10 Secrets to My Youth

"He's forty-four???" I ain't never gonna get tired of hearin' those words and seein' that open-mouthed gawk on people's faces when they hear my age.

That's secret #1 - be proud, and revel in your accomplishments; fill up your chest, straighten your saggin' spine, and maybe give a quick wink. Then without fail comes their next question: "How long do horses live?" It all depends, actually, but it usually ain't this long. I sure don't feel all that old. Maybe it's the company I keep.

That's secret #2 - hang out with some young folks as much as y'all can. They keep me movin' and make life interestin', and make me do stuff I wouldn't otherwise feel like doin'. like bustin' outta the field once in a while for a brief excursion.

That brings me to secret #3 - vary the routine; break up the monotony with a little excitement now and then. I like to spook at nothin' just to keep the herd on their toes, or pretend I don't hear my person callin' so she has to make the trek out to me. When she gets there, I jump and scoot forward like she scared the heck outta me.

A sense of humor is important; that's secret #4. I like to hide well in the bushes near the babblin' creek, let my person walk past me, then sneak up quietly behind her and breathe on her elbow.

#5 - Keep an ace up yer sleeve. Save your energy mosta the time and don't let on that y'all can still run with the best of 'em. until the right time, like dinner. I also like to let 'em THINK I'm gonna race 'em all the way to the barn, take off like a rocket, let 'em pass me, then slow down and walk in. I grab a few mouthfuls of food on the way and arrive still chewin', while they're still catchin' their breath. On trail rides, I like to go last and hang back a bit - turnin' around at dead ends uses extra steps; also, the dew drippage and cobwebs will be outta your way.

#6 - Keep yer cool; don't panic. Get a grip, think things out, and keep grounded; don't lose it over nothin'. Stress eats up years.

#7 - Keep your carcass in shape and stretch a lot. Get regular massages. Don't overeat, chew your food well, and keep yourself hydrated (with fresh clean water) at all times, for health's sake.

#8 - Say "YESSS!" to carrots. Say "NOOO" to food with preservatives in it. Eat your herbs and take natural remedies instead of drugs. I 'specially like Rhus tox before a trail ride, and after. And No-Bute, from that nice Claire of Emerald Valley Botanicals. It melts away my stiffness and let's me walk without creakin' and crackin' so much. It helps my guts too; it helps with digestion. And eat all the fresh greens you can, and fruits, with healthy enzymes in 'em.

#9 - If y'all love someone, tell 'em about it, one way or another. A tail swish in the face, a hearty body shake when drippin' wet, a pfffffffffffffft from under the tail, a colorful snort on a clean shirt .

#10 - Spend lotsa time outdoors in the fresh air. Go barefoot, step in mud puddles, splash in the creek, sleep out under the stars, sunbathe a little every day, nap in the shade, let yourself sweat, roll in the grass, mud, and snow, smell or eat the flowers.

Happy trails,