Barn Names

I’m a teenager and my friend Amy is starting to compete.  It’s her first show.  I look her up on the class listing so I know when to be there.  I run my finger down the rider list until I see her name, then trace across for time and location.


Rider Time Horse
Wilson, Amy 12-1pm Satan’s Flaming Trident


I’m horrified.  I thought she was riding Fatso!  Who the heck is Satan’s Flaming Trident?  Why is she riding another horse, AND WHY DIDN’T SHE TELL ME?  I’m miffed on Fatso’s behalf.  We groomed him to the teeth yesterday.  Did he come up lame?  Did she borrow a horse?  Did she buy one and forget to mention it?


Fatso’s stall is empty.  Using my impressive detective skills (hefty flake of alfalfa still in stall, no horse, missing trailer) I deduce he’s already rolling on his merry way.  Why take Fatso if she’s riding some other horse?


I’m stumped.


Maybe Satan’s whatever doesn’t trailer well, so Amy picked up Fatso on the way?  Possible.  Fatso radiates No Biggie.  “Duuuuuuude, like calm down man.  EAT.”


Fatso would load into a minivan to get the Cheerios your kid spilled on the car seat.  He was frequently farmed out to teach yearlings how to trailer.


I arrived.  Yup.  There was Fatso tied to the trailer, nodding off.  No Amy.  She must be walking the other horse around to get him used to the place.


Fatso could go to Vegas on the 4th of July and yawn.  Flashing lights? Huh.  Different. Shooting water fountains?  Thoughtful…I AM a little thirsty. Fireworks?  Could you tone it down?  I’m trying to get in the zone here.  Hey…those feathers on that lady…are they edible?  Do I smell pizza?


That pretty much sums up Fatso.  It’s why I love him.


Glumly, I go to the stands and wait for the class.  There’s Amy…and SHE’S ON FATSO!!  I want to stand up and cheer.  So what the heck was all that Satan’s burning sword thing?  A typo?  I got this upset over a misprint?  I need a life.


Amy and Fatso put in a respectable performance.  Nice.  Afterward I hug her, apparently a little too long.  “Hey!” she says.  “I wasn’t THAT good, but thanks!”


I relate my dumb ordeal over the misprint.  I feel SO stupid.  I can’t stop staring at my boots.  I finally look up, finishing with “I was SO ready to knock you upside the head for not sticking with Fatso!”


Amy is bright red and strangely puffed up.  She’s shaking from head to toe.  Is this some weird seizure?


She bursts out laughing.  She doubles over, crosses her legs and holds her stomach.  What?!  What is so funny? Between gasps and sentences that keep trailing off into hilarity, Amy manages to get out the fact that Fatso is Satan’s Flaming Trident.


“You don’t know about barn names?” she gasps.  “Of course I do,” I say, with as much dignity as I can muster.  I don’t have a clue.  Not the foggiest.


“His registered name is Satan’s Flaming Trident, but can you imagine?”


I could imagine.


“Hey, hand me Satan’s Flaming Trident’s halter, wouldya?”


How did I manage to be the only horse person on the planet who thought names like Fatso, Gumby, Dave, and Petunia were registered names?  At that point, I’d only had one horse with papers…registered name: Sptizem.  It made sense to me that most horses would have goofy names.  I mean, my horse might as well have been named Phlegm.


By this time we’re back at the trailer.   Fatso is tied up, his entire head wormed happily into the hay net.  Amy sighs.  “I’m gonna have to cut it off him again.”  He has one hoof cocked so it rests on a tire, and is leaning lazily on the wheel well.  This is a horse who wants a sofa.  This is not a horse you’d go around calling Satan, Flame, or Trident on a daily basis.  This is Fatso.


Barn Names.  Brilliant.

Copyright © 2009. The Literary Horse. All rights reserved.
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