The Shetland Trajectory: Part 2

note: we’re counting the following as my answer for “Why Horses?” Wednesday!

It did not take long to discover Mr. Chips had many talents.  None of them were related to being an Equine.

There was no door he could not open.  Only keyed locks eluded him. (I’m sure this is because I hid the keys.)  I was thankful I had the foresight to padlock all of the pasture gates.  When I was home, they remained bolted but not padlocked: I was in and out of the pasture too often.  If I left the property it was Lock City.  I was less worried about animal theft, and more worried about a burglar “accidentally” letting Roz and Chips out while trying to see if there was anything worth burgling in my home.  (That would be no.)

Little did I know that Mr. Chips believed he was a ninja.

Dave was coming over to help me rototill my garden.  He arrived early, while I was down in the barn, unloading sacks of feed. Not seeing my truck, he figured he’d unload the tiller, and get it set up while he waited for me to come home.  The padlocks were off the pasture gates, though both were securely latched with sliding horse-proof “drop hook” bolts.  Mr. Chips, who had taken to supervising anything to do with feed, had been imperiously watching me heft bags into stacks.  Really, his name should have been ‘Nero’ or HRH Supreme Dictator.  When I reached for the last bag, Chips was gone.

Odd.

I hefted the bag onto the stack and straightened it.  That’s when I heard the scream.  It was a horrible drawn out scream of extreme pain. I sprint up the hill through two open gates (not registering this) to find the wooden garden gate open, and Mr. Chips standing calmly next to the patio furniture, his teeth firmly clamped on Dave’s right butt cheek.  It must have really hurt.  Tears were streaming down Dave’s face, and he was ineffectively swatting near Mr. Chips muzzle while trying to remain as immobile as possible.

He’d been bending over the rototiller, getting it ready to operate, when Mr. Chips stealth attacked from behind: Dave’s unfortunate position providing a lot of flesh to chomp.  Chips saw me out of the corner of his eye, flicked an ear back, stood a little taller, and clamped a little harder.  Dave gasped.  Mr. Chips was proud.  He caught the burglar red-handed!  Dave started to hyperventilate.  I yelled at Chips to cut it out, and he unclamped the jaws of death from Dave’s butt,flicking his ears at me questioningly.  But minion!  This human does not live here.  He should not be here.  He is touching Our Stuff.  For what reason should I spare his life?

I shoo Mr. Chips out of the garden and bolt the wooden gate.  I scramble into the house for an ice pack while Dave rubs his butt gingerly, yelling after me in annoyance “You didn’t tell me you had an attack horse!”  I yell back from inside the freezer, “I didn’t know!   I’m so sorry!” I hear a scramble and a yelp.  It sounds like Dave tried to sit down. Frozen peas, FINALLY.  I grab the bag, slam the door, turn around, and there, in my living room, is Mr. Chips.  He’s staring at me quizzically.  Still trying to understand why biting an intruder is bad.  Obviously, the horse-proof bolt on the garden gate is not even a minor obstacle.

It’s startling.  I’ve never seen a horse inside a house before.  He looks completely relaxed.

“Because he’s our friend!” I say sternly to Mr. Chips.  “That’s why”

“What?” says Dave.

“Found the ice!” I say, “Coming!”

For the moment, I ignore the fact there is a horse, however small, following me to the door, and stopping to peer into my bedroom.  Nosy little guy.

I go back out the sliding glass door onto the patio, and hand Dave the bag of frozen peas, along with two ibuphrophen and an open beer.

“Get it away from me!” Dave says, flinging the ibuprofen into his mouth.  “Do you always let it in the house?”

Mr. Chips is surveying the scene from inside the living room, standing in front of the open patio door.    I’m exasperated, and certainly not thinking like a horsewoman.  I’m thinking like a dog owner.

“Get out of the house!”  I yell.

Mr. Chips disappears back inside.

“That worked”, grumbles Dave.

We both hear the sound of the fridge door opening: the glass bottles in the door clinking.  I sprint into the kitchen.

Mr. Chips has discovered the carrot vault.

I would never rest easy again.

It’s remarkably difficult to get an unhaltered Shetland out of your house.  He clopped around the sofa, dragging me with him: I had a firm grasp on his mane.  I was supposed to do the dragging here! Instead, I took a leisurely tour of  my home, while desperately tugging on a giant wad of hair.  By the time he clopped up the three stairs into the bathroom, I’d given up on directing him until he was through, but was hanging on in case he decided to pick something up.

It was like following a determined real estate agent.

Bathtub…interesting.  Toilet paper…strangely tasteless.  Bathroom, idiotically small!  I can’t even turn around easily.

He squeezed himself around, and we went back down the stairs.

Wood burning stove…will have to remember that this winter.  Kitchen, already understand that.  Ah…bedroom…what have we here?  Is that a DOWN comforter?  Why do you get the best blanket?

I manage to keep him from dragging the comforter off the bed with his teeth.  Barely.

Oooooo….walk in closet…you know, this could easily be turned into a cozy little stall.

Mr. Chips surveys the racks of clothes with a critical eye. I shove them away in the nick of time.  He regards me with imperious disgust.  Why would I care about these old rags? He frog marches me out of the closet, takes a last lingering tour of the bedroom, and walks out of the house.  Dave shrinks away from him.

“What were you doing in there?” he says.

Mr. Chips looks up at me pointedly.  Would you please let go of my mane?  I want to go back to the pasture now?  Hellllo?

“Damage control”, I say to Dave, while releasing my death grip on Mr. Chips.

Mr. Chips shakes like a wet dog, obviously contaminated by contact, and walks quietly out the gate, straight back to the pasture.  I resist the urge to holler at him to close the gates.

I examine the lock on the sliding glass door.  I’m now worried he will figure out how to open it, even though it’s keyed.

“Excuse me” Dave says, “Injured party over here.”  Guiltily, I go sit down, and ask how he’s feeling, do I need to take him to the emergency room?

“More beer.” Dave says, “…and do you have any real ice?”  He winces.

“By the way, I’m never helping you again.”

I open my mouth.

“NO.  No apologies. It’s me or that beast if you want help again.  I’m leaving.”

I learned to do a lot of things on my own.  I tried to think of it as character building instead of friend losing.

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18 thoughts on “The Shetland Trajectory: Part 2

  1. Amara

    Whew! I’m only 18 but Shetland and heinz 47 ponies are still fresh in mind… I’ve always loved them though, we have one at my barn who looks like a little arabian (I’m guessing he’s probably a Welsh sec. A, but I’ve never asked) and my girlfriend, though not a horse person just adores him.

    Anyway Mr.Chips reminds me of a pony I rode when I was 8 – 11 years old. Her name was Caramel she was a chestnut with a very long flaxen mane and tail and boy did she have character! I’m loving every minute of the reading I’m doing here! I can say that your writing really brings the story to life, it is simply a joy to read.

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      I’m delighted you’re here and enjoying. What is it about ponies, in particular, and Shetlands, in specific, that is so…transcendent in an equine to human experience?
      Okay, that was weird. Ahem. Let me just try that again, in normal-speak. What is so different about ponies, that makes our connections with them so engaging? I wonder if it has to do with genetics not changing all that much? Shetlands now are likely very similar to Shetlands 100 years ago. They had to be smart, creative, social, and tough as nails to survive. Traits that give them super-sized personalities.
      I’m happy you had Caramel in your life!

      Reply
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  3. Kerry

    OMG I haven’t laughed so hard in ages!  Harmony – my shetland mare – is nearly as curious but not yet as assertive as Mr Chips.  She does explore everything, including what use to be my house but is being turned into my art studio.  A gaurd horse indeed……

    Reply
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  5. greyhorsematters

    Great! Still laughing. I’ve never had a pony but if I did it would have to be Mr. Chips, what a character. Just love the story telling and the tour of the house. Poor Dave, not everyone can say the were attacked by a watch-horse. Loved it.

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      I was SO thankful my landlord didn’t drop by when Mr. Chips was touring the home. I was sure Murphy’s Law would kick in. Can you imagine? Thinking your tenant would let a horse in the house?
      Lucky me, it didn’t.

      Reply
  6. Marissa

    I’m learning . . . did not read this with any hot drinks nearby! I am right there with you Kate, funniest thing I have read in a long time. I was laughing so hard that I stopped making sounds. Whew, boy, I needed that. I am bringing my blackberry to the barn this weekend so I can share this story. This is priceless. I’ll probably giggle all evening over it.

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      Whoa, I’m honored! Taking it to the barn is a big deal. Wait till we get to Mr. Chips’ obsession with the piano…

      Hug Tucker and thank him for me. If he hadn’t followed you into the tack room, I wouldn’t be having all my warm fuzzy memories of Mr. Chips!

      Reply
  7. Kate

    I laughed harder at this than I have at anything I’ve read in a long time! We have a pony named Norman who I expect could give Mr. Chips a run for his money – same imperious pony personality!

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      You know what that means Kate: we all want to hear Norman stories! The more the merrier. What a great name for a pony. I already know I’m going to like him. If you get some up, let me know and I’ll link to them!

      Reply

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