June 21st? Really? Has it been that long since I last posted? Well, maybe so. It has been really busy around the ranch lately. The drought is taking its toll on the grass, one reason why the cattle have been kept in the southern pasture. Usually we have little calves running around our pasture by now, but not enough grass, and too many weeds. Stupid weeds. They seem to thrive in the kind of weather we’ve been having: a lot of hot dry weather with a little bit of rain. Our mistress has kept a small paddock watered where the grass is growing nicely, but we can only graze there every couple of weeks. She’s been very busy trying to kill the weeds in the pasture while saving the grass. There are three particulary tenacious weeds: bitterweed,fleabane, and sedge grass.
It’s a never-ending battle. Glad all I have to do is graze!
Did you know there are over a hundred horse breeds in the world? Some of them are well-known like my breed, the American Quarter Horse, some are not so well-known like the Russian Vyatka pony or the Japanese Yonaguni. One thing is for sure, though we may look different in height, weight, and conformation, but we all have a mane, tail and four hooves! And we are all Equidae. In other words, we all belong to the horse family. Did you know that horses first appeared in the world some 54 million years ago? That means we’ve been around longer than humans! Of course, our ancestors didn’t look much like us modern horses, the Eohippus being about 3 to 4 hands tall with four toes on its front legs and three toes on its hind legs, or so Chewbakka, the little Siamese mix cat, tells me. I asked him one day how he knows all this stuff and he said it’s because he sits on our mistress’s desk while she’s surfing the Internet and learns about all kinds of things. Maybe I should try looking over her shoulder one day while she’s surfing the Internet… Naw! It’s much more fun spending the day grazing in the sun and dozing in the shade. Grazing and dozing: that’s right down my alley.
The other day my mistress had a couple of her co-workers over. She whistled us up and we, of course,came trotting up knowing she would at least have a treat or two. I listened as my mistress told them our barn names (or nicknames) as well as our registered names. I heard one of them snicker as she gave them Ziggy’s registered name: Smart Little Gaybar. “Gay Bar?” they said. “What kind of name is that? Is she a strip-teaser also?” My mistress was too polite to say anything, but let me tell you, Ziggy comes from along line of well-known Cutting Horses. Her paternal great grandsire is Smart Little Lena, Cutting Horse Triple Crown winner, a feat much more difficult that winning Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown; her maternal great grandsire is famous Gay Bar King, and her paternal grandsire is Hall of Famer Peppy San Badger.
Unlike Thoroughbred race horses who are given names that have nothing to do with their bloodlines, we Quarter Horses bear our lineage in our names. Take the name “Gay Bar King” for example. His sire was Three Bars, his dam was Gay Widow, and his maternal grandsire was the well-known King P-234, one of the most influential Quarter Horse sires during the early days of the AQHA.
It is unfortunately that the word “gay” has come to mean something other than “happy”. But Ziggy bears her registered name with pride as well she should.