Pasquale, 40 something-year-old Quarter Horse, speaks his mind


Ya know, livin' up here in this great white Yankee north can be tough on an ol' Texas fella like me at times. Takes some grit, I'd say. I remember, a few years back, when the ground was pure ice. It was a bone-chillin' experience. Thick, solid, and slick as could be, for weeks. Every day I took my good ol' time goin' out to join the others.

One day, I watched two of my buddies go lickety split across a new patch that completely covered our passage to the pasture. Nope, don't wanna even attempt that with them hustlin' on through, I thought. I didn't wanna git bossed around on that stuff, no sir. "Slow down, y'all," I whinnied out to them, but they didn't listen. They got beyond it by pure slide and determination; legs a-crossin', and feet slappin' that hard surface. It was just beginnin' to git frosty or somethin' on top, makin' it as slick as ever. I had to turn and look the other way. I went back into the barn - I didn't wanna watch the others try.

But, I missed somethin' very important in that minute in the barn. What I didn't see was my person crawlin' out on that ice, to chase the others away from that passageway, and then openin' the upper gate to the pasture to let us all through safely. That was a very crucial few minutes that I missed. The next thing I saw was all of them down below in the snow, rompin' and kickin, as my person stood among them and enjoyed the show. "Aw, heck," I thought, "it must be ok out there. If I can just git past that spot..." I didn't want to miss any fun either.

I was pickin' my way very carefully, step by step, concentratin' on the ground in front of me so hard that I never saw the upper gate open. My person was facin' the other way, and never saw me wipe out. (I'm not gonna do it over, either.)

How embarrassin'. I fell down, and I could not git up. I tried, but it was like nothin' I ever dealt with before. Each try I almost got up, but then one foot would start goin' and there wasn't a thing I could do - and I'd hit that rock-hard surface again. Owww, my stifle; owww, my hips; owww, my ribs. Dang this hard, white #@%#!!! I was out of breath, defeated. I did what I always do when I git in a serious predicament - wait for my person. "Please, see me," I thought. I couldn't see anybody else from where I was on the ground, so I figgered they wouldn't be able to see me.

I was too out of breath to git out a good whinny, so I waited. Ten seconds seemed like forever. I lifted my head to see, and one of my sharp-eyed buddies spotted me. She stood and stared. Oh, good. Now to git my person's attention. I lifted my head up and down, floppin' my mane as wildly as I could, hopin' to catch someone else's attention. I thought briefly I might try to stand up again, but my common sense talked me out of it. Soon all my buddies were lookin' my way, and, finally, my person saw me. "Hallelujah, help is on the way," I thought, still tryin' to catch my breath. I was in a bad state (no pun intended). As I watched her come runnin' over, I felt a sigh of relief exit my weary lungs. She hit the ice, and to my dismay, down she went. Ohhh nooo .

But it was okay - she already knew what it was like and was just gettin' on her hands and knees to crawl over to me. Even that was difficult for her. She comforted me and yelled for help. I waited patiently. Help came, and she disappeared, comin' back with blankets of all kinds, and Arnica, thank goodness. I needed that. Soon the blankets were spread neatly all around and tucked under me, and my people were standin' up on them. I got up, but went back down as the blankets slipped beneath me. (Even the blankets couldn't git a grip on this nasty stuff.) At least we were in a different spot by now.

We tried again. Moved a few feet and wiped out again - I got a little hasty that time. "No more of that," my person said, "and besides, it's too close to the fence." I agreed. It was a downhill slope of pure ice to the fence eight feet away, and it would only take one slip and we'd all be in it. Time was passin' quickly, and we were gettin' nowhere. The only snowy places, where we could git a grip, were uphill from us.

I believed, until this time, that the main reason there are tractors on farms is for the man of the farm to have somethin' big and powerful to tinker with, or to use his tools on. Now I know better. They really can come in handy. One person carried out a big, rolled-up carpet, the other a post and a long, heavy chain. Wrappin' one corner of the carpet around the post and punchin' a hole through, they fastened the chain onto it. The other end was hooked to another chain, attached to the tractor, up the hill quite a-ways, in the snow. The carpet was tucked under my side as far as they could push it without me slidin' downhill; my ol', swayed back faced uphill. How in the world am I gonna git on that, I wondered, as they produced a few soft ropes and attached them to my ankles. Now if you don't think married people can work together, you shoulda seen this. A-heavin' and a-gruntin', pullin' those ropes, diggin' their knees, fingers, and heels into I don't know what, they rolled me over onto it. It worked. My legs flopped down onto the carpet. One crawled away and ran to the tractor, the other stayed kneelin' beside me on the carpet, removin' the ropes. I went for the most gratifyin' ride of my life - to soft, grippy ground. I got up and assessed my bruises. My lockin' stifle seemed to work fine, and the rest of me felt okay too. I got more Arnica, and took a few wobbly steps. That was when I was led to the gate to see the new way through. Poor, pitiful me.

I received many apologies that day, and we all learnt a few things. A friend suggested the next time it gits icy, use Barn-Dri, or another similar gritty product, mix a little salt in it, and scatter it on the ice. It works like a charm in most icy conditions. Unfortunately, we were out of both by this time. Me, I think I'll just stay away from the icy stuff; and my people, they keep a lot of that grit on hand all the time now.

Y'all be safe, and happy trails. P-pot The end