Tobys Lynx (Toby)

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Swank Dezign

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Swain Song (Swainy)

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Cow Pony Chronicles Part I

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cow Pony Extraordinaire, [aka Toby] speaking.
I have not always been known as the amazing and stupendous cow pony, Tobys Lynx, I started as merely Toby the dumb trail horse. Little did my human family know I have been keeping my excellence a secret. I started my education with some cowboys in the early 2000s. These cowboys tried to make me a “header”, which in Neanderthal terms is [the horse that runs out of the gate first], and chases after a poor little cow. Those cowboys were two shakes away from dragging their knuckles on the ground and beating each other with cave-man clubs and I am NOT a usual APHA (American Paint Horse AWESOMENESS), I prefer to surround myself with intellect. I had no interest in this job so I ran very slow, kept my distance from the cows, and spooked every time the gate popped open. Problem solved.

Because of my winning cow horse attitude I was sold to a farm in Krum, Tx and left in a pasture with no job—this is when the Weekes family came to visit me. There is Cheryl and Tommy Weekes and then this other human named Kristen; she seemed to be the alpha of the herd. She looked over me with a fine tooth comb—stared me down with her hand on her chin and never smiled. When she rode me she bounced all around and kicked my sides, shoulders and flanks like she had no idea how to balance a top of an equine. I really had no idea what she was doing so I continued to trot along with little energy and taking very small flat steps as not to make her fall off. After each human in the herd rode me they talked secretly among themselves glancing over occasionally-- I was sure to always look at them with the sweetest puppy dog eyes I could dish out. To tell you the truth, the entire test was rather nerve racking. I guess I passed because a day later I was taken to a big establishment called Reata Equine Hospital where a doctor poked me, tweaked my legs and made me jog on concrete. Not my favorite experience but the day ended with a big bucket of alfalfa pellets, a 2 acre pasture with grass up to my knees, a round bale and new pasture buddy named Boomer.

Me and Boomer

I enjoyed Boomer for the most part. He was a little overly active and enthusiastic for my taste but his company was better than having no pasture buddy at all. He was not the brightest light on the tree but he was good for testing out the electric fence strength. Ok I’ll say it, what a dumb equine. The guy can’t even run and play without getting tangled in his own 4 legs. When I was bored I would ask him to race, which of course always excited him but I kept my distance just in case he tripped and wiped out, which he did occasionally to my amusement. Very often the alpha human [Kristen] would come to fetch him, see his new bruises and cuts and say very bad words before dragging him off to the barn. It was actually quite funny and I would stand in the corner under the oak trees pretending I had nothing to do with it.

Soon thereafter a new equine moved in…well, I thought he was an equine. His name was Coppertop and he had great big ears like a jack bunny but he was too big to be a donkey. I heard Kristen call him a "silly mule” one time so I figured he was neither donkey nor equine, but as stated, a silly mule [to me, aka: dumb equine with bunny ears]. I enjoyed the new arrival because he kept Boomer company and I was left to snooze and eat in peace. Those two would play “gladiator” all day. Copper the silly mule would pretend his great big bunny ears were bull horns and try to tackle that dumb grey equine down to the ground. I stood by the round bale and watched them play day after day thus [according to Kristen] becoming, “the lazy trail horse that loves to eat”. I would often hear the humans talking to their friends; they would mockingly call me the “best horse on the farm because all I do is wait by my feed bucket all day long”. Humph. Well little did they know I figured out that when I would wait at my bucket they would bring me food! Sometimes it would take them all day long though. If I did something intentionally stupid such as getting my foot stuck in the fence they would often come to feed me early. For all of my equine friends, please note humans are easy to train.

Cheryl is my keeper and she is a wonderful, loving human. She feeds me cookies and rides me just for fun. Kristen told me that my job was to trot as slowly as possible with my neck low to make the ride very comfortable for Cheryl. I had no problems with this--what an easy life! Poor Boomer has to work his rear end off at least 5 days a week. I would feel sorry for him except he's dumb and seems to love slave labor. Though every once in a while that mean alpha Kristen would ride me and make me do a lot of really hard patterns. I figured out quickly that if I acted stupid she would ask very little of me and then give me lots of hugs and cookies when I did something correctly, such as picking up my right lead at the canter. I liked to pretend I didn't know how to execute very remedial commands (e.g. canter leads) so that I didn't need to work hard for my hugs and cookies.

~Fast forward to now~

I have been living at Fortnight Ranch for the past 6 years and for some reason I have suddenly become the center of attention! The work is OK but I love the pampering most of all. I'm groomed and hugged every day now. I also get more food at night! Kristen and Cheryl still have no clue that I know exactly what I’m doing and I will keep it that way as long as possible. The less I have to work and the easier it is for me to win cookies and the happier I am.
I’ve been jumping a few times now as well. Not sure I love the sport but it seems amusing enough. I do struggle with what Kristen calls “DK time” or the “DQ arena”. I’m not really sure what the abbreviation is short for but whenever we go to the DQ arena (or the sand pit as well equines call it) I end up doing very controlled hard work. I have watched Boomer for so many years working in the sand pit so I already know how to do all of the “DQ” stuff. But again, I can’t let Kristen know that therefore every so often I pretend to be confused and piaffe in place for my own amusement. That's right everyone, I'm so awesome I know how to piaffe. I also like to spice up the ride by pretending I'm going to lay down and roll. Kristen loves that trick--she yells, I laugh.

Kristen body clipped me so that I would not be hot during work outs. I had secretly wished that she would have left a lightning bolt or a Nike sign on my side because I’m so fast. Oh it’s OK, no worries, I can talk about my super speed because I blew my cover the other day. I went racing with Boomer and I smoked his grey butt. Kristen and Tommy saw it, gosh darn; I didn’t realize anyone was watching! I need to plan my awesomeness more carefully and only show off during the day when the human group is at work.

I actually really enjoy jumping. Kristen didn’t think I was going to be athletic enough to jump well though. OK humans, listen up, just because I talk slow doesn’t mean that I’m stupid. Did you know that a bovine can jump a four foot fence from a stand still? They can. It’s true. Furthermore, have you ever seen an athletic looking cow? Most likely not-- because there is nothing athletic looking about cows.
fat, unathletic cow

I know this because I was forced to chase the odd creatures at the beginning of my riding career. Actually I think Boomer may be of the same intelligence level as a bovine. Oh that was mean. My bad. I apologize for my rudeness. I think cows may actually be smarter than that dumb grey over achieving jock. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, cows. So, here we have an animal with no athleticism and complete lack of ability to bascule over a fence yet it can clear four feet with ease. And Kristen thinks I’m not athletic enough to jump? Give me a break. The good thing about Kristen’s way of thinking (or lack of knowledge of my APH-AWESOMENESS and inability to pick out a superstar) is when she takes me to practice over jumps a very small feat on my part gets me many hugs and cookies. This, as I stated previously, is my goal in life. Easy work = cookies.

I have had the privilege of jumping cross country already! I must say that it is loads of fun. NOT! Do humans not understand that there are evil gnomes and trolls out in the woods and hiding under those wood boxes and logs? And can I just scream, "UM HELLO! SPLINTERS!"? But don't worry, humans are true geniuses and have cut down on the XC jump splinters by covering the jumps with disgusting smelling wood lacker or nappy sticky tar. Way to go smarty pants. Sure, that makes the jumps more inviting.
I know those logs were small but it was really important that I stopped at each one before jumping to check for boogie critters, or if I did not stop to take a quick peak in air before landing.

boogie critters for sure!

Fortunately, Kristen and I were safe and escaped all dangers that may have existed. The jumping ended on a fun note with the banks (Kristen now calls me a bank expert! because I'm so AWESOME at them) but, my word-- talk about taking the joy out of a Sunday nap time!

I will add because of the scary gnomes on the XC course I'm more cautious and appreciate knowing exactly what I’m going to be asked to jump before tackling a course. Please compare me to a great scholar rather than a dumb jock like that grey horse. I prefer to study and prepare myself for tasks rather than just jumping into life unprepared. I’m all about preparation and perfection. If there was a Library of Alexandria for equines, I would most definitely be the keeper. Yes folks, I’m just that smart. I should have been named Divine Comedy.

At my first Combined Test... (warning, shameless brag--where I was in 1st place with a 31 after dressage because of my American Paint Horse AWESOMENESS)~

my awesomeness

...I heard Kristen mention the words “cold turkey” and “might not be quite ready”. I did not understand what she was talking about until we entered the show jumping arena. Can I just say, Oh—My—Gawd, looking at all of those gaits, flowers, planks and boxes made me sick to my belly. I was screaming for some ulcergard! Needless to say our first trip jumping those fences was not my idea of fun. They did not look like something to be jumped but rather decorations at a children’s playground. There were a couple that I needed to check out first [including a large fuzzy green box] to be sure the take-off and landing spots were safe. Remember, I’m not the type of equine that will jump off a cliff just because the funny jockey a top of me tells me it is safe. I’d like to check things out on my own.
Luckily, all looked OK so the 2nd time around I jumped easy and clean and from the reaction of my family (Kristen, Cheryl, and Tommy) one would have thought that I had just resurrected Christ. [Yes people, it is true I’m more athletic than a bovine]. This small feat once again won me many hugs and cookies, which is what my life is dedicated to.

yey me!

Unfortunately because I stopped to check out some of the fences (instead of foolishly throwing my soul into the arms of Aether), I was moved down to 6th place. But this actually works well for my life plan. Next time I’ll jump around without peaking (but maybe knock down one rail) and show them how extraordinary I am and how I have such amazing learning capabilities—which will win me many hugs and cookies I’m sure. Humans are easy to please.

Thank you for reading my 1st APH-AWESOMENESS Chronicle and stay tuned. Kristen has an entire month of torture planned for me. Oh Joy and Rapture.
Yours truly, Toby, cow pony extraordinaire.