoke to him in a cajoling yet exasperated way. He backed up a little more.
I started walking to him, and then, looking me square in the eye, began coming toward me. Then he sped up to a fast walk. Then a slow trot, which got faster with each step. Soon he was coming at me at a slow gallop.Horses will not run over a human. It may look like they’re going to, but they will veer off at the last second. So, I stood still waiting for him to run past, then I’d hook him up, and go after the next one.
There is one exception to the no-running-over thing. The rule doesn’t apply to badly gelded buttheads who want to be left alone to hang out with their girlfriends and have no desire to be pushed around by an eleven-year-old kid.He knocked me down, ran over my prone body, stepped right on that hollow where the collar bone meets the shoulder, and got in one last insult when a hoof flipped up and smacked me right on top of my skull (there is still a horse hoof-shaped indentation on my melon). He then turned around and calmly walked back over to his pasture groupies. It was weeks before I went into the pasture by myself.
So, if you’ve ever wondered, Gentle Reader, what precisely, is wrong with me, here’s the answer: being hit on the head with a horse changes a person.Thanks for your time.