Trina Machacek: Horse apples
I feel very lucky to live where I do. I walk each day — two or three miles depending on the amount of caffeine on board that tells my legs how far I can go and get back home before I need to have a couch under me! On my walks, I can go any one of the four compass directions, but east and west are my favorites. Those directions are dirt roads and the traffic is lighter… like maybe one pickup. Just right!
I am pulled to the east more often than west. That way, I get to see some sheep that are living happily in corrals about a mile into my daily jaunt. There are these huge white Pyrenee dogs that announce me coming. They, however, don’t speak English as they are owned by sheep herders who only speak Spanish. So, I have learned a few dog words in Spanish. In my rudimentary try at a second language, I can sputter out, “Bueno perro-ie. No morder mi cara lejos!” Roughly translates to, “Good doggie, don’t eat my face off!” I smile and just keep walking. But I’m not afraid. I have taken treats of homemade cookies to the sheep herders and they let me pet the dogs so they know me. Thank goodness.
To the west, there are horses and a herd of buffalo! Yes, buffalo. I like going that way, too, to see the buffalo, of course, but there are these two horses that I like to visit with. Yes, I know, I need to get out among people more! But these horses get me. A horse won’t talk down to you and tell you that your hair isn’t combed or your shirt had a stain on it the size of Delaware from the pomegranate you ate with breakfast. Yes, those horses get me.
So, being the animal talker I am, a few times I’ve stopped at the fence and tried to coax the horses over by pulling up some green grass growing in clumps on my side of the fence and holding it out as a treat. I’m telling you that it’s the beginning of November now and the grass pickin’s are getting pretty thin along the dirt road to the west of where I live! But I scavenge and come up with a nibble or two. I have only been able to get one horse to come and befriend me. She is a pretty filly and rewards me by letting me scratch her nose and run my hand along her cheeks. All very horse friendly. But, yep, here’s the “but.” But the boy horse is as stubborn as — well I was going to say a mule, but he is just a stubborn horse. Apparently, I can only talk girl horse language.
So a friend was visiting and we walked to the west together and one day I decided to take an apple. Yeah, you guessed it. Neither horse came to the fence. The next day I took the apple and there was the filly, waiting for me. OK, she was waiting for the grass. But I pulled out the apple and my knife and sliced off a piece. She sniffed and, since we had this trust thing going, she took the piece and chewed. And chewed. And chewed. I’m not sure she ever had any apples. But she ate it, core and all. The boy horse just stood off watching. The next day, she enjoyed another apple. Then the next day…
She was walking over and I began to slice. She comes to the fence, sniffed and shook her head and was not the least bit interested in that sweet Gala apple. Try as I might to entice her to partake and enjoy a slice, she was adamant. No apple — but when I pulled up and offered her a handful of grass, she was like my very best friend. The boy horse just stood off in the field, watching. I took the apple down the road and threw it in where the buffalo roam, not knowing if buffalo eat apples or not. But the next day, the apple was gone so I am hazarding a guess that yes, buffalo do eat apples!
So here’s the things I’ve learned from this little episode that took several days to play out… I feel very lucky to live where I do. That one pickup that I usually see will stop and check to see if I need help, how cool is that! I don’t speak boy horse. And I need to study Spanish un poquito mas!
Trina lives in Eureka, Nev. Share with her at email@example.com. Really!