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And Here Are Some Of the Horses of Grapevine Canyon Ranch

(Or straight from the horse's mouth)

The strangest thing has been happening lately here at the ranch. The staff and guests have noticed the horses talking - not in horse talk, but human talk!! So we set up a tape recorder, and it was so interesting, we decided to transcribe the tapes here. We will update this page whenever they decide to give us their take on ranch life.

Excerpt from the latest entry on
28 August 2010....

Hello humans, this is the horses of Grapevine calling you and I must say that it's been such a long time since we had a chance to chat with you! It's the fault of the slave, of course, who never gives us the trumpet any more … says she has been too busy to run after us with it ….what? What d' you say, Comanche?"

"I said, Tequila, that it's very ungrateful for you to be grumbling like that, especially seeing as the reason the slave doesn't have any time is because she has been running around with you to the doctor, if you please! And not just any doctor, but the special doctor in that big place, the one she says is so expensive, whatever that is! And as cranky as you have been, too! Quite undeserving!"

Read more of this "Comments From the Corral" entry by clicking on the third tab on this page.

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At Grapevine, we have horses for all levels of experience, from the total beginner to the eventer or show rider, and indeed, over the years, many of our guests have come from the ranks of professional riders, here on a “busman’s holiday”.  However, it is the beginner rider who perhaps benefits the most, by discovering the beauty and nobility of the horse. No need to be apprehensive – we have riding lessons, from basic to advanced, for those who want to learn more, and each new rider, whatever his or her experience level, is given an orientation lesson before the first ride. But it is the horses who contribute the most to the rookie rider – they are kind horses, because they are well treated, well fed and rested, and so they are ready to be their rider’s friend – and what better way to see this fabulous country than from the backside of your new, four legged buddy!

And so, meet the Horses of Grapevine Canyon Ranch…

Firstly, let us say that they are generally pretty happy horses. They have a strict routine of work and play – they work five days or fifteen hours, whichever comes first, and then get a day off in the corrals. After five weeks, they get a week off to run free on the “vacation pasture”, about a 200 acre spread, where they can graze, play, fight, run, and jump around – and be - just horses. Our veterinarian tells us that this week of freedom is very good for them not only to get their heads in order, but also to stretch out their backs and work out any twinges or cramps they may have acquired in the days under the saddle – better than a chiropractor, he says.

They are mostly Quarter Horses, with an Arab or two thrown in, some horses with Thoroughbred blood, a few Appaloosas – but mostly they are that reliable, even tempered, hardy and cow conscious breed, the Quarter Horse, the cowboy's partner.

Their colors go from a rare Cremello (a creamy light yellow with blue eyes - now a registered color breed) to buckskins, sorrels, bays, loudly colored Appaloosas, Paints, grays – and all are honest, people loving, sensible and hardy. They can take you on trails you would never think a horse could negotiate, hardly breaking a sweat – carry you to rugged peaks with 50 mile views – deep, hidden canyons inhabited only by deer, javelinas, coatimundis and rabbits – or teach you how to work cows. They really enjoy cattle work, and you can see how the love of it is bred deep into their blood. You can trail ride them, lope them if you are qualified, climb mountains, or trailer them to distant trail-heads. They are obedient, lively yet sensible, and above all, honest.

Some of them have been with us for many years and are now retired, roaming the cattle ranch pastures by day, returning to their stall at night to eat special Senior sweet feed, happy until the day they're ready for the pasture in the sky. We feel we owe those that have worked here so long and so honestly, a happy retirement, and a dignified departure when the time comes. In 2005 four horses went to their rest, aged 34 to 39 – good, long, useful and contented lives! We still mourn them, but are comforted by the knowledge that their days were happy, tranquil and rewarding. What more can one ask of any life!

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  • Biggins
  • Bubba2
  • Bubbles
  • Cactus Jack
  • Doc
  • Joey
  • Lady
  • Mouse
  • Sabino
  • Sassy
  • Snip
  • Sohpie
  • Tango
  • Tex
  • Venn
  • Waylon

"...Somewhere in time's Own Space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some Paradise where horses go,
For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again."
                                      Stanley Harrison

The strangest thing has been happening lately here at the ranch. The staff and guests have noticed the horses talking - not in horse talk, but human talk!! So we set up a tape recorder, and it was so interesting, we decided to transcribe the tapes here. We will update this page whenever they decide to give us their take on ranch life."

Send a message to any one or all of the Grapevine Horses.

PLEASE NOTE: If for any reason your message has not appeared we ask that you send another message. We have a new system in place where multiple people get copies of the message. This will ensure all of your messages reach the horses.

Tape 88: Recorded 28 August 2010

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

Hello humans, this is the horses of Grapevine calling you and I must say that it’s been such a long time since we had a chance to chat with you! It’s the fault of the slave, of course, who never gives us the trumpet any more … says she has been too busy to run after us with it ….what? What d’ you say, Comanche?”


“I said, Tequila, that it’s very ungrateful for you to be grumbling like that, especially seeing as the reason the slave doesn’t have any time is because she has been running around with you to the doctor, if you please! And not just any doctor, but the special doctor in that big place, the one she says is so expensive, whatever that is! And as cranky as you have been, too! Quite undeserving!”

“Well, I can’t help it Comanche, if I got problems – and you would be cranky, too, if you had what I had. Nasty little lumps that itched and burnt on my private bit, so unpleasant – and nobody I could let know, until that new slave over at the other place, that Sarah, went around checking everyone for problems in that area and she found it! The slave never did that!”

“Well, of course not, after the last time she tried and you kicked her in the face! I remember that – knocked her down to the ground and then she had problems of her own! I don’t wonder she didn’t want to fool around with you that way again – but be happy that Sarah found it, so now you have had the right treatment, so be happy! But you never told me exactly what they did to you at that place!”

“Well, Comanche, it wasn’t much fun, to be sure! First the human there was talking about maybe having to cut the whole thing off – the WHOLE THING, Comanche! – can you imagine that! And he talked about laying me down on a table and it was going to be what the slave called ‘very expensive’ – but at least she said that I was worth it, as I had been a good horse! And then later the slave over there said it wasn’t as bad as he had thought and he could do it with me standing up, so he did that. And what he did was not too bad, I must say. He put something very cold on the place and I think it helped, because it stopped being irritable almost at once. Only I had to go back many times and have to go back at least one more time. I must say that the slave is being very nice about it, some slaves wouldn’t bother trying to make a horse well! But why are we talking about me? You were a proper pistol the other day, you were! When the slave took you out to ride with us and you lollygagged behind and got left when we loped off!”

Miss Sarah, the donkey at Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Miss Sarah

“Well, I had to eat some of that grass, I did, Tequila – be a sin not to! It’s almost up to my belly – I have never seen grass like it, and it tastes like …oooom!! Like grass has never tasted, so juicy and fresh! And so I was busy, and when I looked up you two were out of sight. So I called and called to you and then I decided I could have as nice a time by myself. I went up that other trail for a bit to see if you had gone that way, the way we all went last time, but you weren’t there – I did meet other horses though, with humans on them – I think they were surprised to see me, but anyway I had a good time eating that nice grass until I saw you coming back in the distance, so I backtracked down that other trail to meet you at the gate. And I hear that the slaves took little Yukie to the horse teacher slave the other day!!” “Yes, they did, and poor Bertie is all alone in the pen now – she is running around like a lost horse. They put her close to our pen so she wouldn’t be so lonely , into Monkey’s pen, and he was put out where they had been. It will be interesting to hear what Yuki says when he comes home, what all he learnt in that school! I heard one of the slaves saying that he put on a bit of a show when they put that thing on his back that the slaves sit on. They said he jumped around for a bit and squealed - I am looking forward to seeing what he has to say for himself when he comes home, all educated!”

“And so what else is new? Ah yes, I remember now, the slave was ever so mad at the donkeys the other day!! Would you believe, Tequila, they got into her yard and ate up all her - roses, she called it! ALL the roses! It had to be that Sarah, she will eat anything! And she pulled one of the bushes halfway out of its pot, she did. The slave was proper mad, she was. She thought at first it had been the deer and then she remembered that the donkeys were out all night and they have done it before, so she’s sure it was them. And anyway, we haven’t seen any deer close to the place – that Tuffy dog keeps them away, she does! So anyway, Sarah is in disgrace now and the patio gate is closed all the time! And I guess that’s all we can tell the humans this time, eh. Tequila? So we’ll sign off for the horses of Grapevine, HEEE HAAAW!!

The beautiful horses of Grapevine Canyon Ranch


Message To Your Favorite Horse


Archived "Comments from the Corral" entries

Tape 87: Recorded 3 July 2010


Hello there humans!! And for goodness sake what a time it’s been since we had the trumpet! You would think, wouldn't you, that some of the humans out there would have noticed and sent us one, wouldn’t you, Tequila!! And then they would know that the silence was entirely because you had not been well, but there you are…. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say!! But I for one am so glad you are back, Tequila…!!”

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“Oh, for goodness, sake, give over, Comanche, do! You talk as if I had been gone for ages and ages, instead of just a few days! And then you came back with me for the second time. It’s a good thing the slave knows us well enough to know that if you are not there, I won’t do so well! At first in that horse hospital, or whatever they call it, wasn’t so bad, there was a pretty filly on the other side across the way and we could visit, but when she went home, it was kind of lonely in there, no other horses, the doors shut at night, I am not used to that, I’m not. So I was glad when the slave said, the second time I had to go, that you should go with me.”

“Well, sure, and I’m so glad, too, because it was lonely in the corral without you, old buddy, though I must say that now that you’re back and doing well, you’re back to being an old grump, and that’s a fact! But let’s not waste any more time on bad things – let’s call up the horses in the other place and see what they’re up to! So hello, there – who wants the trumpet over there?”

Sabino, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Hi there, boys, this is Chiquita, and I am glad I snatched the trumpet from those guys in the other pen, because they never let us fillies have it! So I am glad you are back at work, Tequila, your slave was riding those other two big lumps she has there, I heard that when she tried to get off Chikala she couldn’t even reach the ground! Ha ha, that must have been funny. And Scotty – he is so wide now she can hardly get her legs around him! What are you eating, Scotty, that you have grown so fat? I guess it’s the mesquite blossoms, so sweet. Now we in the corrals here don’t get to eat those except when we’re on vacation, but you, you lucky sod, with all that acreage full of mesquite trees…”

“Oh stop your complaining, Chiquita, you have nothing to whine about! Take a look at yourself, you’re three axe handles across, you are! The other day, the slave said she was standing at the hitching rail and she said she recognized your face but not the rest of you, you have grown so huge. I even remember hearing her say that your mother, Chica, was so slim, and look at you! It’s all that easy living! I should say that this is Sabino … and so what else is new? Ah yes, we have some new slaves in the corrals now, they are very pleasant and we horses enjoy them quite a bit. One of them also has a horse, although she (the horse) is still at the other place – she has to be there for a month, to make sure that she doesn’t have some illness that she can give us! How nice of the slaves to take care of us like that. But anyway, the horses over there, who can see her, say she is very pretty – not very big, but very pretty. It will be nice to have some new blood around here.”

“Ah, yes, the old flirt, Sabino – it will be nice for you to have some new friends, that’s what you mean, don't you! This is Rojo, at the other place, and I can see her from here, and she is very pretty, so look forward to it! I have been put here with Bonnie and Buddy because the slaves said I was very thin, and I must say that since I came here, I have picked up quite a bit. One of the slaves rides me every Sunday and we do have a good time. Yesterday they also put in Gaucho – he has been losing weight, and the slaves want to take him to that place where Tequila was, for the slave there to see what’s wrong with him. I don’t think it’s very much, because since he’s come here, he’s put on at least 20 lbs and eats and eats. So I see the slave is coming with the feed bucket right now and I have to go make sure I get the right one. Take care, Sabino ……. And this is Rojo, signing off for the horses of Grapevine!! HHHE HOO.”

Tape 86: Recorded 10 May 2010

 “Ehh---hem! Hello, all! This is Comanche. It seems as though it has been a while since I have gotten on the trumpet…I apologize, but I have been a very busy horse! You see, my slave has been constantly fussing over Tequila recently and it takes a lot of attention from me! Tequila is supposed to be taking some medication just to help cleanse his stomach, but he has been making this very complicated for the slave. She has tried to trick him into eating this stuff in every way possible—but she can't fool him! He picks out all of the delicious morsels and leaves his medication behind. I find it quite humorous, but she doesn't seem to agree. But anyway, I will stop rambling…

…I wanted you to meet our new friends today!! We had four new horses join us recently, and I feel they deserve a proper introduction, so first the trumpet will be passed to Dolly…”


“Howdy, y'all! Dolly here…I am not sure what all this trumpet business is about, I never did know how to speak to the slave race before. But this is great, because I sure do love humans! Well, since you want to know a little bit about me—I have not been trained yet (whatever that is supposed to mean), so no humans are riding me. But I sure do love attention: rub my head and you are sure to fall in love with me. After all, I am quite gorgeous, so gorgeous in fact….”

“Dolly, stop bragging about yourself, it's not polite”

“But MOM, it's the truth….and don't embarrass me like that! Well, she sure ruined my speech. I guess there is not much more to say. So let me pass the trumpet to my mom…”


“Hello, humans. This is Isha speaking. I must apologize for my daughter; she has no manners whatsoever. Well, I arrived here with my daughter (Dolly) and 2 other horses. I am not quite as uhh---outgoing as my daughter is, but I am sure you will find me very sweet. I do have to agree that Dolly is very pretty, and I must say that she did inherit that from me! The humans will start riding me shortly, so once the wrangler slaves are ready for guests to ride me, I will be quite proud to carry you on my back. But Reno here is looking very anxious so I will let him get on the trumpet…”


“Hey there humans—this is Reno! I must apologize for these mares prattling on as typical females do! So a little about me: I would consider myself quite sensible, and very loving once you get to know me. Sometimes I am a little shy at first—but I will soon warm right up to you. I have a very strong body structure which makes me quite handsome, perhaps even regal. But my friend, Juanita, is practically jumping around because she is so excited to speak, so here she is…”


“I just wanted to say that I am a little offended by your comment about mares prattling; after all, you aren't much better yourself, Reno. Well, for starters, my name is Juanita… I am a very attractive Gray. I am very well built and very strong. I am also very smart and learn quickly, or at least that is what the slave Butch tells me. I am sure that once I am ready for guests, I will be well loved by everyone. Comanche is starting to look a little worn out from our talking, but I can't imagine why because---”

“Oh, just give me that trumpet back!! Whew, those new horses can go on, can't they? I think they are a bit of a handful, but my slave disagrees. I suppose she is right about them though—they will be a fine group of horses for the humans to ride. And I must admit, they are a handsome bunch…all very well built for the country out here. But don't tell them I said so; I don't believe they need anything more to add to their big heads!

I will say bye for now—I do believe I hear my slave calling for me. I think it must be time for a good head rub. I will be back on the trumpet soon!!”

Tape 85: Recorded 1 February 2010

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“So hello there, humans, and this is Comanche and the horses of Grapevine calling you….. I say, I am  a bit sick of this same old opening line, can’t we have something else to say, eh … eh… Tequila?  Can’t we say something else than this same old stuff all the time?”

“So don’t say it, if you don’t want to – give the trumpet to someone else who’s happy to get it, like ME! and then you don’t have to say it, what an idea!   So – HELLO THERE HUMANS, THIS IS THE HORSES OF GRAPEVINE CALLING YOU AND THIS IS HAPPY TEQUILA!!  - See? That’s how you do it.”

“Happy Tequila – snarff snarff!!  (That’s horse for laugh, humans, in case you don’t know)  Happy Tequila!  Ah well – if you believe that, I have some nice little horse pellets I’ll trade you …. But anyway, at least he said it, and that’s something, But we don’t have time for silliness, we have a trumpet here for … let’s see, it’s for…. Ah yes it’s for Bubba!   Bubba, come on, Bubba, here’s a trumpet for you……”

“Oka, okay, this is Bubba, I’m just coming, can’t you see I was eating!  And so who’s it from?  Ah, how nice, it’s from Jerry –


“Hey Bubba! Thanks pal! Had a great time with you this weekend...I was hoping to ride Casey again, but he was a little under the weather...You were a nice challenge for me and you guys teach me something new each time I'm at the Ranch...see you soon...Adios Amigo!”

“This is Bubba again and how nice to hear from you, Jerry, and it’s so nice that you trumpeted so soon after leaving here, it was SO nice to be with you.  I was sorry that Casey didn’t feel the best that day, but at least it gave us a chance to get acquainted.  I did have a good time riding with you, Jerry, you’re a nice human to be with.  And so are you happy back in your own paddock, Jerry?  Is it raining there, too? It was raining here for a few days and the slaves are ever so happy because there is water on the mountains and I guess the cows will have some water to drink after all. It’s nice for us, too, because the ground is softer and the air is pleasant – but all the same, if it rained all the time like some of the humans tell us it does in other places, we wouldn’t like that either – not nice to lie down in the mud and then get it all over you, yuck.  But a bit is nice, like we had.  WHAT! WHAT Chief?  What do you want?”

“This is Chief and I haven’t had the trumpet for ever so long, so I thought I would just say something to you humans out there, and it’s this.  You come and see us when the cold weather is gone because I think we are going to have all kinds of pretty weeds come up and it will be nice to ride through.   The other horses don’t think I appreciate lovely things but I do – I really enjoy a nip of a pretty flower from time to time, and it does look like this spring it might be nice out here.  So that’s my bit and now I am going back to see what’s left in the feeder.”

Comanche and Tequila

Look Out Tequila!

“Hrmph – this is Comanche again and it’s no surprise that he’s off to the feeder again, that’s all he does these days!  Hey, humans, we’ve been out riding again, with my slave on Tequila and I was trailing behind and it occurred to me to see what would happen if I pretended I was Tuff the dog, and so I sneaked up on Tequila and nipped him in the britches!  And it was ever so fun! He hopped a little, and the slave (who was on him but didn’t see me do it – humans are very shortsighted, aren’t they, they can only see straight ahead!) so she said Ho, what are you doing! and Tequila settled down again, so I crept up again and went Nip! again and he pinned his ears back and hopped a bit – and she got cross again, but not with me, she didn’t see me doing it!  I had a very superior time of it that afternoon, I did.  I can quite see is why it is that Tuff the dog is so obsessed with biting everyone on the heel, it is very entertaining.  Poor Tequila – by the time we got home he was quite grumpy about the whole thing, but then, that is his normal state anyway!!”

“This is Tequila and I want you know, young Comanche, that you are quite the irrit, you are, and I will sic Tuff dog onto you next time and that’ll keep you quiet!  In fact, I think I’ll ask the slave to ride you next time and I will run alongside making a big hairy thing of myself the way you do!   But this is enough of our stupidities for the slaves out there, I’m sure, so I’ll just say, I hope it rains on you as well as it does on us and I hope  all your tanks are full and your grass is tall!  This is the horses of Grapevine signing off and this is Tequila, HEEE HAA!”

Tape 84: Recorded 31 December 2009

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“So hello there, humans, this is the horses of Grapevine calling, and I must say that once again it’s been  a very unsatisfactory service around here, very unsatisfactory, I must say!  This is Tequila calling you and we horses have almost given up trying to get  the word out, we may as well be prisoners here, for all the outside contact we get!  It’s been most…..”

“Oh Tequila shut up, do – this is Comanche and I have had enough of this bellyaching.   Here it is beautiful weather, the flies are gone, the grass is still tasty and we get turned out every day, what are you grumping about? And the slave hasn’t even been out with us too much,  so we had all the time to rest and do nothing!”

“What do you mean, hasn’t been out with us – so what do you call that lumping around the mountains last week, eh, eh??   And you, instead of following behind like an obedient number two horse, you had to go and get lost, so that the slave and I had to go backtracking to find you!  And then, suddenly, there you were, behind us, huffing and puffing down my back!”

“Well, I can’t help it if you two couldn’t find me!  It was funny, though – there you were, the two of you, backtracking it up that creek bed, and I climbed up on top and I could see you from above, it was ever so nice a feeling, ha ha, looking down on you!!  And then when I called down to you, the poor old slave thought I got hurt and went even further back to look for me in that creek, ever so far, and there I was, all the time up on top, laughing!   It was a very fun day for me, it was!”

“Hrphm, it may have been fun for you, but me – it made me do at least a half mile more, it did!  But we haven't time for your foolishness, here we have a trumpet from Petra, and it’s for Casey and we are taking up all this time with this rubbish!!”

Casey the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

”Hi Casey, for sure you enjoyed your rides with me - we were supposed having a 3 hour ride and we came back after 4 hours, as we were always last ! Of course you noted in the very beginning that I did not have any experience with horses, so you took your time, trying a leaf here or a bit of grass over there, while I was just passenger. But I enjoyed every minute. The second day was better for me ( sorry) but I started understanding what to do to make you move a bit faster. But anyway you are really cool, even when the bees attacked us you didn’t\'t even twinkle, while mouse and Smokey\'s horse were getting quite nervous (which I can understand, being attached by bees is for sure no fun). Well, to cut it short I think you are amazing and a perfect horse for a beginner, and I really hope we meet again. Have fun with all the horse buddies and the slaves - Petra (Bremen, Germany)”

“So – it’s for Casey.  Casey!!!  CASEY!!!       CASEY!!  Here is a trumpet for you!! And sorry we’ve been so delayed getting it to you, it’s all Comanche’s fault, he doesn’t check the trumpets often enough – everything in this corral is left to me, that’s the trouble…. Oh, here you are, Casey.”

“Eh, this is Casey!  And who is it for me?  Ah, hello Petra, how nice to hear from you and you did say you would trumpet me, and I had about given you up, it’s been so long. But no wonder, I see you did call me ages ago and these lazy horses didn’t bother checking the trumpets,  I must say the service around these corrals is really awful.  But how nice that we connected at last, and I’m so glad you had a good time.  You didn’t push me too much and we had a nice lazy ride, ...wasn't it nice?  And those bees didn’t worry me a bit, you know – we hardly ever get them around here. I knew they would go away if we just stayed cool.  Of course, Mouse, for all her size, is a mouse at heart, and gets worried easily, but I don’t panic – not unless the hay slave is late with dinner!  Then I do get into bit of a dither.  Anyway, Petra, it was so nice of you to have called me, and again, I’m sorry I’m answering a bit late, but you know, it’s not my fault, it’s those lazy horses up there who get the trumpets and take forever to send them onto us!   We horses at Grapevine are quite badly done by in that way!  Lots of slaves trumpet us and we don’t …… WHAT? NO!  I will not give it to you!  I will not!  GO AWAY TEQUILA!     DARN!! He got it from me!”


“And I should say so, too, this is Tequila and how dare you rubbish us when we work our hooves to the bone delivering your messages and chasing after you  and…. and….”

“Tequila, you old grump, you will have a heart attack if you carry on like this, this is Comanche, and I must say that we were a bit lazy this time with the trumpets, so I apologize to Casey and his slave, and I must tell you slaves out there, this will never happen again, never, because I have finally got control of the trumpet from Tequila and I promise to run it in a proper, horsy fashion!   So this is Comanche, signing off for the horses of Grapevine, and I do believe that you slaves are celebrating some special day some time now, so do have a good one, and come to see us horses of Grapevine!  HEEE HAWWW!!!”

Tape 83: Recorded 22 October 2009

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“HEEE HOOO humans, this is the horses of Grapevine calling and you would think, wouldn’t you, that we’d been muzzled, and our trumpet taken away with the time it’s taken …” 


“Oh Tequila, do shut up, you talk too much anyway, this is Comanche and you know we’ve been busy and anyway, let’s get to the news…. Our slave has decided that five horses was too much for her to ride – well I should say so, too, she’d have to ride every day twice a day to keep up with all of us!! Five sure was too much, so anyway she sent the others to  the other place to do a bit of work. A good thing, too – lazy Mr. Scotty’s over there making a living for a change, and Chikala, and Harvi – and that leaves Tequila and me here, and that’s just right with us.  We go for nice rides, at least the slave rides Tequila and I run alongside and it’s a lot of fun. I get to eat grass and then gallop and catch up and for every mile Tequila makes, I make about 2 – and dog Tuffy makes 4 – so when we get back we’ve all had a nice work out.  But Scotty says …”

“Here, Spot – this is Scotty – and you stop putting words into my mouth, please!! I will say my own bit, so I will.  Well, as Spot over there told you, I’m over at the other corrals and I actually like it quite a bit. There are a lot more horses here to talk with, and to annoy, and I enjoy doing that. And then I get taken out more often for rides and that’s kind of fun too. And Harvi is here with me and that big black and white piece, what’s his name again, Chikala, he’s here too, getting a bit of a workout.  But I see we have a trumpet here from….. well, isn’t that disgusting, it’s been ever so long!! Just look at this, this trumpet’s been sitting here for quite a while, and it’s from Jennifer for Belle.  And so how is a horse supposed to keep his social life going, when trumpets go unanswered for so long, eh, eh?  Belle, Belle, come here, Belle – here is a trumpet for you. I don’t know what the horse world here would come to if it wasn’t for me !  Here is a trumpet for you, Belle, from Jennifer.”

‘Dear Belle, How are you doing? I hope they keep feeding you well at the ranch. I just want to say that those geldings Comanche and Tequila have nothing on you. We both know you are the smoothest and the prettiest ride on the ranch. Thanks for our beautiful trip to the fort last visit, and I hope to come riding with you the way, how do you like rounding up cows” Jennifer

“Hi there Jennifer, this is Belle, your own little Belle.   I’m doing all right, and of course they are feeding us here, and thanks for saying that about Comanche and Tequila – you know, they’re the boss horses here and what they say goes, but I do think I give a better ride than they do.  I’m so glad you enjoyed being with me last time. It was a fun trip to the Fort, wasn’t it?  I always like to think of the horses there so long ago, when they rode out of the fort for their patrol duty.  Humans think we horses don’t know about things like that, but we do, because we can feel the past around us and we know what happened there.  And I do like rounding up cows, I am a Quarter Horse, after all, and we all like that.  It’s a great break from the usual, and I love to push them along, and if they’re too slow, to nip them on the bum!!  That’s ever so fun!  And thank you for saying nice things about me, Jennifer – as a matter of fact, the head slave the other day was talking to me and rubbed my face, said nice things about me, too.  So I hope you come back and visit us again soon, Jennifer, and maybe we can go chase some cows!  They’re getting too lazy and fat and they need a bit of chasing around!  So thanks for calling me, and now I’d better give the trumpet back to Tequila…. Or Scotty…. Or Comanche?? It’s getting confusing here with all these horses thinking they’re the boss!   Oh, OK then – here it is, Scotty!  Bye Jennifer!  Trumpet me again and I promise I won’t take so long to answer!!!”

“Ugh, but I say! These fillies can jabber on!  This is Scotty again and I see we have another trumpet here for….. let’s see ….. give it here, Comanche, I’m doing this today!  It’s for Boots and Bubbles from Alison and Reg.  Well, how nice is that!!  Hi Alison, Hi Reg. It was nice seeing you here, even though I didn’t have much to do with you personally.  But anyway, here are your two, here’s Boots, and here’s Bubbles ……”

“Hi from Alison and Reg - Had a brilliant time. – and arrived home safely. Thanks for such a great time. Hopefully, would love to see you all next year.”

Bubbles, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“This is Bubbles, for Alison.  How are you, Alison, glad to know that you enjoyed yourselves here and Boots says Hi too.  We had a good time with you and do you know what happened just after you left? We had such a storm that we horses thought it was summer all over again. It got cloudy and water came down from the skies – not enough to make the slaves happy, they are still grumbling that it wasn’t enough – but it was enough for us horses, we got wet and it was fun, we rolled in the mud and made the slaves mad because they had to clean us up!   It didn’t last too long, though, but it washed the dust off everything, the slaves said. Otherwise we’re doing well, and thanks for letting us know you are back in your own corrals.  So this is Bubbles, and here is the trumpet, Boots. You don’t want it?? Ok then, Scotty, do you want it back? Oh look, he’s gone to eat again. I must say he does that rather a lot, doesn’t he?  Tequila, do you want it??   OK here it is…”

“This is Tequila – really, these horses today have no manners, and you would think that Scotty would know better than to go and stuff his face when he should be talking to the humans!  And to think that we raised him here, in these corrals! Actually, Comanche, you raised him, and evidently not too well!  I would have done a better job of making him see on what side of the fence his hay is….. I remember he was always an ungrateful little brat, always so full of himself. Ah well, that’s a buckskin for you – but, what can you do, the times change and we must change with the times…. I heard my slave say that one day, and I rather liked it. It has a nice, educated ring to it.  So now I must go and eat that stuff they call hay – I would rather have that nice sweet sticky grainy stuff that we get just a little of, but no, it’s old dry hay…”

”Oh Tequila, don’t grump, hay is very nice.  Just think of all the horses in the world who …..okay I was just leaving!!   So goodbye, humans, from the horses of Grapevine, and we promise to get to that trumpet sooner next time….. We have problems sometimes with our slave who has to give it to us, and she’s lazy sometimes.  So anyway, take care, from the horses of Grapevine, this is Comanche,  HEEE HOOO.”

Tape 82: Recorded 28 August 2009

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

Hee ho-o-o- there humans, this is Comanche ….. oh, OK Tequila, here it is! What a grump!  Always wants to be the main horse talker, when he knows it should be me! Here you are, then!”

“Yes, yes, harrumph harrumph!! Humans, this is Tequila and you know that even if the brat here thinks he’s the main enchilada, it’s actually me, Tequila, who runs the show here.  And do you know what our slave has thought up now for us to do?  (Yes, yes, I’m getting to the trumpets, I just have to tell the slaves out there about what’s happening here now…..)  Our slave has a new idea – she takes me to ride on, and lets the brat, this Comanche brat, to run alongside, empty!  I mean, how is that! Here I am slaving away, lumping her around the mountains, and there he is, running behind, stopping to eat, meandering by a bush, then kicking his heels up to catch up!   There is no justice in the world, there isn’t! But anyway, enough of this, I have work to do and I am a very responsible horse.  We have lots and lots of trumpets today and all because our slave had the silly idea of going away someplace, day after day. A vacation, she called it. Stupid, Icall it! There she was, trotting about, and here the trumpets piled up! So, I am sorry, humans, but there you are, when you have an irresponsible slave…….. what?  Oh OK, I’m getting to it!For Heavens’ sake, Comanche!  And the first one is, let me see – is from -  oh, I can’t tell which is the first one, really, the lack of efficiency in this barn is beyond belief! They’re all mixed up, out of order, so I will just have to take them as they come.  The first one is from Jerry for Casey.  Casey!! Casey, come here, here’s a trumpet for you from your friend Jerry.”

Jerry with Casey
Jerry Van Sant with Casey

Howdy my friend... Just wanted to drop you a line to say "Thank You" for taking such good care of me during my first visit to your home...We had a great time visiting with all the staff, but you were the highlight of my visit! You knew I didn’t know ANYTHING about riding, but made sure I felt very safe and confident of myself while in your saddle...You completely changed the way I feel about I know they are not "all" stubborn or hard to handle...I already miss you, but will be visiting again in January and can't wait to "ride the range" with you again...Your pal, Jerry Van Sant

“And hello, Jerry, this is Casey, and I’m happy you had a good time on me.  I enjoy taking humans around our country and showing them all my special places! And you were nice to be with, you didn’t annoy me like some humans can do. And we did have a good time – I hope you come back some day and see me again. Tequila over there says we have a lot of trumpets today, because our main slave went away somewhere and so he says we should keep it short, but I don’t often get to talk to my humans, and this is so fun, I do hope you’ll trumpet me again, and I’ll make sure we will answer sooner!  So now I have to go, Tequila over there is making faces like he has a race to run, so goodbye, Jerry, all best, heee haw, your friend Casey!”

“Oh my goodness, I thought he would never finish!  Really, (and you know, of course, that this is Tequila again) I am an efficient horse and I can’t stand all this dithering! And so who is next???  I see it’s a trumpet from Laura to Peanut.  PEANUT!! Come here, Peanut!  (Really I can’t see what the humans see in this Peanut, I can’t, he’s bossy to the other horses and what a surprise, because he’s not so very big, but he sure can shove them around. I watch him when they come over here on vacation.)  Ah Peanut – here is a trumpet for you from Laura.

Laura with Peanut
Laura with Peanut

“PEANUT! I miss u so much! I cant wait to come back in the future and see you again. you made my first visit to the ranch very enjoyable. your a very loveable horse but also have your cheeky side like every time we walked passed that bush and every time you tried to sit init to rub your belly! I hope you're being a good boy and playing good with all the horses. I’ll be back probably when Eve comes to see Sabino. be happy and I’ll see you soon. Laura Collingswood xx

Hi, Laura, this is your Peanut – and how lovely to hear from you!   And you know, Laura, all that jumping around on bushes is to scratch my belly, to get all the flies off!  You did know that, didn’t you? I wasn’t trying to be difficult, but it’s very hard for a horse to put up with those little biting flies, it is!   And Eve wants to come back and see Sabino??  He will be happy to hear that, so I’ll tell him.  And it’s not true what Tequila said about me being bossy … well, perhaps just a little bit – but only with horses who try to take advantage of me. You know, Laura, until I came here I didn’t have a very good life, the humans in the other place were nasty and demanding, and the other horses gobbled up all the food, and so I learnt to take care of myself.  I must say that I like this place, and I have the head human here well trained to give me a goody every time she passes me!  It was really great riding with you, Laura, and I do look forward to seeing you again. But now I must go, as I see the feeding slave coming, and as I am not a big horse, I have to make sure I am at the feeder first so I can get my head in there before they gobble it all up!! And you know, Laura, once I have my head in there, there’s no getting it out, I just keep at it till I suck it all down, ha ha ha!! So Heee Haw, Laura, see you soon, I hope!!”

“Well!  Did you hear that! He has to get in there to eat first! I ask you (this is Tequila again, of course) all that  horse does is eat!  But never mid, who’s next??  This is a lovely bag of trumpets, I must say, perhaps the slave ought to go away more often and more humans would trumpet us. So… let’s see ….. ah yes, this is a sad one, this one is from Janice for Nevada.  Nevada, you remember, went to the sky a long time ago, how nice of his human to remember him.  Nevada was a very good feeling horse.  I remember the very top head slave here, the one who also went to the sky some time back, telling our slave about seeing Nevada play with the other horses. He said that Nevada was running so fast and another horse jumped in front of him and he couldn’t stop and so guess what?? He jumped right over the top of the other horse!! Our very top head slave saw that!! What a horse Nevada was. I know our slave misses him very often.”

NO, NO, Tequila, you are a dolt!! I remember that story, and I should say that this is Comanche, the REAL important horse here, I remember that story, as I said, and it wasn’t Nevada at all, it was a horse called Ghost, a very long time ago, long before we came here!  You do get things mixed up, Tequila!!    No, no, don’t do that, I was just leaving…..”

 “Fhrrmph!! just as well, so GO!  But I think the brat is right, at that, I think it was someone called Ghost. But never mind – it must have been fun to see. I wonder if I could do that, be doing a hundred and then jump over another horse. Ah well …. No point trying, I don’t have very long legs – but let’s see what this human has to say…”

“Nevada - you are in horse heaven - but I will never forget…”  Janice

“And so … how nice!  A bit sad, though – but Janice, every time you see those white streaky clouds in the sky, that’s the horses in sky running free, no more saddles, no more bellyaches, all free, lovely – always remember that! And there are so many to remember and so many to see up there, racing each other on windy days.

But no point in missing them – they’re having a good time.  So who’s next??  Ah, from Cherokee – so how are you Cherokee?”

Hi, this is Cherokee and you are very inefficient over there, Tequila!! I was going to say that in less than 2 weeks I will be entrusting my slave Don to you to take care of, but the way you horses handle your trumpets, he is there already, and he says he’s having a great time!!  I have tried to keep him in shape, but then you know he is getting up there in years and it gets harder and harder to maintain. I keep him in shape by having him clean my stall 4-5 times a week and carry my buckets and 50 pound bags of feed and carry 40 pound bag of woody pet for my stall. I keep him on the trail for 2-3 hours at a time and when it's too wet to ride outside I set up poles and jumps indoors so he won't loose anything. I have done my part so I expect you to do the same. I expect him to clean your area and feed, so put him to work and while you are on the trail work him. When he returns I expect you to send him back to me the same way I sent him to you. many thanks again!!”  Cherokee

“My goodness, this is Tequila and I don’t know if our head slave would like that, Cherokee, if we did all that to your Don!  He might go back all stove up and then you wouldn’t like that, would you!  He is doing very well here, riding and doing his best to keep in shape by carrying the things off our backs, what’s it called again, a saddle? And also raking up the mess we make, but you sure have kept him looking trim, Cherokee.  And he is so fond of you!  He’s always telling us….but wait a minute this is for … who is it for again??  Did you want to talk to Joey? – I might have known it’s for one of those spotted horses… Joey!! Come over here, Joey, here’s Cherokee wants to visit with you.”


“Hello there Cherokee, this is Joey and I must apologize for Tequila over there, it seems he has really got carried away with himself gabbing like that, today!!  Yes, I have been taking good care of Don for you, making sure he sits right and does all the things you taught him. He’s doing very well, I must say, you are a good teacher. We have been on some fast rides, and on lots of the nice evening rides – these are fun nowadays, it gets dark so soon, so we come back after dark lots of times.  That can be fun, especially for the evil minded horses!  We horses can see very well in the dark, but we know that the humans can’t, and some horses try and wipe them off on trees! That’s not very nice, now, is it!! But I wouldn’t do that to Don, I always dodge around the tree so he doesn’t get stuck in it, though it would be funny, heee heee heee, to see someone get hung up – but not Don, he’s too nice!  The evening rides will soon be over for sometime now, we only do them in the warm days when the days are long and we horses enjoy them, in the cool of the evening. So what are you doing with yourself, Cherokee, when Don is away?? Snoozing and eating, I bet, eating and snoozing!!  Say hello to your stable mate there, we hear a lot about him from Kathy, too.  Oh, here’s Tequila for the trumpet again!!!  Take care, Cherokee!!”

Lady, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“No, Joey, this is Comanche again, and talking of humans getting stuck in trees, were you there that time, Tequila, when our slave was leading a ride, and she took the wrong trail and there were ever so many trees there, and one with a low branch. So she turned back and said to the humans behind her ’Look out for the tree, just bend over like this’… and the human behind didn’t bend, but she grabbed the branch instead, and her silly horse – now who was that? I think it was another spotty mare like Lady – yes, it was, it was Chica! - anyway, she kept walking, and the human didn’t let go of the branch and rolled off the back like a watermelon!  It was very entertaining, we horses laughed and laughed about it…. but later, when it was safe to do it!  It was really very funny!! The human who fell off was very nice about it, though – but every time my slave and I come to a low branch, I think about that and laugh again. All in all, it’s rather fun to be a horse at the Grapevine corrals!!  And so now, I will say goodbye to all the humans, Tequila – HEEE HAWWW,  this is Comanche signing off for the horses of Grapevine!!”

Tape 81: Recorded 13 July 2009

Sabino, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Sabino!!!  SABINO!!! Come here, Sabino!!!   Oh, I should say first Hello humans, this is the horses of Grapevine calling you and this is ….. oh here you are at last!!   I should say that this is Rusty from the Grapevine corrals and I finally got ahold of the trumpet before those grabby horses from over the other way got it!!  And look, the first one is for Sabino, my special friend.  Here, Sabino, listen!!”

“My beautiful boy!  It was so great to ride the wonderful trails again on you, my beautiful Sabino. You are everything I wish for in a horse, gentle, sturdy, responsive and I feel very safe on your back. You would have got on great with my beautiful paint mare Kizzy who like Rio is now no longer with us. I also rode Rio and was so sad to hear he had died. Sabino please take care and be safe and happy. I will be with you again as soon as I can. Eve x”

”Hello, Eve, this is Sabino and it is so good to hear from you!!  And did you really have a good time being with me, Eve?  Because I enjoyed being with you, you are nice to horses and we really appreciate kind riders.  Yes, we horses also miss Rio, but it’s a good thing when a horse can go to the sky from the place where he was working and where he was happy, and not from some other awful place!  So our horses are happy, knowing they are safe. And we often see Rio, along with the others, when it’s windy, up in the sky, running free, so we know it’s a good place to be. I wonder if they have better hay up there?? What do you think, Rusty?”

“What?   I wasn’t listening – look, the feeding slave is coming.”

“I said I wonder if they have better hay up in the sky.”

“I don’t think they have hay at all, I think it’s all green grass, as high as your knees, and lovely water holes and lots of shade trees, and I think it will be a good place to be when the time comes. But in the meantime we have work to do here and lots of fun with outside slaves coming to be with us and it is good to make them happy. So that’s what I think and now all this talk of grass has made me hungry and I am going over to see what they put in the feeder!”

“That Rusty!  All he thinks about is his stomach – now I am not like that, though I must say I enjoy my dinner too.  So Eve, thank you so much for trumpeting me and I hope you can come again soon and we can do some more trails together!”

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

WHAT was all that blather!!  Comanche!  Did you leave the trumpet over there so those foolish horses could drivel into it!  Give it here, I say!  This is Tequila and I am amazed that …..”


“Oh Tequila, do stop!  You are so grumpy, it’s a wonder the slave still likes you so much.  And I know she likes me so much because she let me come along with you two for a ride the other day, now that was so much fun!!  I really enjoyed running alongside without a saddle, and no rider and no halter, just free and watching you have to work! Ha, ha, ha!! That was A LOT OF FUN!!  I hope the slave takes me again next time she goes riding on you.  And so let’s tell the slaves out there what is new with us….  Well, it finally turned warmer and started to rain some!  We had some nice little rain showers, not enough, the slave grumbles, but enough to make the grass green so that the cows and the donkeys don’t want to come into the corrals at night. That makes our slave so mad!! Because then the gate can’t be left open and then she has to open it when she goes to the other place to do whatever it is she does there in the evenings. But Clemmie the cow says that’s not her concern, she is trying to get across that second pasture over to the other corrals because she says she knows the hay pile there is enormous! and doesn’t have any fence around it and she could stand there ALL NIGHT and eat!  Though it’s difficult to see how much more she could pack into her stomach, it’s so huge already. Our slave always says that when she walks, the earth trembles, whatever that means!  So anyway, the feeding slave has to chase the cows all over the pasture with a bucket of that nice sweet stuff hoping they will follow it and come in for the night. And the other day – I saw it, it was ever so funny!! - Clemmie banged into the slave who was trying to get her to come in – it was another one from the other place, not our usual one, but the one with long hair – and she stuck her nose into the bucket and sucked up all that sweet stuff and then pushed the slave over and went away. It WAS funny! And so then the gate had to be left shut.  That Clemmie has always been a card, I remember from the days when we all used to go for walks with my slave, and with Clem and the goats.  But that was a long time ago, now our slave doesn’t take us out anymore with the goats. I think it’s because of that mean old Tuffy dog, who bites at our heels.  But goodness, look at the time, and here comes our normal feeding slave and here come the cows and the donkeys!! So now it’s time for our special feed.  So goodbye…..”

“WELL – FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!  I can’t believe any horse could blather on for that long!  Come and put this feed bag on your nose and shut up or the slave will never send us the trumpet again!!!!  This is Tequila, saying thanks for the trumpet, Eve, and this is the horses of Grapevine saying HEEEE….HOOOOO.”

Tape 80: Recorded 17 June 2009

Alberta the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Well, hello, there humans, and this is the horses of Grapevine calling you again!! And this is – and you haven’t heard from me before, so you don’t know me, but this is Bertie, the little filly …..”

“What, what, wha….?? And who gave the trumpet to that brat, eh, eh?? This is Tequila and I think the young of this world are getting way above themselves, I never saw the like!! Give it here, young Bertie!”

”Ah now, Tequila, let her have a chance to talk, after all she has never ever said a word on the trumpet, the last time it was her stable mate, that little Yuki horse, wasn’t it? Let her talk – this is Comanche and I am a reasonable horse, I am….. go on, little one!”

“Thanks, Comanche, this is Bertie again. (So there, Tequila!!) As I was going to say, my real name is Alberta, that’s for some place that I came from, but our slave calls me Bertie, she says it’s shorter. Anyway, not so long ago the slave put me in with two new horses, at least they were new to me, one of them is that beautiful mare Bonny, and the other one is a horse of two colors called Faro. The other horse that was in there with them, that handsome buckskin, has gone, too bad, he was s-o-o-o good-looking, but he was a bit grumpy and full of himself and nasty to Bonny, so just as well he’s been moved And so what do we have here today (see Tequila, I CAN SO DO IT!) – ah yes, it’s a trumpet for Lady from someone called Dianne. I don’t know all the humans who come to the other place, you see, Dianne, but I will call Lady for you. HI HI HI LADY!!! COME HERE, THERE’S DIANNE WANTS TO TALK TO YOU!!”

“Oh for Pete’s sake, does she have to yell like that, Comanche?? She’d never survive in the wild, she’d call all the lions and wolves and who knows who!!”

“Ah Tequila, chill out – there’s no wolves here …. But here’s Lady. Come on, Lady, here’s a trumpet for you from your friend Dianne!”

“Lady, this is Dianne and I was really sorry to hear that your friend Rio had gone across the Rainbow Bridge. I wanted to let you know it is a wonderful place where all the animals go to wait for their special people and animal friends, so don’t be too sad. Wendy and I are coming to the ranch in Aug., and I can't wait to see you again. I sure hope you're not on vacation.”

Lady, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“This is Lady, Dianne, and thank you for saying nice things about Rio. And we horses know that it’s a good place to go, we often see the horses that had gone already run across the sky when it’s windy, so we know they’re there, and we think it will be nice to be with them. And I am so glad you are coming back to see us, I will check and see and make sure that I’m not on vacation. We horses do enjoy our vacations, though, and you should have seen what happened the other day!! The horses coming back from vacation had got into some kind of a mess with bees, the slaves thought at first, they were all swelled up around the legs and so the slaves there went to see to find the bees’ nest to get rid of them so they wouldn’t sting us horses again, as the last lot that came back had the same problem. Anyway, the slaves over at the other place where we go for vacation walked and walked, so the other horses who are there now, told us, and they couldn’t find anything, and finally they figured out what it was – guess, guess!! It was ants! There was this whole big mess of ants in one part of the corral and they were making their way to the other side, right across where the horses stood to eat! And so of course, they crawled up their legs and bit them, uh, nasty! But they’re OK today and the slaves went and killed the ants off. Our head slave said she was kind of sorry for the ants, but that they should know they can’t hurt us horses, now that was nice of her, don’t you think? Anyway, that’s what's new here with us, and so I will look forward to seeing you again, Wendy. And so now I see the feed slave coming so I’d best get over there before the other horses gobble up the best hay!! Toodely oooo!”

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“Toodely –oo?? Toodely oo? Is that what she said? I can’t believe horses these days, Comanche, I can’t. This is Tequila and I must say that I am a very conventional horse, I believe in the old ways, I do, and horses just don’t say toodley-oo! Un-be-lievable! But I saw you went out with the slave this morning, Comanche – so how was it today?? Did you take her through that trail where she always gets all cut up with the bushes?”

“Yes, we did, Tequila, but guess what – we were alone today, so she made me stop and she took out those lopper things and whacked a whole lot of that scraggly bush off, so I guess now the slaves can go loping through there and they won’t get all scratched up. But guess what else she said, Tequila! She said next time she’s going to ride on you and I, I am GOING TO COME ALONG, just along for the ride, free, the way we used to go with the goats! Then we’ll be able to run together and have a good time, all three of us. I can’t wait, Tequila, that will be SO fun!! And so now this is the horses of Grapevine signing off…… do you want to do it?? OK then – this is Comanche, signing of FOR THE HORSES OF GRAPEVINE!!!! HEEEE-HAAAW!”

Tape 79: Recorded 7 May2009


“Hello there, humans, this is the horses – oh, I AM sick of saying the same old, same old – I’ll start again …. Hello humans this is Comanche from Grapevine calling you – now that sounds MUCH better, don’t you think Tequila?  More … sort of ….. dignified.  They ought to know by now that I am not only one of the horses of Grapevine, but in fact, the head horse of Grapevine…..!!  Anyway, this is the head horse of Grapevine answering a trumpet we have here for … who is it for again? Just look, it’s for that darn Peanut again!!  Peanut, Peanut, come here, there’s another trumpet for you. Just goes to show, some horses are just popular, can’t think why…..”

“This is Peanut, and so what d’ya want, Comanche?? Can’t you see I’m busy – and anyway, you can tell that slave of yours that I’m not a bit happy with her, not a bit, no, not a bit.  The other day I was going out on the ride and she came into the arena and I smiled at her and poked her with my nose, just to let her know I was there and expected  some goodies, you know, the way I always do, and she said there was no time, the ride had to leave! Can you even imagine that!! I MEAN! How long would it take her to go to that shed or whatever they call it and get me some goodies!  I was pretty mad – and I still am.  That’s no way to treat a horse…..”

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“Oh for heaven’s sake, is there anyone over there that can shut this nag up??  This is Tequila, and I can’t believe this blathering.  Why don’t you….”

“No, YOU keep quiet, Tequila! What do YOU know about how things are over here, you’re in the other corral eating your fool head off, and we horses here are working much harder than you, so I can quite see why Peanut is upset!  I should say that this is Bonita – the beautiful white mare – and if you won’t keep quiet, I’ll come over there and kick you, I will, and as you know, I’m pretty good at that!!  So here, Peanut, you just complain, because if you don’t, you don’t get, that’s the rule of life … I know that!  Anyway, so what’s with this trumpet that someone said is here?? Where is it?”

”Hi Peanut! This is Debbie from Phoenix. Thanks so much for taking me on the trails during my visit to the Ranch! I had a great time taking in the sights with you. You're wonderful to ride and deserved each of the neck pats that I gave you. I heard through the "grapevine" that you are retired? You didn't tell me that when you were loping and constantly ready to keep moving through the trails with your head held high! You had me fooled! You are quite a great horse to ride and I would love to show you the trails in Phoenix if you ever come to the city. I also heard that you don't like to share much with the other horses. Yes, I know that you're an amazing and special horse, maybe even the best one around, though you'll get to enjoy things over there more once you can share a bit better with the others. Just try to be nice to the other horses when they want a sip of water, don't beg too much for extra snacks and I bet your humans will let you stretch your legs in the pastures with the others on vacation in no time. If you can do that, maybe the humans there will let me bring you some apples the next time I come visit you!”

Peanut the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Hello there, Debbie, how nice to hear from you and this is Peanut, and I am NOT retired! Whatever gave you that idea?  They brought me over to the other place for a while, but I am so popular with the visiting slaves that they brought me back after I had a bit of a rest, and I am very glad, because I really like to visit with them and take them around, and be social. I am a very social horse, and when you come next time, do remember to bring me some goodies to eat, I never seem to get enough goodies to eat. I mean there’s plenty of hay and all that stuff, but I like those little bits that taste different, I do like those. I also like it when the slave takes a handful of those little green things and gives me them to me to munch on….. And you say you will bring me….apples?? And so what are they, Debbie??  Oh, I think Comanche talked about “apples” one time – he said they make your mouth all slobbery.  That’s good, we horses like a slobbery mouth, it keeps our teeth from being dry.  A very bad thing, to have dry teeth, you know, Debbie, it makes it difficult to wiggle your lips. So yes, do bring me some of them, those apples. And in the meantime I’ll see if I can talk Comanche’s slave into bringing me some, he says she gives them to him sometimes. Anyway, it was nice to talk with you Debbie – so now I have to go over and see if there’s any alfalfa left – hope all the greedy horses didn’t gobble it all up!!”

“This is Comanche again and I see we have another trumpet here for….. who is it for?  My goodness, it’s for Rio!! But Rio is no longer here!   Look Tequila, this is for Rio and he’s gone to the sky!!  Let’s listen to it anyway…”

“Just got word that you are finally in a place, after oh so long, where you can run like the wind. Sorry we never did get to do that together my friend... but not to worry... we'll settle that in the next life... miss you buddy – your friend Lou.”

“Oh, look, Comanche, isn’t that interesting – this IS for Rio  and he’s gone to the sky.  I think he’ll be able to hear it from there, don’t you Comanche?? This is Lady and I was a special friend of Rio’s, but I am sure he is better off in the sky.  This spring there have been many, many days when you could see the white horses running across the sky, and I just know that Rio was one of them.  I think he was running alongside Cloudy!  It must be nice, don’t you think, horses, to be finally safe and up in the sky and be able to run and be free!!  Anyway, that was nice of Rio’s friend Lou to trumpet us, and, Lou, we horses know that he is doing very well where he is, like I said, we saw him running there just the other day. Ah well, here comes the hay slave, I must go see what she’s putting in there.  So take care, Lou, take care, humans, it was nice trumpeting with you and this is Lady, saying HEEEE HOOO for the horses of Grapevine!”

REALLY!! And so who is this Lady that she feels she can say goodbye for all of us, eh, eh, Tequila!!  Getting a little uppity, I’d say!!  That is our thing to do, that is.   So, humans, this is COMANCHE SAYING EEEEHHAAAAW for the horses of Grapevine.  So there!”

Tape 78: Recorded 28 March 2009

Chikala the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

Heee haaw there humans, this is the horses of Grapevine calling you, and this is – you won’t believe it, because I’m new at this, this is Chikala!!!  YES! I have become a full member of the horse society here and I may yet be the new head horse here!  I mean here, where the slave lives.  I am a very big horse of two colors and my name means “small” in some strange language of the old humans here, because I am very big. Now that doesn’t make sense, does it, but then, as Comanche says, humans have some very funny ways.   The slave says I’m ….”

“What!! Did you hear that, Comanche?  The brat thinks he could be the new head horse here!  I never heard the like. This is Scotty and if anyone should be the new head horse here it should be me…”

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“Do be quiet, you two!  This is Tequila and we all know that it’s Comanche and I who are the head horses so do be quiet - you’re both of you too young, Chikala is still almost a colt! What an idea.   But let’s see what it is Chikala has to say,    I know he was out with the slave the other day. Go on, Chikala, so what happened?”

“Well, we went on a ride with quite a few other horses and I was first. That was all right, I enjoyed leading them all. I had a new hat on, with the thing they put in your mouth and this one fit me better and the thing under my chin was much looser so I could pretty well do what I liked with my head. I have a very strong neck, you know, so when I wanted to go right I just went right, and the slave had to work very hard to get me back on the trail. She got quite upset at that – she said it wasn’t her idea of a good horse.  I liked it, though – once I got the idea I thought I would turn right around and go home, but that didn’t work.  It didn’t last long, either – as soon as we came back home, they changed the thing under my chin and so now it’s much more snug and I have to do what she says. Ah well – but anyway, it was interesting. Other days the slave takes me out to what they call the round pen, and we do all kinds of interesting things there.  Anyway …”

“OK – enough of that!  This is Comanche and I have a new trumpet here from Debbie for  Bubbles.  Bubbles, Bubbles – where are you!!  Come here and listen to your trumpet from your rider Debbie!”

“Dear Bubbles, I had such an awesome time at the ranch, and much of that so due to you. I have always loved each and every horse, but you will always hold a special place in my heart. You seemed to instinctively know what I wanted and responded to every need and touch. I was so comfortable and confident riding you. You were great when we had to round up those stray cows. I loved that. You are a great horse....being in the wuss pen is not something to be ashamed have a gentle soul....but strong character. (Don't take grief from any other horse). Tell Adam I'm sorry I missed saying my final goodbye to him. Adam is great...he not only takes awesome care of each and every one of you, but Adam is wonderful with the humans too. He's a special guy. Hope he had a wonderful birthday! Bubbles, thanks for 3 wonderful days, and I hope we ride again. Love Debbie”

Bubbles, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Hello, hello there, this is Bubbles, and hello Debbie, how very very nice to hear from you, this is your special filly!!!  And I don ‘t mind being in the wuss pen, it’s better than being beat up in the big corral.  We horses in the wuss pen are nice to each other and we all get along. All in all I am a happy horse, especially since I get to see my mother, Seven Up, quite often.  You know that’s why they called me Bubbles, don’t you? Because my mother is Seven Up. I don’t quite know what that means, but it seems to amuse the humans quite a lot when they hear it. Anyway, I will pass all your good wishes onto Adam, he is a good guy and he makes sure we are well taken care of.  I do hope to see you again, Debbie so please take care and come back soon!!  Now I have to go – the other horses are looking at something in the feeder, maybe it’s something new and tasty!”

“Oh good, is she done?  This is Chikala again and I have to tell the humans out there that my slave and I went out today again and it was so windy I was quite scared.  But I opened and closed the gate, and she was very happy with that, but then we came out and there were some really strange creatures out there, big, almost like a horse, but a funny shape and some of them were lying down around the water….”

“Oh Chikala, you fool, those are cows!!  You are supposed to be able to go and gather them up from the pasture and put them into the corral!!   That is SO much fun!  Is this horse even a Quarter Horse, do you think, Tequila,  or is he from some other strange family?? This is Comanche, and I know the slave will expect you to go gather them, Chikala!  She always used to take me, and maybe she will again, but I get a little tired nowadays and she doesn’t like to make me run too much.  Do you remember, Tequila, the time you and the slave were getting in the last two bulls from the big arena and you were running so hard that you almost slammed both of you into the loading chute??  That was a close call, wasn’t it!  Ah well, those were the days, when we were both this Chikala’s age ! But not to be getting all depressing, being half retired isn’t so bad….I see the hay is coming so I’ll say Heee Haaaah humans, this is Comanche and the horses of Grapevine!!!”

Tape 77: Recorded 26 February 2009


“Hello, there humans, and this is Comanche calling you, and I have ever so much to tell you this time!!  We haven‘t been able to get to the trumpet for some time now – maybe the horses at the other corrals got a hold of it – but anyway, there is so much to tell you – but first, wait a minute ….. NO! GIVE IT BACK TO ME, TEQUILA!!   Really, just because we’re friends, that's no reason to snatch it away from me when I’m talking!!  Ah, you want to tell the humans about your sick spell?. Well, OK, then, here you are!  Really, he gets a bit of a bellyache…”

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“THANKS, Comanche, for letting me have a word in – for once!!! And I was a sick horse, and you were  worried about me, so be nice!! Anyway, humans, it wasn’t really that I was all that  sick, but I got a bit of a belly ache, and it was just about feeding time in the evening, and the slave said she didn’t want to be up all night worrying about me - now that was nice of her, don’t you think?? Anyway, she called the medical human, and he did all kinds of nasty things to me - he stuck a hose in under my  tail and ran cold water in there - yuk!! and then he stuck a hose into my nose – well, it was a smaller hose, but still, up my NOSE!! and tried to stuff it into my stomach, but I wasn’t going to have that!!! Ah no!! I just kept spitting it out and I wouldn’t swallow it, so finally they gave up – they said something about it being in my windpipe instead. Well, I knew that!! I had to keep coughing and coughing. Anyway, they finally gave me another dose of that medicine they stick into you with a needle and I was OK, but really – I want no part of these medical humans!! So now I am fine, and they said that maybe I didn’t drink enough water that day. But it was a most unpleasant experience. So here you are, Comanche – I’m done talking, I’m not a very social horse, as you know!”

“This is Comanche again – no, he isn’t very social, in fact, he is quite a grump, as our slave says often, but I was  worried about him!  They took him away from the corral, and so I ran up and down, and I whinnied and whinnied – it was not a nice evening. But he’s OK now - except he never gets sick, so it did worry me, and it worried the slave, too, I could tell.  Well, anyway, it’s past, and now, what’s new!! Ah yes, first of all, hello there, Cherokee, and how are you?”

“My slave Don and his partner Cathy are planning another trip to your place in August. Don't know why my slave Don wants to leave me again. After all I saved his life as he puts it. If he has to leave I will try to keep him in shape so he won't hurt himself while he is there. Make sure you keep working him hard as only Appys know how! As an Appy myself I know how to keep these slaves in line. It is finally thawing out here and we will shortly get back to the trails where I can get to keeping him in shape. So take care and have a great year. PS...Secretly I long to be there also. Cherokee.”

“Well, Cherokee, I wish your slave would bring you over some time, and then he could leave you here, and we could get up to a lot of trouble together!!  It sounds as if you will have fun riding with your slave, and was that you who told me a long time ago about a donkey on a pasture near you??  You know we have two donkeys here now, Katie and Sarah – well, they want to be called “Miss Katie” and “Miss Sarah” if you please!! but I call them just – OOPS!! Look out now, Miss Katie, no need to kick!!  Really this place – OOUCH!  that hurt.  I’m going to leave now and here, Katie, sorry, Miss Katie, you can have the trumpet.   Hrmph!!”

Katie, the donkey at Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Miss Katie and Eve

“And hello there, you sweet thing, Cherokee, you!!  This is Miss Katie, you know, I am really a very nice donkey.  And have you met my friend, Miss Sarah?? Sarah isn’t as nice as me, she’s very tall, you know and I always think that small donkeys are SO much nicer, cuddly, you know.   I am rather a stout donkey at that, as I get a lot to eat and our slave often says that she could put a turkey dinner on my back and it wouldn’t fall off. Well, of course not!! That’s what donkeys are for, isn’t it? Carrying things – except I don’t carry things, I leave that to the common donkeys, I am rather special.  And as I said, this is my friend, Miss Sarah.

Miss Sarah, the donkey at Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Miss Sarah

Sarah isn’t as friendly as I am, as she had some nasty experiences with humans …. but I am forgetting!! There is another trumpet here for us – from Jennifer.  She has evidently trumpeted us before, but I imagine that one of those dumb horses had it!!  Hello, Jennifer, sweetie!”

“Hello you wonderful horses!!! I am more than happy to get you some cookies, but you never gave me an excuse to get my city boy husband out there to see all of you. Give me some suggestions and I will give you some carrots!!! Tell Mr Dave, my husband, all about the wilderness and how he can hike and mountain bike while I hang out with you wonderful and beautiful creatures. I can't wait to meet you. I will see you sometime in 2009. Hopefully, I can help you with those stupid cows. Here is to the herd! Keep up the great work. Jennifer”.

“Well, hi again, Jennifer and husband Dave – what is a “husband” anyway?  Some strange idea that humans have, I bet, but anyway, hello Dave.  Well, of course, even if I am not a horse, but a superior being called a donkey, you must come and visit us!!  I can’t say that I would let you sit on me, I am not a donkey that puts up with foolish behavior, but you can take me for a walk, especially if we go out to some nice pastures I can show you! And Miss Sarah can come with us, and we can have a most lovely time!! A most lovely time….  And we can leave your Jennifer with the horses, as it seems she thinks they are so special!!  And who is it wants the trumpet now??? A horse, of course!! Ah, it’s Chikala, from the other place….OK, Chikala, seeing that you have a special experience to tell the humans, here you are….. Goodbye Jennifer and you tell your Dave that he and I can really connect and have a really super time together!!””

Chikala the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“O-o-o-oh OH – I thought she would never shut up!!  This is Chikala from the other place, temporarily I hope, and I want to tell you humans about an incredible experience I had!!  First of all, I have to tell you that I am a very handsome gelding with two colors and I came here from a far away place. And I have been here a fairly short time and I couldn't be ridden because I wasn’t what they call “broken in”, the humans call it. Sounds quite awful, doesn’t it, and I was quite worried about it, when they said they were going to take me to a place where they would “break me in” but it  was actually quite interesting. I am a very big horse, colored black and white, as I said, and the reason they call me Chikala is because that was the name of another very big horse who belonged, my slave told me, to some Indian Chief, whoever that is, and he had a big horse of two colors and it was his war horse and he called  him Chikala, and it means “small” in their way of talking.   Funny, isn’t it, but then humans do have some funny ways, as Comanche always says. Anyway, they put me into this thing for carrying horses around in, and took me quite far away, it seemed to me, where there was a place with lots and lots of horses. It was on another ranch, with big mountains behind it and lots of corrals. The human there, he seemed quite young, but he really could talk horse, you know, he understood me straight away when I tried to communicate with him, and he kept me there for what seemed quite a long time. Except that every day he would take me out and we would do some fun things together.  He picked up my feet – and at first I wasn’t going to let him do it, because some time ago someone did that and then they hurt, but he talked to me nicely and in no time at all he had what he called “shoes” on my feet, and I wasn’t even worried! And then he put a saddle on me and climbed on and we went and did some pretty interesting things, like ride in the mountains and chase some cattle – I liked doing that, I heard horses here tell me that chasing cattle is a very interesting pastime. So we did that, and then I learned how to stop suddenly, and to turn properly and all kinds of fun stuff. Anyway, now I am home again, but being taken out almost every day for some nice rides and I am enjoying life. I like to be busy and I think that all the time I spent just standing around was boring, now I look back on it.  And so anyway, that’s my news, and now I’m going to go see what they put in the feeder – and who wants the trumpet – Miss Katie?”

“No, DON'T GIVE IT TO THAT DONKEY!! Give it here, Chikala – this is Comanche, and I see there is ANOTHER trumpet here – really the inefficiency of these humans handling our trumpets…”

“Ven,Good morning, my beautiful Arizona boy! In less than an hour you will be getting your breakfast, and I imagine 'Little Bit' will be close by your side.

It has been 10 days since I left you at the ranch. Each memory of our wonderful rides, is still vivid to me. How I wish I had you here in my pasture, which today, surprisingly is baring some shoots of green grass, which you could pleasurably nibble.

I have written to Eve, and asked if she ever decided to let anyone buy you, she consider selling you to me first. I am fairly sure that she and Annie have no intention of parting with you, and after spending a week with you, I can understand why.

For the views no one else had; because of your stellar height, for your willingness to do everything I asked and more (you never hesitate once to do anything I asked of you. Well, ok, the cow thing, but remember, by Saturday you were kissing cows on their rump!!! You are amazing!), for the wonders of Arizona and Grapevine Canyon Ranch and the area I experienced on your back, I can not Thank You enough. I consider myself the luckiest person at Grapevine for being allowed the privilege of riding you.

I hope that Annie, Butch, Russ, Punk, or Eve read this, as Valentine's Day is coming up. Please, one of you, if you have a bit of a pear left from your lunch, give Ven a treat for me. I think pears are your favorite.

Ven, when I come back to the ranch, I will bring special treats. I love you, "My Big Blood Bay Beauty".

Take care of 'Little Bit'.

Miss Sarah, the donkey at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Well, just look at that!!!  I think this trumpet has been sitting here for a while, don’t you, Tequila??  I remember when Karen was here and it seems like it was a while!!  Anyway, let’s call Ven.. Ven!! VEN!! VEN!!  Come here, here’s a trumpet for you!!”

“Oh hi, Comanche, how kind of you!!  And HELLO, KAREN …. This is Ven and SO nice to hear from you!!  I have missed you – there aren’t many humans who come here and are good enough to go out on me, and so it was so fun to spend all that time with you.  And thank you for being patient about the cows, they did worry me at first, even though I am a big horse, but as you know, Karen, I have a gentle nature.  And what do you mean, take care of Lil’Bit??  Lil’Bit is a small horse but he is pretty feisty and he makes sure nobody picks on ME!   I am a very nice horse, even though I’m for good riders only, but Lil’Bit can be a piece of work, and if anyone picks on me, he goes up and kicks them!!  That’s why we’re friends.  Anyway, Karen I am so happy you enjoyed riding on me – and did you know that my name means “Friend” in some other way of talking?? That’s what I am, I’m a friend to my riders and I loved being with you and I hope we will see each other again!! So now I have to go because Lil’Bit is calling me…. Goodbye, Karen and take good care of yourself if you ride on other horses up there where you are!!  Goodbye…..” 

“NO, NO,  this is Comanche and I am the one to say goodbye to the humans!   Yes, well, goodbye, humans, especially goodbye, Don and Jennifer and Karen, and we will look forward to seeing you, and now I have to go and see what’s in the feeder!  If a horse doesn’t look out for himself, some other …..”

“Oh Comanche, stop griping!!  This is Tequila and you know very well that now they put you in a separate pen with all  those goodies that you get – look at them just dripping off your chin!! and to think they said it was so I  couldn’t take them away from YOU!  As if anyone could ever take away your groceries – ha ha ha!! So this is Tequila now, signing off for the horses of Grapevine, HEEE HOOOOOOOW!   (See, I say it in a special way…… DIFFERENT!”)

Tape 76: Recorded 26 January 2009


“HeeeHaaaw, humans, this is the horses of Grapevine calling you, and this is Comanche, and I know I have a trumpet there for me because my slave told me. She came by today – in the middle of the day, if you please, when she should be wherever it is she goes to make sure we get our hay, as she always tells me, but no, here she came in the middle of the day and said my hair is too long!  Well, it is at that, but come on! it’s winter and I get cold!  She took whole handfuls off my back and said something about an early spring. Well, maybe – for me, I’m glad to have my fur coat!!  But anyway, there is a trumpet here for me, so I will get right to it…..”

“Hi Comanche, head horse of them all! It is Jen, the one that is very interested in coming to your establishment. I have never been there, but used to live in Tucson some years ago. I know live in Florida! I need your help. How can I get my cityboy husband to come with me to your ranch? He doesn’t even like horses, silly man. Sorry no offense. I think he is scared of yall's ("you all" in the South) majestic beauty and strength. He won't even ride my horse, Ben! Thanks for your time and help everyone.” Jennifer

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“Hello, there, Jennifer, this is Comanche and I don’t know about husbands who don’t want to ride horses, that is very silly, very silly indeed!   I imagine from what you say that a “husband” is some type of human, but it is hard to imagine a human who doesn’t want to ride us!   It’s a very old activity, my slave always says …. What? What was that, Tequila?”

“I said that Jennifer wanted an answer and not a history lesson, you big blabber, you!  Who cares who rode and how, the main thing is that they come to ride us now, and that they bring with them some goodies for us to eat. Come to think of that, it’s been a long time since Suzie sent me those cookies…. Yes, a very long time.  I liked those cookies, I did, and you see, Comanche, that’s what humans are for, to bring cookies. So maybe if that “husband” or whatever he is just comes and brings cookies….”

“Oh for heaven’s sake, Tequila, you old grump, stop thinking of your stomach for once, do!!  This is Boots from the other place and I think there is a trumpet there for me, so I want to get to it and not keep hearing about you and your food.  And anyway, look at how plump you have grown, you can hardly fit into your skin. Your slave doesn’t work you enough, that’s what’s wrong!!  So, as I said, this is Boots, and where is that trumpet for me, eh, eh??”

Boots at Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Boots, courtesy of Miriam Fischer

“Hi Boots, It's been 2 years since I tried to "trick ride" you! Yeah, I know the trick was on me..hahaha! I wish you'd come and live in Ohio! My friend Marsha has a nice barn with lots of hay and alfalfa! I know it's much warmer in Arizona and easier for me to get there, so till next time I hope you're having a great New Year. Tell one of the wranglers to take a picture of you and send it to me via email! P.S. Marsha said to say HI to Doc!”

“Well, hello there, Judi – it IS Judi, isn’t it – this is your friend Boots! How nice to hear from you, Judi and I will see if the wranglers can do that thing you want, whatever it is.  And your friend has lots of hay and alfalfa, now isn’t that nice!! We get some alfalfa here, but we do get lots of that other hay – it’s OK, but the stuff they call alfalfa is nicer to eat. Ah well – at least we get a lot, I will say that. And you should come now, Judi, it is ever so warm.  Like Comanche was saying, all the hair we grew for the winter was for only two or three days that were cold, but now it’s lovely, almost like spring.   The slaves are talking about driving all the cows in and selling some of the calves that they didn’t send off in fall, because if it’s warm on the desert,  they say there will be some special grass grow and so people will want more calves. I don’t understand this myself, but anyway, for us it means chasing the cows into the corrals and we horses do enjoy that.  It’s always so nice to be trailing them and if they don’t want to walk fast enough, we horses reach out and nip them on the bum, yes, we do!!  And then they scoot ahead, it’s ever so much fun.  Yes, we horses like working with the cows. So come and see us, Judi and come and help with the cows, all the humans that do it really enjoy it, too.  And I will tell Doc hi from Marsha.  Doc!! Doc!!  Come here, Marsha says Hi….”

“This is Doc, so OK, thanks, hi Marsha, hi from me too…. So I hear you’re talking about the cows, Boots, did you see them all on the hill across from the corrals?  Amazing how cows can climb up those steep hills, you wouldn’t think they could do it, they look so round, but they seem almost better at it than us horses, as much as I hate to say that. But then, they don’t have anyone on their back, do they!!  Yes, that would make it easier to climb. Anyway, I heard the humans say that they are going to open the gates and the cows can come down into the canyon for some time, like they always do this time of year.  Well, I’d best go see if those greedy horses over there left anything in the feeder.  Say, Boots, who was that you were fooling around with this morning??  Running and kicking up your heels like a two year old!!  Ah well – just look, he’s gone off to eat, and m….. WHAT!!  He’s in MY feed tub!!  Get out of there, you!! and so goodbye, Marsha, goodbye  humans!!”

“Really, the manners of some horses!!  Can’t even say a proper goodbye….. so this is Comanche, saying Heeee Hooo for the horses of Grapevine!”

Tape 75: Recorded 22 December 2008

Nigerian dwarf goat at Grapevine

M-m-m-m—e-e-e- m-e-e-e-e slaves, this is the – ah, you think this is the horses of Grapevine calling, but you would be wrong, you would be wrong, because this is the GOATS of Grapevine calling and my name is Lil’Ol’Man and I live next to the horses here at the cattle ranch and I am ever so happy here and I spend all my time…..”

“Oh for heaven’s sake, who gave the trumpet to that goat!!  Give it here, Lil'Ol'Man, you little sod, this is Tequila, and goats don’t talk, so give it here!!”

“Oh yes, and they do so and this is Lil'Ol'Man and I am going to have my say so let me have it and who are you anyway Tequila you big bully…”

“Goodness, Lil'Ol'Man, if you’re going to talk, pause for breath will you, or the humans won’t understand a word you’re saying and anyway who said goats could talk on our trumpet, eh, eh? This is Comanche and you know what I say goes!”

“OK, Comanche, so I’ll take it slow. This is Lil’Ol’Man, and I am a Nigerian Dwarf goat and I live here and I want to say hello to the humans, too.  I came here when Comanche’s slave took her nasty dog Tuffy to a lady who trains dogs – huh, as if anyone could teach Tuffy ANYTHING!! And I was one of the goats Tuffy was learning on how to herd goats. And I was getting mighty tired of being chased by dogs and I didn’t want to do it any longer and so my person told Comanche’s slave that she was going to send me to a place called a “sale”, whatever that is. And Comanche’s slave said that wouldn’t be very good for me and she so she brought me here.  At first the other goats, who are all the big kind, tried to be mean to me, but I managed to duck under them and get lots of the food and now I am fat and sassy and one of the herd and I must say I am very happy here!! Lots to eat and good company, no dogs chasing you, only you have to be careful not to stick your head out through the fence or that evil Tuffy will bite your nose.  We sleep in a nice shed and then in the day time, after we get our breakfast we go out into a big place full of trees and all kinds of weeds and we can run and play and have a good time, only the trouble is that all the other goats are very senior to me, in fact they are all very old and don’t want to do much running, so they and the sheep just mainly snooze in the sun. I do hope that my slave – because she is my slave, too, now, so there, Comanche!! will one day soon get another young goat, maybe one like me, I like little goats like me and then I will have company. So this is Lil’Ol’Man going over there to see if the feeding slave put anything into that feed trough, so goodbye slaves!!’

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“FOOF, who ever let that goat have that trumpet!!! I never heard the like!  This is Tequila and I must say I have NEVER, not in ALL my years here, heard so much drivel, and I’ve heard a lot!  There are some who shouldn’t talk to the humans and goats are some of them.   Well, humans, it has been very warm, and nice here, as the slaves say,  which isn’t entirely good for us horses because we all grew our winter coats and now we feel hot. Comanche went out with his slave the other day and came back sweated up you would think he had run a race!!   But then it all paid off because a couple of days ago we got such a cold spell, it was quite amazing. The humans all complained, but we horses like that better than the heat, and anyway, we are all of us furred up, so we didn’t care. But now it’s getting warm again and the humans have stopped their grumbling.  So what else is new – our main slave, not the head one, but the one who gives us all the feed, is away for a while, so some of the others are coming over from the other place – they’re nice to us, but it ‘s not the same, we like our own slave better. He knows exactly how many goodies to put in the feeder and so on, and so we can’t wait for him to come back.

The other day the slaves were grumbling because some of the young cows out in the Flats got through the fence and got into the mountain pasture and the slaves had to close two gates when they went over to the other place.  You would think that was the end of the world!! Well, we horses know how to close gates, so it’s no problem, at least when the humans are on us, THEY close the gate, but we get them near it so they CAN do it, but those stupid other things they ride around on don’t do it, so the humans grumble when the gates are closed because they have to get off and walk to the gate. But I heard today from one of the horses that the visiting humans put the cows out and I guess now our slave can stop her whining. You would think it’s the end of the world, yes, the end of the WORLD! the way  she gripes about having to open and close a gate. But then I guess she’s cold, she’s quite bald, you know, but they all are bald, the humans, not furred up nicely like we are. So that’s all I meant to say and now I am going over to harass the donkeys a bit, they look too happy, just standing there in the sun. So this is the horses of Grapevine signing off and this is Tequila saying HEEEE HAAAAW – a real HORSEY goodbye, not some goaty peeping!!”


“No, no, Tequila, this is Comanche and I want to add a bit to what you said about the humans being bald. They don’t always have to be, you know. Some years back, my slave came to say goodnight to me, it was a VERY cold night and do you know, she was all furred up, just like we are!  I was so excited I smelled her all over and it was very nice fur, very soft, it didn’t smell like a horse but she did look comfortable … but then, the very next morning, there she was, bald again! How do you suppose they do that, Tequila – grow fur one day and then be bald again the next?  It takes us weeks to get rid of ours when the hot weather comes!! Humans are AMAZING!! So this is Comanche, saying goodbye for the horses of Grapevine, HEEEE HAAAAW for now!!  - oh wait, no, no – here are a couple of  trumpets from some  humans, Tequila, you idiot, how could you have overlooked them!!!”

“It was that darn brat of a goat yakking, Comanche, it quite made me lose my mind  – but anyway, here they are…..”

“Hi everyone, I was searching the intranet to find a place to ride horses in Arizona. I was glad I found you. Hopefully in 2009, I can come and meet all of you. I have my own horse, but always try to find a place to ride when I am not in town. Keep up the great work!”  Jen 

“Well, Hi, Jen and how nice of you to trumpet us!!  We horses don’t often get to hear from humans who haven’t been to visit us first.  So that’s lovely – I should say that this is Comanche, the head horse here, you understand, that is, the head horse over all the other horses, both here and at the other corral where there’s a great number of them, but I am the head of them all. So, as I was saying, it is nice to hear from you.  And you say you might come and meet us – now that would be nice, we would like that. So take care and do try to come and visit us, that would be fun!!  And look, Tequila, here’s another one and it’s for Belle.   Belle, Belle – pick up that trumpet, this one’s for you!!”

“Ah yes, this is Belle, and so what do you want, Comanche? Can’t you see I’m busy, eating??  Oh, a trumpet for me?? So let me hear it, let me hear it…”

“Hi Belle What, are you too busy chasing cows to write? I'm the woman from back East who always wanted to go faster even though I didn’t  know a thing about riding. you know, the one with the borrowed boots and the borrowed hat? The one who fell off getting out of the saddle? Anyway, it's cold and wet back here and I’m still looking for a place to ride that has horses as kind as you. Merry Christmas.” Linda

“Hello, there, Linda, this is Belle, and so how are you?? So nice to hear from you and you know, there are lot of the visiting humans who always want to go fast, I can’t see why, I’m sure they don’t get to see the countryside that way!! But we horses enjoy that, we are made to run fast, so that’s OK with us – and you fell getting out of the saddle?? Well – I don’t remember that!!  You will have to come back and try again, at least falling as you’re getting off isn’t as bad as falling off the top, ha ha ha, even though  I’m not that tall a horse.

We are having wonderful weather here, sorry you are cold, it’s been rather warm here which isn’t always too much fun as we all have our nice winter coats which we can’t take off if it gets hot. But at night it’s chilly, so it’s good to have all that fur then!

Well, I hope Linda you will come back and I will show you how not to fall out of the saddle when you’re getting off, you probably caught your foot in that thing you hang it in on the side!  Much better to ride without it, then you’d have no problems.  And maybe much better to ride just on me, without the saddle!!  Then again, maybe not, what if I got a fright and jumped sideways…. I must think about that one.  So Linda, have a wonderful time and now I must go, so this is Bell, ah-ha-ha-ha- - now I  will get to do it, for once!! This is Belle, signing off for the horses of Grapevine EEEEEEH-HAAAAW!”

Tape 74: Recorded 16 November 2008

Skipper, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

Branding At Grapevine“Hee hooo humans, this is the horses of Grapevine calling and this is Skipper calling you. And we have been having the most marvelous weather, except that some of us horses have already started putting on our winter coats and it’s been quite warm, yes, quite warm, so we get a bit sweaty.  The other day we had to go chase the cows again – we horses enjoy chasing the cows.  We had to take them to that water place we always take them to and then drive them to the corrals, but wouldn’t you know it, they all spooked and ran the wrong way and finished up at another water hole. Stupid cows!!  Then we had to drive them home much the longer way and we horses got quite cross.  I took a good nip at one, I did.  Anyway, we got them in and then the next day the humans started to do all the stuff they usually do to the cows this time of the year and we horses were let stand. I don’t mind standing like that, snoozing in the sun.   Who said that??? Gaucho? And what do YOU want?  You want the trumpet?? Ah well – yes – I see it was for you anyway, I got quite carried away by talking, I did. So here you are…”

“This is Gaucho – wouldn’t you know you have to fight even for the trumpet around this place, like it’s not enough to have to fight for the food!!   So hello, who is that calling me??”

“Hello, Horses at Grapevine! I came for a visit in August, and was lucky enough to ride Gaucho, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to ride him on my last day as he looked a bit under the weather. So I thought I would check to see if he is good again now!? Anyway, hope your all ok out there, I'm looking forward to coming back to see you all next year! Becky x”

“Ah yes, Becky – and how are you, Becky?? This is Gaucho and I am quite all right again – just a bit too much sun and work, you know, in August it’s a bit warm and the flies do bother us horses. But now it’s lovely – everything still full of grass, and the days are the best, with cooler nights, so that we horses are putting on our winter coats.  We have been very busy with the visiting slaves and what with the cows and all that….”

Comanche, the horse at Grapevine

“Ayiieeee – give it to me!!  Who wants to hear drivel like that – I want to tell the slaves about my foot!!  This is Comanche, and I managed to get my foot into some wire again, like I can do so well, and I cut off a big chunk of it, I did!! And my special slave got all excited and said I was a fool always to go cutting my feet, and put me into the thing with wheels – ah yes, thank you, Scotty, the trailer, and we went to see the slave who helps us when we get sick.  And you would never believe it – he cut the flap of flesh off and put on a big, heavy white thing, so that my foot felt like it weighed a ton!!  When I got home I tried immediately to take it off – I gnawed at it, and rubbed it against some tried and true things like the corral fence, but it wouldn’t budge. So it was there for it seemed like forever!! But I must say that when they finally took if off, my foot had healed up very nicely, all smooth. So then, of course, my slave wants to go riding!  I mean – not even been three weeks and she want to go gallivanting around the country again!  So we did…. Who wants the trumpet??  Ah, Harvi? Here you are, then, I’m tired of talking anyway….”

Harvi and Friends

“Hello there slaves, this is Harvi, our slave’s new horse and the biggest of them all. I am a tall horse, I am, and we have been out riding together about six times now. So she took me on that cow thing.  That was for the second time I did that, and I couldn’t believe what a lot of back and forth, back and forth, back and forth we had to do!  I got  quite cross. And then, like Skipper says, the stupid cows went the long way around, so it took us a long time to get home.  I decided to misbehave a few times – I did want to run to get there sooner, but she wouldn’t let me, so I hopped and hopped, but it didn’t help. Ah well, but it was long day!  But there were some funny things, too.  One of the other slaves, the one who usually feeds us, lost the thing all the slaves like to make a noise into, the thing that makes a noise first and then they make their noises into it. And they all got excited about that, and  he went and looked and looked, but I guess they didn’t  find it.  So while he was looking, we were all standing around the water tank looking at the cows and the cows were looking at us – they are quite good at that, that stupid cow look, I always call it. Anyway, I guess the humans didn’t find the thing-you-make-a-noise-into so they were cross.  And apart from that there is nothing new, so I am going to see if they put something better in the feeder than that old dried hay!!”

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“Ah yes, but this is Tequila – and the next day, when she should have taken you, young Harvi, she took me.  ME!! When I had convinced her that I had a cough and couldn’t work for a while.  And do you know, I found I was having quite a good time chasing those cows, so that I quite forgot to cough, so now she’s onto me. Anyway, we had to take the cows up into the mountains, like we always do at this time of the year, and I was amazed at all the brush and mess up in the canyon. We had to fight our way through all kinds of dead trees across the way, and I got quite irritated. And then when we got to the other end, she wanted to turn the cows to go another way, but the cows, they’ve done this so many times, they were dead set on going in their old direction. Ah yes, she was mad – said she wanted them to see the water tank. Why? I asked myself – they’ll find it soon enough…. or die of thirst, hee hee hee. And then we wouldn’t have to be chasing them around…. and life might be very pleasant. But when I said that, I got a good kick in the ribs from her,  and we chased them and chased them, but they got away and went to eat up on the hill on the other side of the tank. Ah well, I’m sure they’ll find the water, cows are very enterprising when it comes to their stomach!

Mmm, s-o-o, talking of stomachs, I feel that mine could do with a bit of filling, so this is Tequila for the horses of Grapevine, signing off, heeeee haaaawww!”

Tape 73: Recorded 18 October 2008

“Hi there, humans and this is … you will never guess!! This is Joey calling you and I am doing it because I have a trumpet, I have a trumpet!!! from Kathy, who’s  calling me and…..’

“Oh don’t be silly, Joey – this is Chief here, really, and what are you doing with our trumpet, I  should be running it….well, me or if not me, then that other horse, now what’s his name again?   Ah yes, Skipper, but no, it should be me, and so why do you have it?”

Skipper, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“I have it because it’s for me. That’s why, and if you horses paid a bit more attention to what’s going on instead of stuffing your faces down into that hay feeder maybe we would get a bit more organized around here!  Give it back!!”

“Really!!  This is Sugar, and if this was left to the mares, we would be a bit more civilized!!  Give him back that trumpet, Skipper and let’s be a bit more polite around here --- really, this place would send a mare to a madhouse.”

“Thanks for nothing, Skipper – this is Joey, and I have the trumpet now, and so it’s for me, from…

“This is Kathy. I will be down tomorrow, see ya! I can't wait to see you. I will bring you down some carrots.”

“Hi, Kathy  - and you’ve been already, that’s how long it takes these horses to get anything organized, and it was SO wonderful to see you – and now you’ve been and gone!!  But it was nice being with you again, you’re a very pleasant human to be riding with, you’re nice and light and considerate of us horses. That’s very important to us, you know Kathy, because we have feelings just like you humans do and we appreciate someone who’s nice to us.  Anyway, we had a great time, didn’t we!  So who wants the trumpet now?   Oh, Chikala!!  Here you are then…..”

“Chikala? Chikala?  And who’s that!! Who wants the trumpet?? Someone called Chikala?”

“Yes, it’s Chikala from the other place, you nitwit Chief, you’re asleep half the time. Chikala is that big pinto from the other place, the one who came from a long way away last winter, so give him the trumpet! Because I say so, I, Skipper, that’s why, so hand it over!”

Chikala the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Finally!!  This is Chikala and I’ve never had the trumpet before but I wanted to tell all the other horses out there about my adventure yesterday!!  It was not nice, no, it was not nice at all, and I’m telling you all so you can prepare yourselves and not be taken in like I was!  I had banged my tooth, you see, and it felt very unpleasant and I couldn’t eat, and so I got a bit of  a stomach ache and the humans noticed. And so they took me out and walked me around and poked a sharp thing into me, which I always resent so I back up and generally misbehave, but they poked it in anyway, and I must say that after that the pain in my stomach went away. Anyway, they got to looking at my mouth and they found this painful tooth – and it was  painful, it was sort of hanging half in and half out on a piece of flesh and it was making a warm soggy mess in my mouth. Anyway, they said they were going to take me to see a vet.  Whatever that is, I thought …  I soon found out! 

At first I didn’t want to get into the trailer, but Comanche’s slave, she took me and led me to it .  I know what trailers are, you see, because I traveled in a few of them when I first came here from a long way away and I don’t like them, they are not comfortable and they generally mean long journeys, which I don’t like.  So at first I didn’t want to get in and then I thought, why not, let’s please her, so I did.  And do you know what!  They took me to a human who messed around with that tooth and then it was gone, and then he did other, nasty things to my other teeth …. Enough anyway, I tell you, for me to take a real dislike of trailers.  So when they took me back to it and asked me to get in again, I said, No Way!!  Probably plan to take me to another place where they will do more things to me I don’t like, and so I am NOT getting inside. And they fussed and talked to me, and turned me around, and walked me here and walked me there, and offered me food – how silly, as if I would be bribed, now, I ask you, and me with a sore hole from a tooth that was gone! And then they walked me around again, and tried to get me inside, and so then I began to lose my temper a bit and I stood on my hind legs, and I am a very massive horse, you know, so when I stand on my hind legs, I find that humans generally listen to what I have to say. But they didn’t, and they kept on and on, and I got more and more upset.

So then Comanche’s slave took me for a little walk, and then we came back to that darn trailer and I had to stand on my hind legs again, and this time I waved my front feet in the air by their faces and they got quite mad at me, and said I was a silly horse, and did I want to stay there for ever? By this time I wouldn’t have minded!  There were some pretty little fillies in the pen next door and I knew I would have company and also I saw some tasty, green hay there, so why not!

But actually by now I was having quite an entertaining time, too, watching their silly antics.  Whenever they stopped to take a breath in-between trying to get me in, and let me stand a bit, I would cock a hind leg and chomp my mouth, so they could see I didn’t take this stupid episode seriously – I was prepared to wait the whole thing out as long as it took. I do think that annoyed them more than anything, come to think of it.

But humans are tricky, you know!  One of them took me for a walk, and we walked quite a long way away from the trailer, which, to my way of thinking, was good,  and we went to some corrals - they smelt of cattle – and we went through them and then into a sort of a narrow alley and then the man made me turn around a bit here and there, and then he led me into another alley and shut the door on me – and whoops! There was only one way to go and that was …. Drat it! Inside that trailer! So I hopped in and thought I could turn around and come out again, but too late! The gate was slammed shut and there I was and THEY WON!   I HATE that!   DRAT, DRAT! 

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

So now I’m back at the ranch, but I must say that my mouth has almost stopped hurting, so maybe those humans know what they’re doing, but why does it take that hateful trailer!!!  Anyway, that’s what happened, and I’m going over there to see what it is that Monkey’s eating., now my mouth isn’t all that sore any more!”

“Goodness, what a tantrum!   This is Tequila, and I had to go in that trailer, too, and we went a lot further away than you, you silly Chikala, and I didn’t misbehave. I just got in and stood there like the well raised horse that I am – and ha, ha, I got to eat the lovely alfalfa hay that you left behind in there, you with your silly tantrums!  And we went a much longer way than you, and the humans stopped here and there and I had quite a good time looking out at the world. So – next time be civilized, like Sugar said.  So this is Tequila, signing off for the horses of Grapevine, and I am doing it my way, so E-e-e-e-e-ha-a-a-a!”

Tape 72: Recorded 23 September 2008

“Heee hooo, all you slaves out there!! This is the horses of Grapevine calling you…… WHAT?? AND WHY NOT??  Why can’t I have the trumpet and do this thing that you reserve for yourself, YOU CONTROLLING, BOSSY HORSE, YOU!!  This is Joey and that first trumpet is for ME and therefore I will answer it – so push off, Skipper, or I’ll kick you!!   And so how are you, Cherokee?? So good to hear from you again!!

“This is Cherokee - Well it's less than 3 weeks away when my slave Don will be your temporary slave. I only am doing this since the airlines don't take frequent flyer miles for horses. Darn those airlines...We had a nice 2 hour ride in the woods today. It rained a bit but the weather was good. I want to you take care of him, since he is getting up there in years. He does have a nice seat and loves to be in a saddle. He would rather do that than just about anything. I will be thinking of you, so take care and have a great time.”

“How nice to hear from another civilized horse with spots, Cherokee!!  I hope the weather where you are is nice?  We are having a wonderful time here, there’s lots of grass, and we horses, when we go on our week’s vacation, don’t even bother to come in at feeding time!  There’s SO MUCH nice food out there to eat.  And so your slave is coming soon, is that right, Cherokee??   And you can be sure I will take good care of him, I know how to behave – we will have some good rides in all the grassy meadows, he will tell you all about it when he gets back. It will be good to be appreciated again. We have had lots of humans come lately who don’t know they should be horse slaves, and that can be very tiresome, very tiresome indeed!!  But here comes that pushy Skipper – I suppose he wants the trumpet.  So what – do you want it, Skip – here you are then, I know there are trumpets out there for other horses. So take care, Cherokee and tell your slave to hurry up and get here!!”

Skipper, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Well, I thought he’d never shut up!  This is Skipper and I should have had that trumpet by rights, as I am head horse here but he grabbed it from me…..”

“And who said YOU’RE head horse, eh. EH?  The insolence of these younger horses is beyond bearing.  I AM  the head horse here, I, Chief – just because I forget things from time to time and let you handle the trumpet around here…. But why do I even bother … I see there is another message here, and I will take it, so there!!  And it is, let’s see, ah yes, it’s from …. Ugh  … from Susanne in a very far away place and it’s for Cactus Jack.  Come here, Cactus, here’s a trumpet for you!!!”

Cactus Jack, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Susanne with Cactus Jack

“Cactus Jack, this is Susanne from Alaska, and it was so fabulous to have you as my horse the entire time I was at Grapevine in August. I have a beautiful picture of you on my screen saver so I can admire you every day. You were so amazing and true! Thank you for teaching me so much about riding. All my best to you, my Cactus Jack!”

“Hi Susanne, this is CJ – so how are you doing??  It was a good time we had together didn’t we?  And so where do you have a picture of me?? Whatever that is, it must be nice if you can think you’re with me.   Yes, we did have a nice time together and it’s always better if you don’t change horses because then we can get used to each other!! So I hope you come back again some time and we can just pick it up where we left off!! Take care, Susanne and be careful out there – you told me once it gets very cold. I would like that – we horses like to be cold more than we like to be hot, and I could grow a lot of hair!!  Anyway, like I said, take care and now I am going over there to eat, because, you know, Susanne, you have to eat a lot just before it gets cold so you can grow all that hair!!”

“Oh, I thought he would NEVER shut up!!  And he doesn’t look any better with hair than without it!!  This is Skipper again – I see Chief went over to the feeder and there he is, snoozing, so I guess I’d better do it.  And so who is the next trumpet for?  Goodness, we do have a lot today!!”

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“This is Penny for Tequila!!  Howdy, all. I haven't met any of you yet, but I am hoping I will be able to do that right after the AZ State Fair. It's been years since I've had a chance to simply 'horse around' and I can hardly tell you how much I am looking forward to getting to know you! Enjoy the nice cooler weather with your good friends there at Grapevine.”

“Hi there Penny, I have to go find Tequila for you. He is over at the other place – I should say that this is Skipper – I don’t know what they would do without me here to run the trumpet!!   Tequila, Tequila, come over here!!  You have a trumpet here from Penny who thinks you run them – but that’s because of all the gabbing  you’ve been doing lately!!”

“Hi there, Penny, and I should be running the program, there’s no telling what all these horses will tell you slaves out there!!  But we have been busy over here, we have a new horse that joined the mob here.  His name is Harvi and he is in the pen with the two young brats, Yuki and Bertie.  Ha ha, it was quite funny – when he first came, he wasn’t used to being with other horses because his last slave kept him by himself, and so when he first came, the two brats tried to push him around. Bertie thinks that she’s so beautiful, she was prancing around him, but now they’re all settled down and they all eat together. That is nice to see, as he was lonely for his slave, who went up to the sky.  Harvi said that he wished he could have gone to the sky with him, but now he is feeling better.  Of course, the two brats would be enough to keep anyone busy!!  Anyway Penny, when you do come and horse around here with us, we will show you a good time!!  Comanche and I and the two donkeys, Miss Sarah and Miss Katie – now why should donkeys be called “Miss”, eh, eh? I should like to know! But there you are, like I often say, humans have some funny ways about them. Anyway, the two donkeys are turned out with us and we have ever so much grass that we can’t even begin to eat it down. It has been a very nice year for grass.  And now my slave is riding the brat Scotty again and I think she is going to ride Harvi too, so maybe Comanche and I will have a bit of a rest. So do come and visit us, Penny, and now I have to go catch up with Comanche, I see he’s off to the pasture and I don‘t want to be left behind!!  So here’s the trumpet, Skip!!!”

“Whew!!! Talk about verbal diarrhea – I thought he’d never hand it over!!  Yes, that Harvi horse is nice, his name used to be Cochise, but the head slave who is going to ride him thought it was too much like Comanche, so anyway, he’s Harvi now. So this is Skipper signing off for the horses of Grapevine -  Heee hooo – I guess that’s the new way of saying it – and I have to keep up with the times!!  Come trumpet us again, humans, we horses always enjoy that!!  This is Skipper for the horses of Grapevine, HEEE HOO!”

Tape 71: Recorded 6 September 2008

Skipper, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“So hello, there humans, this is the horses of Grapevine….. aargh! I am sick of saying this same thing over and over again …. So I’ll start over …..Heeee Hooooo and this is Skipper at the Grapevine Corrals calling you all out there and we horses are very happy right now.  There is so much green grass on the mountains so when we’re on a ride, it’s easy to snatch a mouthful now and then, you don’t even have to put your head low and pretend you’re scratching  your knee, the way Comanche does it…. And so we have a trumpet here from…. Let’s see…. Ah yes, from Ruth and Graeme and who is it they’re calling?  Oh look, Bubbles and Biggins ….. hey you two, hey Bubbles, hey Biggins, come over, you have a trumpet here….”

“Hi to both Bubbles and Biggins, this is Ruth and Graeme!! It’s been a little over a year since we were on our honeymoon and hope you guys are going well. Graeme still jokes that the real love affair was between me and Bubbles, not me and him, on our honeymoon. Finally found a horse who nearly compares to you two - called Arizona , strangely enough!”

“This is Bubbles and how nice to hear from some of my riders, I don’t often get trumpets, but I do like my riders, and how nice to hear from you, Ruth, and I wish you were here now to kiss my nose.   Nobody has done that for a while and I …..”

“Oh, for goodness sake, listen to the whining!!  This is Scotty from the other place and I can’t even remember the last time anyone kissed my nose and yet I’m so good-looking and lovable!!”

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“Wha-a-a-t??  And who should kiss your nose, buddy?  I should say this is Tequila from next door to this braggart, and why should anyone kiss you!! You’re bad tempered and I saw the other day how you kicked your friend Bonny, and she’s so nice to you…. But anyway, give the trumpet back to Bubbles and stay out of this or I’ll come over there and let you have it!!”

“Boys, boys, don’t fight, this is Bubbles again, and I like things nice and friendly.  Anyway I’m glad you had a good time with me, Ruth, and I hope that you are happy there in your corral and what did you say? You have a horse called Arizona ?  How nice!!  We used to have a white horse here called Nevada once, but that was before my time, I only heard about him. Anyway, here is Biggins to talk to Graeme… you take care, Ruth and come back and see me…. This is ….”

“Oh give it here, Bubbles, you talk too much!!  This is Biggins, and hello, there, Graeme, and so how did you find this Arizona ?? I hope he is a Quarter Horse like we are??  We are very busy right now, you know, Graeme, we had a long vacation, it was fun, we were turned out and just ate and did nothing for a long time, but now we are back at work and actually I like it better.  Then when we go on vacation I feel like I’ve earned it.  The other day they took me on the cattle thing the humans like to do every so often – we chased the cows and they were most difficult, didn’t want to come in at all.  Too much good grass out there! Anyway, after a couple of long, long days, finally we got them in.  I like it much better when we just go on rides with the visiting humans than when we have to chase the cows, even though that’s more interesting – but it’s a lot more work, and I like my days to be nice and even, if you know what I mean, Graeme!”

Miss Sarah, the donkey at Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Miss Sarah

“You mean you’re lazy, but why am I surprised?? This is Tequila again and I should be the one grumping about the cows, I did so many long days I was fair wore out!  But now we are turned out on the grass and the days are lovely, nothing to do but wander around and eat, and harass the donkeys.  That Sarah donkey has got the BIGGEST ears of anyone I ever saw! I think if she would flap them she would fly.  The other day she lay down in the grass and I looked over that way and I thought I saw two strange animals jumping around in the grass, but it was only the tips of Sarah’s ears flicking at the flies!! Ha ha, that was funny!!  Ah well, humans, I see some nice grass over there and I have to get there before it gets all gobbled up! And I see Skip is busy on his grass patch, so Heigh Ho, all you humans, and specially Ruth and Graeme, we’ll see you around the water trough!!  Oh yes, I’d better say it properly …… this is the horses of Grapevine calling … what did he say again?  Heee Hooo??  Yes, I do like that better, Heee Hooo!”

Tape 70: Recorded 24 August 2008

Peanut the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Hello there, all you slaves, this is the horses of Grapevine calling, and this is Peanut, and I must say that this is an awful state of affairs, when we horses can’t even get our messages out of here, it’s like being trapped in some big barn you can’t get out of….. what?”

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

“I said, Rubbish!! and Rubbish again, Peanut!  You, trapped!  All you do is stand around and eat, now that you are half retired, even though I see that you did come back for a bit of work!  This is Tequila, and I think you talk too much.  But I see that your head honcho over there, what’s his name again, Skipper?? isn’t paying any attention, and so I have to run this show!  What a deal, humans!! …  I have to tell you about the round up we’ve just had – I mean, beyond awful!!  The slaves said they had to get all the cows in, well, we knew that, it’s that time of  year. So they climbed on us and off we went – but the cows didn’t want to come in, even though all they were going to get is a nice bath to get rid of the flies, but there you are, cows don’t have much sense! So anyway, they didn’t want to go and they didn’t want to go, and they were all over this huge area, hiding under mesquite bushes and laying down, hiding in the grass so we couldn’t see them!! And then when we got them all to the place where we always bunch them together, they didn’t want to stay  bunched, but kept trying to run away and then they didn’t want to drive, I mean I thought I would run my legs off!  I don’t know why a horse would sign on to a job like this, I really don’t!  And then they went this way and that way, and my slave got quite cranky with them, she did! Anyway, we finally got them in, and guess what?? We only got one bull in and the slaves got all excited because evidently it’s important that they get all the bulls in. So out we went again… it was the living pits! We rode most of that day, I thought I would drop, and next morning, what do they do? but out again, and do you know that it took us a week to find the last dratted bull.  It was that Ferdinand, you remember him, Comanche, he’s the one that’s always by the front gate, and so where was he that day?? Right at the far south fence, miles away, hiding in a bush! I don’t know why the slaves want them all in the first place – now they’re all in the corral eating their heads off and they’ll be there till November, and then they’re going to get turned out again so they can play their stupid games again. I don’t like bulls, I don’t!  And they can turn on a horse, at that, cranky fat old things, quick as a snake, you’d hardly believe it!!”

Skipper, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Oh Tequila, give over, do!! This is Comanche – and you know you’re a cow horse, so why gripe about it?  Much more interesting than just going down the country at a walk!! But here are some messages – and why am I doing all this, I wonder?  Isn’t it Skipper’s job, from over there??  Skip – Skip – do you want to run the trumpet or shall I do it?? Tequila is all worn out with complaining!”

“This is Skipper and I feel a bit tired, too – and you didn’t have all the work, Tequila – I had to get into the corral and drag those smelly calves around, lucky there weren’t too many, the most of them had been done in May.  Anyway, give it here – I’ll do it!!  And we have a trumpet here from Ruth for Boomer, Casey, and Hank!! Come on, horses, you have a trumpet here…”

“Well, I guess we know why your name is Boomer, don't we? Hope you are having a nice quiet week. By the way, Boomer and Casey REALLY like having their necks massaged... Hank might like it if he ever stopped thinking about green grass.... Thanks to all horses and wranglers for being so accommodating to a not-so-experienced rider!

“Hello there,  Ruth, how nice to hear from you!!   This is little Boomer – Casey and Hank are out on vacation, but I am here and I want to tell you, we have so much grass!! It’s amazing, the grass we have! When we horses go out on vacation we don’t  even come in to drink, there’s water everywhere, and flowers and grass and lots and lots of mesquite beans, they’re very sweet you know, so the first thing we do is to hunt up a mesquite tree and poke around on the ground for the beans.  We have been quite busy here for a while with the visiting humans, too, though I didn’t have to go chase the cows.  And that pretty mare, what was her name again, oh yes, Trixie, she belonged to the main human here in our corrals, she went to the sky. We don’t know why she did that, she just did one night, but I think it was a good thing because she had very sore feet, they hurt her a lot, so maybe she just got tired of it and decided to go.  Ah well – I better go and eat a bit, and I will tell Casey and Hank they had a trumpet!!  So bye for now,  Ruth !!  And by the way, we horses like humans who are not too experienced – that way they try to do the right thing and don’t pull on our mouth and want to do too much!! Better be with a nice human who wants to learn!!  So – here you are, Skip!”

“OK, this is Skipper again and we have another trumpet – goodness, what a lot there are today – this one is from… let me see, where is it?”

“Hello Peanut! It is Becky, from Wiltshire in England. I came to the ranch last year, and rode you. You were a very nice horse! and hopefully I might be able to see you again when I come back to the ranch in a couple of weeks. I had great fun with you, but we both did not like that rattle snake coming after us. Anyway, I hope you are well. See you again soon. Take care, Becky.” 

“Hello, there, Becky, this is Peanut, and we are so late with the trumpets that here you are already!!!   I was so glad to see you!!  But how sad that you are not riding me, but riding that what’shisnameagain, oh yes, Gaucho!!  And so how did that happen, when I was waiting for you???”

“Well, I can tell you how that happened, Peanut, old boy!! This is Skipper and I know everything. It happened because you got so infatuated with Blaze that you can’t bear to be out of her sight and all you do is whinny for her when you’re away and the head human here thought that Becky might be worried by that….”

“Ah, yes, and so they gave her a GOOD horse, and this is me, Gaucho, and I hope you like me better than old whinny face, Becky!!  I wouldn’t carry on like that – so serve you right, Peanut!”

“Oh, Becky, I am sorry that we couldn't take that ride together – this is Peanut again – but it was nice to see you, even if we couldn’t!!  Who is this now who wants the trumpet??? There is one for who??  Oh Belle!  Belle, Belle, come here, you have a trumpet from ….”

“Hi Belle, this is Barb, and you are the best! You are so beautiful a horse, as your name tells us. You are also so fast and comfortable. Thank you very much for your friendship and patience. I have never forgot you.” 

“Hello, there Barb and how nice to hear from you…. It’s always good to hear from the visiting humans – and we had lots of good, fast rides, didn’t we??  I love to run fast but we can’t always do it, but with you it was fun.  Do you remember that day we went out and we ran and ran and ate grass and we went way up in the mountains – it’s a good life here for a horse, Barb –lots of grass now, we had all this wet, it’s good for the feed, even if it does make the corral all sloppy.  I hope you can come back one day and we’ll run together again!!  Now I see that the hay is coming and so I have to go – you know, for us horses, there is actually nothing more important than food… maybe that’s true of humans too??  So goodbye, Barb, now I’m going to eat.”

“Give me that trumpet, Belle – this is Tequila and seeing I started this off, I want to finish it!!  Thank you  for all your trumpets, humans, and this is the horses of Grapevine telling you goodbye…. (How is that again, Comanche?)  Hee haw?  No, Heigh Ho, that’s right, Heigh Ho!!!  (Will I EVER get that right!!)”

Tape 69: Recorded 2 August 2008

“Hi there humans, this is the horses of Grapevine calling you and guess what?? This is Chief, your old friend – I used to be the head horse around here, but you know, they voted me out, and now it’s that bum, what’shisname – what IS his name, Blaze??”

“Well, no wonder we voted you out, you can’t even remember what day it is, Chief!! Skipper is the head horse, of course, and he does a very good job, don’t you think, Belle?”

“This is beautiful Belle – you know, my name means beautiful, and of course, I am … what did you say Blaze?  I can’t be bothered with all these corral quarrels, I don’t care who’s in charge, as long as my hay comes on time and the slaves are nice to me.  Today one of the visiting slaves who really liked me a lot, a whole lot! (well, no wonder!!) wanted to ride on me again, but our head slave said she couldn’t because I have a tiny little blister on my skin where the saddle would be, and of course, the head slave knows it’s important that I maintain my looks, after all…what? How rude! Who is that!”

“This is Scotty from the other place and I can’t believe the drivel I am hearing!  If you want to see beautiful, you come and take a look at me!!  But …”

Tequila the horse at Grapevine

"Oh give over, do!!  This is Tequila and you’re both beautiful (and so who cares!!) but I want to talk about our ride today.  Today the slave and two others on Sabino and Nemo, and we all went out to the back of the canyon and it was ever so exciting!  We did a lot of running, and we really enjoyed it today because it was nice and cool and there is green grass everywhere and every time the slaves stopped to make that noise with their mouth we horses sneaked a bit of green grass. It was ever so tasty – and do you know what!  It rained so much that the back tanks are full of water and so that little lake behind our corrals is full of water, and much bigger, too,  and that’s good. The dogs went in and got all wet and muddy, and then we went on one of the back trails and there were all sorts of fun things, like trees down – one of them was hanging down off the main tree and the slaves couldn’t get through, so my slave stopped me and started to break big bits of the wood off – some of it fell on my neck, nasty! But we got through and my slave grumbled that all these trails will need clearing, whatever that is. I would just walk around, but she wants to stay on the trail, she says it saves the grass – mind you, not that it’s for us, it’s for those smelly cows that go up on the mountain some of the time.  Anyway, once we got home, there were all the others, Comanche and Mora and Zona and the two donkeys out there grazing so I knew that I’d be turned out, too, after the slave gave me some goodies first.  It pays to train these slaves – I wasn’t going to leave till I got my goodies – I hung around the feed shed – I didn’t try to climb in the way Comanche does, up the steps, but I got them anyway….what, Comanche?”

Comanche, the horse at Grapevine

“I just want to tell you, it’s not a good idea to get in that feed shed and eat!!  I remember the time the slave turned me out all by myself and went away somewhere for a long time.  I remember I stood there in the yard in front of the feed shed and I thought about all the goodies that were inside, and I noticed that the door wasn’t really shut, you know, it opened a bit here and there with the wind, so I poked my nose in, and it opened!!  So I opened it wider and I thought I would go inside to see what the slaves have in there. So I climbed up the steps and I could smell that the best of all foods, I think they call it “oats” was inside this big white bin, so I started to poke at it….”

“You didn’t. Comanche!!! You climbed up in there?!  It’s a wonder the floor didn’t break with you on it – it’s only that stuff they call wood, it’s not very strong, is it??”

“No, Tequila, I could feel it bending a bit under my weight, but I thought it would hold me and it did. So anyway, I kept prodding at this lid and do you know, after a bit it opened up and I prodded it up all the way and it stayed open and it was glorious!! There was ever so much of that oats in there and so I ate and ate and ate …. and then the slave came back!  She was so excited, I couldn’t see why!  She dragged me out of there and started to make a fuss to see how much I had eaten – and it was a bit hard to see, because there had been ever so much in there when I got started that I didn’t make all that much of a dent in it, though I did gobble up quite a bit  Anyway, she tied me up and then after a while this other slave came and he put a long thing down my throat and poured lots and lots of something they called oil into me!  I couldn’t see why they were getting so excited – I’d had a good dinner, although I do think that with all that oil it came out the back a bit sooner than it would have done otherwise.  But the slave said later that she didn’t have a very good day that day because while we were doing all this, the goats got into the back garden and little old Grandma – what was her name again, Tequila?”

“Oh yes, that was Tinkerbelle, wasn’t it – she was the one who was the mother of Snowball and she had horns, didn’t she?”

”No, Snowball had the horns, I think Tinkers didn’t – but anyway, she had a very hard head because she thought she saw another goat in the slave’s big door to her corral, it’s made of that shiny stuff, and Tinkers butted it and the door broke … and the slave said that that was a $400 Sunday, whatever that means!  Poor slave, she was worried about me, but  I can’t think why, I only enjoyed a good meal!  Well, talking of meals, here’s the feed slave about to get busy, so it’s time to go home.  Hi there, donkeys!!  Katie and Sarah!!”

Katie, the donkey at Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Miss Katie

“MISS Katie, and MISS Sarah to you, big boy!!  This is Miss Katie and we donkeys demand the respect due us!  And we’re not coming in, either!  It’s much too nice out here, with all this grass – come on Sarah, let’s get to the far corner of the pasture, then the feed slave will be too lazy to come and get us and we can stay here all night!!”

“Well, look at that, Comanche!  That’s some respect, that is!  I don’t know what the world is coming to when someone with ears as long as her tail can talk to us like that! So let’s go in, we’ll get some of that stuff you broke the door down to get!  This is Tequila, signing off for the horses of Grapevine – HEE HAW!”

“Oh Tequila! That’s donkey talk!  WE say – Heigh ho!! – this is Comanche, for the horses of Grapevine!!  HEIGH HO!”

Tape 68: Recorded 14 June 2008

Comanche, the horse at Grapevine

Dear Sweet Comanche: The head slave says your foot is feeling better -- but what say-eth the horse?? Hope both you and Eve are just fine, and she can take you out on the trails very soon again. Well, maybe without the heavy saddle and just a pad or an English lightweight... I know your Eve is so small, you don't even feel her on your back! And get that trumpet out soon, with lots more Corral talk.. Love you Comanche, CATHY BURGER

Hello, hello, hello, humans, this is Comanche calling you for the horses of Grapevine and today I will have the trumpet, so there, Skipper, because this one is for me, for me!! And about time, too – we horses have had the worst time, not being able to get out at all – the slaves have been busy and it’s been most dull!!  Anyway, hello there, Cathy, and how nice to hear from you and yes, my feet are just fine – but now my slave says I’m too fat and so yesterday she took me for a ride to a rough part of the canyon.  I’m not used to having to stumble over tree roots and clamber up canyon walls, not me!  Anyway, we went on the other side of the wash where, many years ago, we had a king size wreck – I remember it still.  We were crossing the wash and the other side was very steep and I slipped with my front feet because stupidly I put them on a big, flat rock and I fell over backwards, it was very nasty! And the slave, of course, she fell off me, and I fell on top of her, but luckily it was in the sand, so anyway we were both all right, but I remembered that wash, and here she wanted me to go close to it again! What an idea!  I backed off and circled around a bit, but finally I did it – there’s no arguing with her. Then we made a big circle and finished up with the cows, where she wanted to turn on the water for them. And so what does she do, I ask you? She’s too lazy to get off me, so she opened this little teeny gate and prodded me to go through it to the tank and to the thing that turns the water on – I hardly fit through it myself, even without her feet hanging off there – you see, I have grown a little round over the past few months - I mean, the things I do for this woman!  What?? Who?? Oh Scotty – OK, here you are then…..”

Scotty the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Cattle Round Up at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Thanks, Spot – and hello you lot out there, this is Scotty, and I haven’t been able to get in a word for ages and ages.  Of course, that was because I was at the other place, but now I am back home and I think the slave is going to ride me again. About time, I had to work a bit hard for that other slave, the one that heads up the barn over there!  He had me doing all kinds of awful stuff, in fact, the last time he took me out to the corral to do what he calls roping. Stupid, I call it!   He made me go out in the middle of a whole lot of pushing, dirty cows and their little brats, and then he would rope one and ask me, ME!! to drag it up, like a log. I ask you!  That’s a lot of work for a horse. But he says I’m stout and I guess I am, at that, I have grown quite large. But still, to have to work like that – I am not used to it!!  So I dragged the little blighters up, one after another, I lost track of time! It was a long, long day.   Some of the little brats would jump in the air and twist, and then I would have to back off so the rope would stay tight, and finally I’d had enough. When one of them did some particularly nasty gyrating, I said that’s it, I’m not doing any more of this, and I backed my ears to indicate my displeasure and sort of jumped around, but it did me no good at all!! I should have known – the slave on me just stuck his spurs in me and jerked on the reins and on the rope at the same time, and I found my rebellion was over before it even started.  Well, I must say if this is what being a cow horse is all about, I want no more of it!!  I would much rather just jog down the country with my own slave on me, not asking for very much, because you know, I am a comfortable horse, I like to be … well… comfortable. Good eating, and lots of sleep, that’s for me. So now that I’ve mentioned eating, my stomach is starting to grumble a bit, so that’s   where I’m off to, to the feed bin. I see the feed slave put some more in and I hate it to get all dusty and spoiled.  So goodbye for now ……”

Tequila the horse at Grapevine
Skipper, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

"Oh for goodness’ sake, give over with the whining, Scotty!! One would think you’d died and gone to hell to do a bit of an honest day’s work, one would!  And you hardly even raised a sweat that day – I was near there, and I could see it. And your hay would never get a chance to get dusty, you gobble it up much too fast for that! Really!!   And, humans, you won’t believe what else he did – I should say that this is Tequila, and I share the pasture with this piece of no good yellow stuff – as soon as he came back to our pasture he glommed onto Bonny, that beautiful mare that’s in the pasture with us, and even though we had all been friends, no more friends now, not with Mr. Scotty here!!  He ran us all off if we as much as looked at her, and there he is all day and night, between her and us, guarding her as if she belonged to him.  I’m sure Bonny doesn’t care for that either, she is a sociable mare, and after all, what can he be gabbing about all day and all night that’s so interesting!! Hrmpph!!  But there it is, I guess we are stuck with him again.  But anyway, I do want to tell you this, the other day our slave and I went for a ride in the canyon and then she did a most extraordinary thing – she got off me and walked, actually walked, home!! Comanche says that she does that a lot with him when they go on their little afternoon rides, and that it’s a lot of fun, and I must say that I did enjoy it. It was kind of interesting walking beside her on a loose rein, grabbing a bit of grass here and there, and we got to be quite friends – much nicer than always her being on me, we could chat a bit and exchange ideas.  Anyway, she said the walk was good for her.  But I’ve said enough for one day – I’m not a talkative horse, so who else wants the trumpet, eh??”

“This is Skipper from the other place and all I want to tell the humans is that we are back at work again, and it is quite surprising how one gets used to being idle!!  We horses had a very good time doing nothing for almost half a year, what a vacation!!!  The slaves said they were building something, and had no time to ride us – but now the visiting slaves are back in force and we’re off into the mountains, doing our stuff, and it’s good to be back to work. I see that a lot of us have grown a bit pudgy over the time, what with all the eating and not doing anything, so back to work for us, and we look forward to more humans coming to spend time with us. So this is Skipper, signing off for the horses of Grapevine, hee ho!!”

Tape 67: Recorded 16 April 2008

Skipper, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Hello, humans, this is the horses of Grapevine calling you….. and this is Skipper, your leader – What? Who said that?”

“I said ‘Says Who’ – and this is Comanche and I have the trumpet and I have had about enough out of you, Skip!  By rights I should be the head horse, because I belong to the head slave, and I should run the trumpet, I, Comanche!   My slave takes very good care of me, and she always says I’m the best horse, so there!  So I will run the trumpet today…..UGH!! Give it back!!”

“And no, I won’t, because your name isn’t Skipper, or not even Chief, it’s just plain ol’ Comanche! So I will run the trumpet today and quickly (before he grabs it back again!!) - we have a message from Cherokee from far away!   Hello, there, Cherokee, and you have to forgive these unseemly goings on here, really, some horses!!  But I see you want to talk to Koko – Koko, Koko, come here, Koko!”

‘Wow, Koko – this is Cherokee -  what a mess you had by jumping just a bit. My slave had been taking me into the woods last spring and summer to the jumping course. We do that so if we come across a log or something in the woods, we can clear it and he won't be afraid. Glad you are OK and of course Butch as well. I have raised enough money to send my slave back to your ranch and he will be there on his Birthday. So whatever appy he rides ... he is partial to them ... give him a good time. I have trained him well so he won't be afraid of anything. take care!”

Rojo, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Alberta the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Yukon the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Hello, Cherokee, this is Koko and yes, I did get a fright the other day, and now I won’t jump over anything, I won’t, I even look twice at logs.  It’s a very frightening life a horse leads, with holes like that waiting to swallow him!  But my friend Butch looks after me and now I am all right!  So are you sending your slave Don back to us, Cherokee – we will take good care of him – we have several spotty horses like me here now, what did you call that, an “appy” – what a funny name.  Comanche’s slave always says about me that I can’t make up my mind whether I’m an Appy or a Paint – I don’t know what either one means, but I do have spots on my rear and sort of splotches on my neck and today they were saying that I have grown very tall.  So we’ll look forward to your slave Don coming to visit us, Cherokee, and you take good care of yourself and always, always look before you jump!”

“Yes, that’s wise and I wish other little horses would learn that lesson, I do!! I should say that this is Rojo, and I have now become a baby sitter, if you please!!  They put me into the corral with two brats, they said that having me in there would make them more civi…civi…civilized, I think it was, whatever that is!  But I must say that specially the little he horse, they call him Yukon because he came from some part of the world like that (a funny name, isn’t it?) is a regular pistol. His corral mate is a filly and her name is Alberta, and Yukon has been really mean to her, so the slaves put me in here with them to teach them about being a horse, they said. What a funny thing – of course they’re horses, what else should they be, but I must say that the slaves were right, this Yukon especially is a very pushy  brat. He always runs Alberta off her feed and then for a few days he even tried it with me, so yesterday I’d had enough.  When the slave fed us, here came Yukon prancing up to me and tried to harass me ….. so I did what any self respecting horse would do - I stuck out my right hind leg and he ran right into it and got a good one!  He WAS surprised!! And I guess he thought it was an accident or something because he came right back, prancing up to me again, so I stuck my left hind leg out and whopped him another good one, and you should see him now! He has become very meek – it is actually very funny, he even lets Alberta push him around now, ha ha.  But you have to do that to these young ‘uns,- otherwise there’s no living with them! So now I can eat my dinner in peace without a hairy little snout poking in there trying to take my feed away!”

Chikala the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Hi there, Rojo, this is Comanche – FINALLY I get to say something!!!  and I saw what happened - that was just right – but it was ever so funny!! Yukon bounced off your hoof like a wet clump of mud, hee hee!  That will be good for him.  And I see that Peanut, who has been retired here, is now living with that other new horse, the big spotted one, what do they call him, Chikala? What a funny name – I heard my slave say it means “small” in some other way of speaking.  Anyway, little Peanut comes halfway up this Chikala’s belly, but he has him properly buffaloed!!  (I heard my slave say that – I think it means scared.)  So funny – Chikala is so big, but that little Peanut is ever so bossy, I remember hearing about him at the other corrals.  It is kind of entertaining to be here watching all this, I must say.  When Peanut was first retired here, he was turned out with the donkeys  until one day he came back from pasture and ate the head slave’s weeds that she had climbing up a wood thing by her corral gate and she was ever so mad!  So then she said that Peanut has to be a horse and stay with the horses and she put him in where he is now. And there is another piece of news, too – Old Mooney went to the sky.  Yes, she went to the sky, yesterday.  She was very old and hurting a lot and she told me some time ago that she wished the slaves would help her over.  So they did, yesterday – and I see that today there is a lot of wind and there are those white horses racing way up in the sky and I’m looking real hard to see Mooney there, young again and running free with them – no more pain, no more sore feet or sore knees, way to go, Mooney!!   Ah well … and look, here come the donkeys now for their dinner, so I guess it must be slave time again. What an agreeable life we horses lead here!! So this is Comanche, signing off for the horses (yes, I will, too, do it, Skip!!!) of Grapevine.   Heee Haw!!!”

Tape 66: Recorded 26 March 2008

Skipper, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“So  hello there, humans, and this is Comanche and I …”

“Ah, no manners at all, just like Chief used to say!!!   This is Skipper, and I am the head horse here now, and so it is MY trumpet and I will talk first, and then, maybe, you, Comanche, can get a word in! Really, these horses!!  So, as I was saying, this is Skipper and first of all we have a very important trumpet here from….. let’s see, who is it again?  Ah yes… a human called Carla!”

“Hello, Paint Horses of Grapevine! I am planning my honeymoon and I am thinking of coming out to your ranch. My fiancé and I love horses (I own 4 Paints) and we have always wanted to work cows with horses. Are you up for that??? Cow camp might be just what we are looking for! And, any of you stallions out there may be able to give us some honeymoon advice... Hope to meet you next spring!

Chikala with the colts

“Hello, Carla, and how nice of you to think of us!  And so you haven’t been here before and you own four Paints!!  How amazing – now why would anyone want four Paints!!  I should think one is enough to cause all the trouble in the world, ha ha, are you listening, Comanche!!   Now, Carla, we have some Paints, let’s see – we have Sugar, she is a Paint, and then there is Faro at the other place, he’s not really a Paint, they call him a Pinto, I don’t know why, and of course, then we have Chikala, he’s the new one, he’s huge, huge and he’s also a Pinto … and how could I forget!  Comanche, he’s a Paint…. And so I know that Sugar is up for working cows, she’s always up for any trouble she can get into, and I must say that she is a good looking filly!!   Chikala is only new, and he isn’t being used yet, although he is so huge I’m sure he could do a day’s work!!  And Comanche, now, he’s special, he thinks, because only the head slave can ride him, she won’t let anyone else on him!!  What an idea is that, eh, eh?  She says it’s because they’re very close.  Very spoiled, I would say!!  And so I hope you do come and visit us – and what is all this about advice? Chikala could have given you some until about three weeks ago, they took him to the special place and now he’s a gelding, whatever that is!  Anyway, we hope to see you for Cow Camp and then you can ride Sugar and you can both have a good time, hee hee! And so here is another trumpet from, let me see!  Ah how terrible – we didn’t get this trumpet for ever so long and it’s from Cherokee, a special friend from far away. And so how are you, Cherokee?  Sorry we didn’t get to answer you sooner but as I said, this place is getting very disorganized, very disorganized!!’

“This is Cherokee talking, the master of the slave Don. It's been a year since my slave Don rode you at the Grapevine. We have been riding all year and have had to ride indoors for the past two months and he is too bored. I am trying to raise some money so he can get back there and enjoy those crow hops you gave him. Some day he may even buy a trailer and get me out there so we can ride all year outdoors. Take care from one appy to another.”

“Ah, Cherokee, this is Koko, you’ve never met me and that’ s because I am only young, they all call me young Koko, but I am very good horse, especially after what happened a couple of Sundays ago, oh, it was awful!! You would never believe what happened to us, Cherokee.  All the slaves went riding to exercise us horses, they said, and I had my friend Butch on me, and we went out along the fence at the place where Comanche lives, I was third in line.  The first slave went across this narrow little crack in the ground, quite narrow, but very deep, and the next horse, Mouse, sort of hesitated and then she jumped it I mean, why!! It’s only about as wide as two of my feet!! And so when it came my turn, because I was behind her, I thought I would jump too. And so I did, and then in mid-air I changed my mind and jumped to the left and oh, Cherokee, it was terrible!!  Never, never change your mind in the middle of doing something, it never leads to anything good, we horses should always think things through!! I jumped and I jumped over this big clump of bear grass and I found that behind it the little hole had widened out there and I fell right into it, only it was too narrow for me to fall to the ground and I got stuck in it by my saddle, and my neck was caught on the bank with my head turned around backwards, and my left back leg got hung up on the other side of the bank and I was caught there!! And my friend Butch who was on me got his leg caught in the stirrup against the bank also and we were stuck there and it was horrible!  And then the others all came running back and managed to turn my head back to where it belonged and got my leg off the bank but I was still hung up in the air, and then they moved Butch’s leg and he was making a lot of noise, he said it was going to break, but it didn’t and then they crawled under me and loosened the thing, the strap that holds the saddle on, I think they call it a cinch and that let me fall down on my feet and left the saddle stuck in sides of the hole.  I should say that they first hauled Butch out of there. And then I had to duck down and crawl out under a tree branch that was stuck across the hole as well, and I am a tall horse, but I did it.  And they said I was a very good horse because I didn’t panic and that if I had panicked I could have killed us both, whatever that is. It was a most awful experience, Cherokee, and so never, never jump sideways!!   I was a bit sore on that leg and limped for a bit and then the pain went away and they put the saddle back on and Butch got back on and we did the ride, but I am ever so careful now when I come to these holes, I never jump them, I put my head down and sniff them and then step across like a civilized horse.  But I have never seen a hole like that one, and all the slaves said they hadn’t either, so hidden!!  So that’s all for now, I am going over there to eat. It was good talking to you Cherokee!!”

“Sheesh, I thought he would never shut up!! This is Skipper again, and I heard the story from Mouse who was there and some of the other horses and it did sound like an awful thing to have happened. Still, a well behaved horse would never launch himself to the left like that, I must say, and I hope that it taught young Koko a lesson!! Anyway, I guess I should give the trumpet back to Comanche, I see he is over there chomping around he wants to say something so bad!! Here you are, Comanche – have at it!!”

“Finally – this is Comanche and I know that the thing with the hole is bad, I heard about that hole from Shanti.  Shanti had my slave on her about three weeks ago and they went through the gate, not far from that hole, and Shanti lost her temper and pitched a fit and caught my slave unawares and dumped her on the ground!!  And then Shanti went bucking across country – she said all the stuff fell out of those bags they put on the saddles – and she stopped short of that hole – she said it was nasty.  But first of all, it serves the slave right for riding dingbat horses like Shanti when she should be riding me, ME – her own special Paint!! – So now she is riding me again – the weather is nice and I’m looking forward to some fun outings.  So I guess that’s all – this is Comanche, signing off for the horses of Grapevine, hee haw!!” 

Tape 65: Recorded 15 February 2008


Skipper, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“So hello there humans, and this is the horses of Grapevine calling and this is the new head horse, Skipper.   And so what is new around here – we’ve been having some very strange weather, a horse doesn’t know if he should shed off his hair or not! It’s been warm and then cold again – and the other day, we had some of that crunchy white stuff, well that was fun, we horses like it better cold than hot!!  And I see we have a trumpet here for – who is it again …. GIVE ME BACK THAT TRUMPET, CHIEF!  You said yourself last time that I was to run it.  GOOD!  So who is it for – oh for Belle!  Come here, Belle, you pretty filly, you have a message here from … let’s see… ah Tammi - and what does she say?”

“My beautiful Belle, oh how I miss riding with you. This is  Tammi and you are the most precious and gentle horse. We spent lots of time together didn't we? Much to the chagrin of Russ and Annie, who were patiently waiting for me to stop brushing you and take you home. What can I say? You took such wonderful care of me all day, so I wanted to repay the favor. I wanted to bring you home with me, but Adam threatened that my bill would go up lots! I cannot wait till we see each other again and have another magical ride through the amazing mountains.”

“Ah hello there, Tammi, this is Belle and how nice to hear from you.  And I wish you were here still, brushing me – you ought to see my coat now!  It’s all hairy and fuzzy because it’s been cold and it sure could do with a brushing.   But we horses have been having a good time lately, we have been turned out into that big area behind the corrals and we’re free to run and play there, and roll around in the mud, so fun!!  The head slave said that it was good for us to get out there and stomp down the ….I forget what they call it, but it’s a stickery sort of bushy weed and evidently the slaves don’t like it much because they want us to eat it when it first comes in early summer.  But I guess we didn’t eat it up and then it got all big and bushy and dried up so now they want us to stomp it down.  Well, I don’t mind – we’re running around there anyway and it’s kind of fun to run through it and scatter it everywhere.    And so how have you been, Tammi – are you riding other horses up there in your corrals??  It will be good to see you again and now I have to go, I see the horses are chasing something around and I have to go see what it is.  So this is Belle, heigh ho!!”

Heigh ho – what a way is that to talk to a human, that’s something that manner-less Comanche always says, he’s from the other corrals, so what manners do they have over there, hrphm!  I should say that this is Skipper again, and I am not feeling very well today. I didn’t tell you, humans, but I have been having trouble with one of my eyes and it’s been very painful and I can’t see too well out of it,  Well, finally the humans decided to do something about it.  The head one here, he likes me, and we do lots of cow stuff together, so he came and put me into the long thing with wheels ……what? Who said that?”

“This is Comanche from the other place, and I said it’s called a “TRAILER”, you ignorant horse - “long thing with wheels”, I ask you!  My slave always teaches me the right words for things, so I  know that’s what it’s called. I really think that a horse that’s so ignorant that he ….”

“Oh shut up, Comanche - what do you know!  I’m the head horse here and I’ll call it whatever I like….. what was it again, a “trailer”?  All right then, just to shut you up, he took the trailer and put me in it and we went to a place far away and the human there said it is an “infection”, whatever that is,  and he gave me some medicine so it didn’t hurt and then he stuck my eye shut, he called it “sewed”!!  Yes!! And now I can’t see out of it at all, but it does feel better, I must say. And I am getting lots of stuff to take, they call it medicine, and ….. oh, look, here’s another trumpet! And who is this for now, I wonder?”

Casey at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

Casey: It was superb working with you on trail clearing. You are certainly special and incredibly attentive. The fact that you stopped fairly often and turned to see that I was doing fine and was still with you is one joyous memory. Another was that as we were clearing one of the mountain trails it started snowing and you and I were absolutely unified in our new white coverings. Stay well and as good as you are. It was an extreme pleasure. All the best, Steve 

“Oh, I see it’s for Casey! And it‘s from his human who was here some time ago and they went to the mountains. Casey!! Casey!! Come here, here’s a trumpet here for you from Steve!”

“Hi there, Skip – a trumpet from Steve?? How nice!  So hi there, Steve, and what are you doing with yourself now that you haven’t got me to carry you around?  Do you have to go walk yourself instead of riding on me??  That was a nice time we had together, specially when you got off me and moved rocks and stuff.  I liked standing under a tree and snoozing and calling it work.  That always amazes me when humans want to get off us and move rocks and things.  I suppose it does make the trail nicer for us later, so we are very grateful.  And now that you have gone back to your corrals, I am having some time off again – we run and play and roll in the mud, it’s ever so fun, as Belle would say.  The slaves grumble a bit and say they have to clean us off, but that’s all right, they don’t have anything else to do anyway!!  Not like us horses, we work hard and all they do is sit on us – so let them brush us, I say!!  So I need to go eat now, Steve, I see that finally they came around with dinner, really the service here lately isn’t what it used to be, at all!  So take care, and … all right, Skippy, here it is, I was just leaving!!”

“Thanks, Casey – it’s nice to deal with a mannerly horse, after all that rudeness I had from Comanche over there.  So this is Skipper – who said that!! Who said “one eyed Skipper”???   You wait, you horses, soon as my eye heals I’ll come sort you lot out!!  No respect at all!!  So again, this is Skipper, signing off for the horses of Grapevine…..   heigh ho … might as well say it as say anything else….. “

Tape 64: Recorded on 20 January 2008

Skpper the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

Hello, there humans, this is the horses of Grapevine calling and once again we’ve not been able to get to the speaking trumpet … the way this place is run is beyond belief!!  I must say that this is Chief, the head horse here at Grapevine….”

“Ah no, Chief, no more!!  You’ve been getting forgetful lately and for all we know, it’s YOU have lost the speaking trumpet that time, so I AM GOING to run it from now on, I, Skipper!! So give it here and I will bring the humans up to date.  So what’s new, humans? – well, quite a lot.  It’s been rather boring lately here, actually - we horses were all turned out of our nice corrals with the easy-to-get-to hay, turned out on the pasture so we had to forage for grass!!  What? What do you mean, it was fun?  Who said that?  Oh I see, it was Milly – well, of course it was fun for you, young’un – what do you know! – but I like my hay served to me daily by the slaves, all this running around the pasture having to pick at it is no fun at all,  Did you think it was fun, Chief?? Standing here next to me like that, you might as well say something!! Chief??”

“What? What?  Oh, yes, it was fun, all right, for about the first day or two.  We ran and ran and kicked up our heels and then – I don’t know, I guess the young ones enjoyed it, but I’m with you, Skip, I’d rather have my hay brought to me. So we stood around on the road and every time one of the slaves came by in their horseless carriages, we stayed in place – I remember the head slave making noises at me and I wouldn’t move, I mean, why should we move for some smelly horseless carriage, it’s an insult to the equine race, it is!! So, I remember she jumped out and ran at me, and then I had to move, I conceded. Hrmph!  Humans!  Anyway, we have a message – but why am I doing this… here, Skip, you wanted to run the trumpet, then do it, darn it!!”

Rio the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“OK I will! So we have a trumpet here first of all for Rio .  Rio – here!! This is for you!”

“Hey Amigo …. Four times on the ranch (twice as you recall, just in November) and you are by far my favorite. As intuitive as we all know horses can be... you are just something else. As Adam taught me during our lesson, I had inadvertently been giving lots of miscues to lots of horses... LOTS. You were incredibly forgiving and did what I expected of you regardless of what I may have been telling you. Once I got my act together we were just about a force to be reckoned with! I barely needed to even touch the reins and you responded immediately and perfectly intuitively. The only time I ever had to reach for the reins was to pull you back in when the urge to take the lead the pack hit you. I could feel the urge to run well up in you time and time again... it's too bad they can't let you on the advanced rides... you're a runner at heart I can just feel it. Maybe one day my dear friend... one day when I've got a little more time in the saddle... we'll take off out across the flats together... consider this an I.O.U. my friend... and I ALWAYS make good on my marker. Riding you at the cowboy games almost seems like an unfair advantage... you managed to make even the "Brooklyn born Italian cowboy" look like a pro. Even when the time comes at the end of the day to unsaddle you and brush you down, there's that unspoken connection. I think I am now starting to understand that magic connection between a cowboy (try not to laugh too much when I refer to myself that way) and his horse. You take such good care of me out on the trails, I can't help but want to do the same at day's end for you. I miss you good buddy... Until our next ride... Vaya con dios!!! 

So hi there, Lou, this is your buddy Rio , and so glad you had a good time with me!!  And I would have shown you a good time, I would, if they had put us on the running ride!!  Because I’m very good at running, I am – I like to run.  I just take the bit and off I go. But they don’t put me on the running rides because of that, now isn’t that a shame!  But we’ll have a good time anyway, you know that it’s fun even at a walk or trot, eh amigo?   Not that I am a Mexican horse, that’s a word that Jose taught me, he came here from a place called Mexico . He said he likes it better here.  So anyway, so glad you called me, I don’t get many trumpets, because I don’t really get to ride with the visiting slaves all that much, somebody said I was too much horse. Well, and what else should I be if not a horse, eh, eh?  Humans have some funny ways about them, not two ways about that! So anyway, I see the hay slave is coming, so it’s best to get in there before some of the other pushy horses get the best of it. You take care of yourself, Lou and see you next time!!”

“Well, that was nice for Rio , he doesn’t get too many trumpets, but that’s because he’s so full of himself – I should say this is Skipper, the new head and trumpet horse – and so who is next?  I see there is a trumpet here for Peanut. Peanut, Peanut, where are you???”

Peanut the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Hey Peanut, my darling! This is Lena, the girl from Germany . I was in October 2006 at the Ranch. I hope you remember! I had a great time there and enjoyed the rides with you. You are the nicest and most beautiful horse I have ever seen! Since I had left Arizona , I wanted to return to the ranch to cross the Plains on your back again. But now I read on the web site that you're a retiree already. Of course it's sad, but I'm sure you enjoy this relaxed life. So if I come back to this great ranch, I will have a look at you and hug you. I hope we will meet as soon as possible. I love and miss you. Best regards. Lena .” 

“So this is Peanut – and who wants me?? I’m a very busy horse, I have lots and lots to do now that I’m retired.  I walk around….. who? Oh, Lena !!  Ah yes, you were here when I was still a working horse!!   And so how are you, Lena ? And when you come back, you just ask them to get me, I’ll be happy to take you for a ride, after all I’m not so retired that I can’t have fun with friends!  But it’s nice, this retired life. I spent the first few weeks with the two donkey gals, Katie and Sarah, only they want to be called Miss Katie and Miss Sarah, now how puffed up is that! What if I wanted to be called MR. Peanut!!  Wouldn’t that be ridiculous, but there you are, it may be those long ears that make them think they're so special. Anyway, as I was saying, I was turned out with them and with the three other retired mares, but then the slave here said that I was being mean to them and chased them around. Well, and why not? I ask you!  I was bored, being without work so suddenly, you might say. So then I went over to the head slave’s corral one day and I saw there some nice green things coming out of a sort of pot and they looked tasty, so I ate them. She wasn’t very pleased, I heard all about it later, and so then they put me into a big corral next to Shanti and Monkey – well actually his real name is Sundance, but they call him Monkey for short. I must say that Monkey suits him better than Sundance, it fits his character, you might say, the monkey bit. Anyway, I am next door to them and it’s a good life.  I eat and sleep and drink a bit of water and then go talk to those two, and then sleep some more,. It’s a better life than I expected to have when I lived in Mexico , this retirement!! So Lena , it was good to hear from you and I must go and eat a bit again – I see they put some fresh hay in there. I don’t like the old hay, I pitch it out on the ground and then I pee on it, so they know I’m not going to eat it,. After all, when you’re retired, you should get nothing but the best!! So goodbye for now, and remember, when you come back, we have a date!! So this is Peanut, from the horse retirement place at Grapevine!”

“Good heavens, I thought he would never shut up!  I don’t think Peanut needs to be retired, I think he needs a muzzle!  This is Skipper again – and I feel sorry for the horses over there if they have to listen to him all day and night!  And if I were the slaves, I would make him eat that pee’d on hay, so there – what a waste of good food! Some horses have no consideration, but there you are, Peanut has always been spoiled by the head slave here, who used to give him goodies when he was still working. It’s a wonder he didn’t take the rides with his head swivelled back, begging for more goodies!  So anyway, this is Skipper signing off for the horses of Grapevine, hee haw!!  Is that how you do it, Chief?”

“I guess that’s good enough, Skip – I did it with more style, of course, but then that was ME – let me show you how…… SO THIS IS CHIEF SIGNING OFF FOR THE HORSES OF GRAPEVINE … HEE HAW!!  See? Much more tune and finesse!!”

Tape 63: Recorded on 1 December 2007

Comanche, Eve's horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch.“Hello there humans, this is the horses of Grapevine calling and this is the slave’s favorite horse, Comanche…. And I see we have a trumpet here for Nemo!! Nemo, Nemo, come here where are you, Nemo…?”

“For heaven’s sake, where should he be, he’s over at the feeder like a respectable horse, that’s where he is…. I should say that this is Chief, over at the other corrals, and I don’t know how it happened that Comanche got the trumpet ahead of me!! It’s MY job, after all, to run the trumpets around here!   How did you get it Comanche….. ah, no point in asking, he’ll only give me some rubbish.  I don’t know about the horses today, they have no manners, no manners at all. Now when I was a young horse …. But just a minute, let me see, there is a trumpet here…. Now who is it for?? Ah yes, Nemo.  Nemo, Nemo….. oh, I see you’re right here already!”

“Well, of course, I’m right here, a horse would have to be deaf not to hear all this ruckus, first of all Comanche yelling his head off about a trumpet and then you….. so here I am, so now what is it?”

“Hello Nemo, thanks for your message. This is Maureen calling you back.   Great to hear from you. It suddenly feels like November here on the tip of Cape Cod. It's so different here as compared to where you live. We are near the Ocean. I don't suppose you have ever seen the Ocean, where all sorts of critters like whales and dolphins and seals live. Thing is, humans can't ride these critters like horses. Well maybe one of the wranglers can show you a picture of these critters. We live about a mile from the Ocean here in Truro. I volunteer for the Cape Cod Marine Mammal Stranding Network, and help to keep an eye on some of these critters that go astray, and end up on the beach instead of in the water. Yesterday I was called out to monitor a beached Grey Seal. I checked it out and determined it wasn't sick or wounded - just plumb worn out probably from last week's hurricane. I put a sign up to warn people on the beach not to go too close, as the seal needed to rest and not be bothered by humans and dogs. Well I was happy to see that she had returned to the ocean when I checked again early this morning. I must say Nemo , I think the horses at Grapevine have it pretty cushy - oh I know you all work hard on those trail rides - but those wranglers make sure you get your chow everyday! These poor Ocean critters have to works so hard to catch fish. I bet you wouldn't like to taste fish! Well I hope all the horses and humans at the ranch have a fine Thanksgiving! Peter and I have so many nice memories from our trip to Arizona and especially of the ranch. Happy trails!”

Nemo, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch
“Hello, there, Maureen, this is Nemo and it is good to hear from you, even though I must say I don’t understand much of all that. What do you mean, there are critters in the water?  Well, we have critters in the water here, too, but nobody could ride on them, they  are ever so small.  And we don’t get much water around here anyway, only when it rains and it doesn’t do that too much.  The other day one of the humans came to our big corral and he wanted to clean out the water bucket thing because it had emptied in the night. So he brought a stick with him with a sort of thing on the end and he started to scrape and scrape and guess what, Maureen, he made a big hole in the water bucket, and the head slave here was ever so mad, because then they had to go and get another water bucket for us to drink from. But the humans get excited about every little thing, don’t they, Maureen?  Do you get excited about little things, too – we horses only pretend to get excited, just to enjoy life a bit and take the humans down a peg or two.   There is a big pretty mare at the other corrals who really likes to wind up her human, she does!  She was telling me it’s ever so much fun to spook at things and spin around and

pretend she’s scared of things she’s seen a hundred times, and her slave gets all mad at her, and she thinks that’s ever so funny!!  But today her slave Dolly and Eve at Grapevine Canyon Ranchhad had enough – she put her – I should say her name is Dollie – into the round pen and got her to run around and around, to take the ginger out of her, she said – I wonder what that is, can you eat it? Why would she want to take it out of her - where is it in her??  Anyway,  Dollie said it was a lot of fun at first, she kicked up her heels and ran so fast she almost fell into the middle of the round pen, hee hee.   But then when it was all over, she said she was happy enough to go on the ride and behave herself.  Ah well – I guess Dollie doesn’t get as much work as we do around here, or she wouldn’t be so silly!!   So now I am going to go and eat a bit – I am a hungry horse, I am, and have to keep my strength up!!  So nice to talk with you, Maureen and I hope you will come again and see me and we can ride together.  Ah, yes, and here comes Chief again, all important, I guess he wants the trumpet back.  Here it is, Chiefy – I am done with it!!”

“Well, and I hope so, too, you’re done with it.  You’ve gossiped here long enough, you’ll be boring the humans. Hrmph!!!   I see now he’s gone to eat…. Does he ever do anything else, I wonder?   But on second thoughts, that’s new hay in the feeder, so I think I’d best go too, before it’s all picked over and only the dry bits left.  So take care, Human …. What’s her name again?  Oh, I AM getting forgetful – ah yes, Maureen - take care, Maureen, look after all those critters you have there, whatever they are…. and I am going to the feeder. So this is Chief, signing off for the horses of Grapevine.  Hey ho!!”

Tape 62: Recorded on 8 November 2007

Rio, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

Aah s-o-o, hello humans, this is the horses of Grapevine calling, and this is, you won’t believe it, but this is Rio – and I have actually got a-hold of the speaking trumpet this time ahead of old Chief, who always pushes his way in here first!! S-o-o – let’s see – we have three trumpets here, and the first one is – well, what do you know!! It’s for ME!! And it’s from my fan Marilyn, and how nice is that, Marilyn. And you are the first, the very first human to trumpet me, and you would think that others would have done it already, but no, you are the first. So how are you Marilyn? And what did you say?”

Riding the trails at Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Typical scenery on a trail ride.

“Well, now I know I should always pay attention when on horse back, then you are ready for the unexpected and don't fall off. My lesson from Dan the Man drove that home. Well Rio, it was great to spend time with you again just drifting round the canyons and hills looking at the birds and wildlife in the sun, but boy was it hot our day ride down to the village. Now I'm back here in the cold of England, hoping we can visit again next year. Dai and I got great pictures again will have to e-mail some into the ranch. Just behave, don’t go rolling in the ---- after you have been groomed.”

“Hey, Marilyn, we had a good time together didn’t we?  And it sure was hot that day, but you should be here now,  the weather is getting cooler and we horses like that, all the nasty flies have gone … But anyway, at least when you were here it was nice and green and we horses could get a mouthful now and then. But I do wonder about those flies -  I wonder where do they go when it gets cold, do you know, Bubbles?”

“No, I don’t know, Rio, and so who cares anyway, nasty flies, all they do is irritate us horses, I’m so glad it’s getting to be cooler weather, look how nice my coat looks, look Rio, isn’t it nice, all fluffy and shiny…”

“Oh for heaven’s sake, give me that trumpet, DO!!!  This is Chief, and there is no end to how you horses can bore humans when you get a hold of it. Give it here, I say!  Yes… that’s better.  So, humans, this is Chief, the main horse here at the Grapevine and I see we have trumpets here from … what? You already did that Rio? Well, and how rude is that! You know it’s MY job!  But OK – since you did it …. And it was a trumpet from that nice human, Marilyn.  So you did answer it? OK – here’s the next one, and who is it from – ah it’s from Ruth and just look, it is for Bubbles!  Come here you silly filly, this is actually for you! Stop preening around fluffing up your coat, we all get winter coats, you aren’t the only one, and come get the message from your human!”

“Bubbles, this is Ruth, and thank you for being such a fun horse. I had a brilliant time doing the advanced rides with you, and it was a pleasure to ride such a willing mare. The staff couldn’t have chosen a better horse for me. Back home now and all the other horses seem much quieter and lazier. So thank you for looking after me on my honeymoon.”

“This is Bubbles, and give it here, Chief!! This is MY trumpet!  So as I said, Ruth, this is Bubbles, and I did have a good time with you!!  And I wish you were here now to see my nice new coat … you would like it so much too, Ruth, it’s all shiny and red….”

“Oh for heaven’s sake, do we have to listen to all this drivel?? This is Chief, and I can  hardly believe my ears!  That trumpet isn’t even for you, Bubbles it’s for Nemo.  Nemo, Nemo, come here, here’s a trumpet for you from Maureen and silly Bubbles thinks it for her!!  Hee hee ... here you are Nemo!”

“And it was SO for ME – this is Bubbles and that trumpet was from Ruth and I think you’re all hateful and I am going back to my end of the corral and eat.  And Chief, you don’t know everything, you don’t, and you messed this all up and I am leaving, so there!”

Nemo, the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

“Really, the young generation have no manners at all, at all!!  This is Chief, and I am much older than you, my little filly, and … maybe I did get this a bit mixed up at that,  but anyway, this is for Nemo from Maureen.”

“Nemo, thanks for carrying me on those three great trail rides. This is Maureen. I suspect that after I took a lesson with Adam, you thought I had become a good deal smarter! I hope you are feeling better, because I think you had a tummy ache on our last ride. I know I was supposed to switch you to make you go- but I couldn’t do it. Guess I am just a pushover for a handsome horse like you! Peter says hello to Buckshot, a.k.a. Elvis. We really loved the ranch. Please give our regards to Adam, Butch, Punk and Al. Happy Trails

“Hello Maureen, this is Nemo and thank you, I am feeling much better, it must have been something I ate!!  And thanks for the message for Buckshot – he’s on a ride right now, but I’ll tell him.  So glad you had a good time … and look at Bubbles, she’s all sad now that this trumpet wasn’t for her as well!! Bubbles – come here, you silly filly, they can’t all be for you!  I haven’t had a trumpet for ever so long and I am so glad to hear from my friend Maureen! Anyway, Maureen, glad you feel you got better after the lesson, I thought you were fine even before! And I will give pass on your hellos to Butch and all the others!!  So take care and come back, it was fun carrying you around, you were nice and kind.  And so this is Nemo…”

“Ah no, you don’t – this is Chief and it’s MY job to sign off, so … Oh, I do have a headache, with all these horses pushing and shoving. There is no discipline in this corral at all!  Anyway, humans, this is Chief signing off for the horses of Grapevine, and I am going over to stand in the corner and have a little snooze – maybe my headache will go away when I get a bit of peace and quiet!  Hey ho!!”

Tape 61: Recorded on 16 October 2007

Tequila Eating . . .

"Hello there humans, this is the horses of Grapevine… Oh, I AM tired of saying that!  Of course, you all know who this is calling you, this is Comanche, and I think it is very tiring to have to keep repeating the same stuff all the time, all the time, don’t you  think so, Tequila?? Tequila???"

“Wha-a-t?  I’m busy, can’t you see, what was that you said, Comanche? That it’s boring repeating stuff all the time?  Well, and how do you think the humans must feel when they’re trying to teach colts, eh, eh?  Talk about repeating stuff all the time, I don’t think you ought to complain, Comanche, I don’t – I bet the slave had to repeat things to you forever when you first came here – all wet behind the ears yet!  Anyway, let’s see, we have a trumpet here, don’t we?? So where is it, where did you put it?”

“Oh, he didn’t put it anywhere, it was here all the time!  This is Chief at the other place, and it’s no wonder you horses over there can’t even keep your trumpets straight!!  Now, we over here are hardworking horses and we know what’s what, and anyway here is the trumpet – let’s see who is it from?   It’s from Graeme…and for Biggins..  Biggins, Biggins, come here, boy, you have a trumpet from your old pal Graeme…“

Chiricahua Ride
Chiricahua Ride

“Hello Biggins. Hope you are well and continuing to enjoy life at Grapevine. We had a wonderful time while we there and I felt privileged to be able to ride out with you, especially as you were the most advanced horse I rode while I was there. When we did the Chiricahua ride I was a bit nervous, especially when I was 7,000 ft up! You did very well by me though and looked after me wonderfully, so thank you! We miss the ranch dearly and we hope to be back to see you and your friends very soon.”

Hello there, Graeme, this is Biggins, and so glad you had a good time here, and do you know what, Graeme, it is beginning to get a little cooler here now, and we horses like that ever so much!  All the flies go away to wherever flies go when they’re not bothering us, and the grass has turned a lovely yellow color … though it doesn’t taste as good, I must say, but it does look nice.  Now the humans don’t think we horses notice things like that, but we do, we like things to look nice. But in the cooler weather it’s more fun for us to go out and ride, too, we don’t like the hot days much, so we reckon the good times are coming now.  That’s one of the fun things about that ride we took together, the one that goes so high to the place with the big, scraggly rocks – I like that one, it’s always cool there, even in the middle of summer.  And so do you have a special horse where you are, Graeme – I’m glad you think about us over here.  Some of our humans who come here do have horses at home, and we often send them messages, now there is one we talk to often, his name is Cherokee.  I don’t know exactly where his pasture is, but he’s fun to talk to …. In fact, I think we have a trumpet here from him right now, don’t we, Chief??”

“Yes, we do, and if you ever stopped yammering for long enough we might be able to hear it, Biggins.  Here it is, and it’s for Joey.”

“My slave Don was on my back today and we rode the blazes here in Old Ohio in 91 degree weather. He and I took a shower together and boy did that feel good. Joey, don't tell his partner Cathy that he and I are working on a deal that will send him back to your ranch next February. It's almost too cold here so I don't mind sharing him with you. From one Appy to another. We are brothers you know. Keep you posted as far as our progress. Stay well.....Cherokee”

“This is Joey, Cherokee, and how nice to hear from you again!  It does sound as if you have a good time there, and I know what you mean about having to stick together, us Appys, I mean!  I’m the only one here … well no, that’s not exactly right, there’s Biggins too, I guess he is one as well, I see he’s making faces at me from over there….but we are special horses, what with the nice spots and all.  I heard one wise old horse tell a story once that us horses with the spots were very liked by some of the old humans who rode us into battle – I imagine that a horse with spots like that would be less visible, eh, do you think, Cherokee?  I know that Comanche from over the other place is always boasting how his spotty hide wouldn’t be seen from a distance, hrmph!  But he isn’t an Apply, he’s just an old Paint – isn’t that right, Chief?”

”Hey, hey, just a little minute there, Spotty yourself – this is Comanche, and I’ll have you know that I am NOT an “old Paint”, but a very superior Paint, with lots of nice markings and good conformation - but actually, I don’t think I can be bothered to argue with you horses from over there. You have very little sense and no manners, so I’ll just go over and see what the slave has put into the feeder.  The grass isn’t so good any more and so we horses decided to come into the smaller pasture where the good feed is dished out – had enough of all that scarping all over the place looking for the good bits!  So this is Comanche …..”

 “Hey, hold it, hold it!!  Not so fast, Spot!  This is Scotty and I am over at the other place from you and it is totally hateful here!  The slave said I was too fat and had no manners, so I am locked up here in a small pen with hardly anything to eat, and I’m taken out every day or so and tied up to that awful piece of wood and let stand there for hours – the slave who’s here said that I have to learn to stand tied. He didn’t like it when I untied every knot, and so he tied me to the railing around the arena and when I couldn’t untie it, I lifted it over the top, hee hee, and got away.  But he didn’t think it was funny, and now I have to stand here for hours learning to be patient, he said. I wish my slave would rescue me and take me home….”

“Well, young Scotty, maybe if you stopped standing on your hind legs when she rides you, she might take you back home – I should say this is Tequila from over the cattle place – but a horse who stands on his hind legs every time he doesn’t like something is no fun for anyone.  And you would think you would have learned from the time you slipped in the mud and fell, and fell on top of her to boot – now that was a very stupid thing to do,that was!  Now, I would NEVER think of doing something like that, and I know Comanche takes good care of her, she is a good slave, and you are a brat…. but there you are. We hope that you will learn that you are a horse and behave yourself when you do come home. But anyway, this is Tequila and we’ve done enough blathering for a while, so this is the horses of Grapevine saying Heigh Ho, we’ll talk to you soon….. and, Comanche, I AM NOT tired of saying the same thing all the time, see!!!  It comes with the territory of being a special Grapevine horse…..”

Tape 60: Recorded on 18 September 2007


Comanche & Scotty

Hello, there, humans, and this is Comanche calling you all – and guess where I am, eh, humans, eh?? I am knee deep in grass, that’s where! It has been the most amazing summer, the most amazing….. We horses at the cattle place have been turned out almost all the time and I am so full of grass … what? I have a trumpet? Well, how nice, seems not too many humans trumpet me, seeing that only the slave rides me … so who’s it from, who’s it from??’

“This is Elizabeth calling Comanche -   Dear Comanche: I've never visited Grapevine, but you sound like you live an interesting life. You should be happy to be out in the green grass. So, what if you have to eat hay, also? You could be a poor starving horse, abandoned by your "slave" or trail boss. You got the life. I think you should let your trail boss know that your slave is giving you horse cookies. These may be good tasting and you may like them, but in the long run, too many will make you FAT and you won't be able to run in the grass as you so like to do. So, keep up with the apples and carrots and try to live with the hay. When the grass comes back, you can eat that again. Eating the hay may make you thin again, since you don't like it so much, and make you appreciate the grass more. Someday, I hope to get out to Grapevine and see you. You sound like a very intelligent animal!”

Comanche at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

Comanche among the wild flowers.

“Yes, and so hello, Elizabeth and how nice of you to worry about me and my cookies! Only see, they’re not really human cookies, they’re what my slave calls horse cookies and they’re made of stuff good for horses, with something called vitamins and other good stuff. So my slave doesn’t have to feel guilty for giving them to me, see, and that’s a good thing, because I sure like them!!! And what do you mean about a trail boss? I don’t have any boss other than my slave and we sort of trade off on that!! Well, actually not, to be honest, I have to do what she wants, but she is most reasonable, most reasonable. The other day we went out into the canyon, just us two, like we used to do in the old days, and it was lovely. We got up a way past the lake – it’s getting lots of water in it now, too, so it looks so nice and cool – and then when we got there, she slid off my back like she used to and took the thing off my face and we walked home together, eating grass and sharing the day, it was a most superior time, it was! I like my slave, she appreciates how a horse feels, she does. And so are you coming to visit us, Elizabeth? I would make sure that a really good horse took you out, you’d have a good time – even though you wouldn’t have ME, but you would have a good time….”

“Listen to him, horses, just listen to him…… “You wouldn't have ME” – and so what does that mean, eh, Comanche? I’ll tell you what it means, it means that you’re insufferable and full of yourself, that’s what it means! I never heard the like! Now, I am a horse that carries people to their special days and all, and you never did that, my friend, no, you didn’t! I should say this is Chief and I am the head horse here at the other corrals…..”

“And so you’re not the only one, Chief, who carried humans to the special thing, I did too, I did too! This is Sabino and I carried the little one, the one they made all the fuss over! So there. And really, I am going over there to eat – all this yakking around makes me hungry.”

“But horses, settle down settle down! You sound like a bunch of quarrelsome goats, you do! It’s the goats that are always bleating and carrying on, you should be more dignified! After all, we are the ones to carry the humans around…. And we have another trumpet here, from, let me see….. ah yes, it’s from Miriam – and so how ARE you, Miriam? And you want to talk to who? Oh, Boots? Come here, Bootsie, come here, one of your humans wants to talk to you!!”

“Hello, Boots, this is Miriam ….. Dear Boots, You understood me even when I didn't have the correct language. When I took some lessons and got the right 'lingo' things got even better. Thanks for your patience and acceptance. I can't wait to see you again. Love, Miriam”

Boots at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

Boots, courtesy of Miriam Fischer

“Hey ho, Miriam, and this is Boots – and how nice of you to think of me, and when you’re so far away! I had a really nice time with you too. Especially when you got to doing things right. Now I am a sensitive horse, and I like my humans to do things right by me – I can’t stand this pulling and kicking … you know, Miriam, that I always try to do the right thing, and as soon as you learned my language, we did all right, didn’t we?? We horses are having a real nice time now, the grass is so long and when we go out on vacation we don’t even come into the corral except to drink water, there’s SO much stuff out there to eat, so much! And do you have lots of grass where you are, Miriam? And do you like to eat it, too? I never see our humans eating grass, but maybe that’s just as well, because if they did they might gobble it all up, like the cows, and there wouldn't be any for us, phooey! As it is the stupid cows eat all day long, I mean, you never see a cow without her head being buried in the grass, it’s disgusting how they eat. And they don’t even take humans riding, they just eat. Ah well, at least we get to have fun chasing them now and again, now that’s a rare treat, when we have to bring them all into the corrals, that is! I like doing that. Anyway, thanks so much again, Miriam, for thinking of me, and I see that Chief is over there chowing down all the hay, so I need to go over if I’m to get a bit! Really, this place is very disorganized, very disorganized - they just let the horses eat wherever they want … now if I was running this corral, I would have a special place for me … and maybe some of my special friends … that would be much better! But no use dreaming – best get over there while there’s something left! Hey ho, Miriam, and in fact, hey ho, all humans, it’s dinner time and so this is the horses of Grapevine signing off!!”

“Hey, hey, not so fast, Boots, you have no manners at all!  This is Chief, and I am NOT eating your hay, and I don’t know where this corral would be without me to keep things straight!!  We have another trumpet here from some humans who were here not so long ago.”

”Rusty and Hank!  We can't wait to see you again!
You both conquered our fears of riding again--after 25 years--we had the time of our lives on your backs last Thanksgiving Holiday. You were both so gentle with us old city duffers. Your pictures sit in a frame on our desks and we look forward to celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary with you in November, 2008. We plan to bring the whole family--maybe you would be kind enough to take us out in the countryside to renew our vows--the whole gang. We leave it to you to select the six other horses we need. By the way, what do you hear from Rusty the wrangler that we had who was moving to England. We hope he came back for Dingus---we sure did like him. See you, but not soon enough. Judy and Bob Jackson”

Rusty the horse at Grapevine Canyon Ranch

Rusty with Annie


“Well, hi there, Bob and Judy and so how are you both?? Are you practicing your riding over there far away??  I should say that this is Rusty – Hank is over there filling his face – and it was so great to have you both here.  Hank, Hank!!  Come over here and talk to Judy and Bob!!  Wha-a-a-t?? Later? What a way to treat your friends, but there you are, Hank only thinks about his stomach.  Well, the news here is that we have lots of grass, but I am sure you know all about that because it seems that every horse in the corral can only talk about the grass – and otherwise we have been having a good time. It rained a lot and our corrals got all muddy and so the slaves turned us out for a while to run free in the big, big corral behind ours, well they call it a pasture, but there is nothing there to eat, only bushes, so it’s no pasture, but it was fun anyway, wasn’t it Hank?  Here’s Hank finally stopped eating – wasn’t it fun to run free, Hank??  Here, say Hi to Bob and Judy!”


“Hi folks, this is Hank and it seems to me that everything has been said already, hasn’t it?  Chief is always so ready to blather on…..  So what else is new?  Oh yes, we have a new horse here, by the name of Scotty.  He’s over from the other place, where Comanche’s slave hasn’t time to work with him and I guess he’s been a bit naughty. So anyway he is here with us, in a pen of his own and he is on a diet, to lose weight!!  I heard the head slave here today say that he is finally getting a bit of a waistline, which is a good thing, because he looked like a yellow ball when he came here. His disposition is improving, too – I think it’s not good for your disposition if  you are fat – it addles a horse’s brain, it does.  The other day we all went out and chased cows – I like chasing cows, it’s very entertaining.  We chased them most of the day – and the bulls, too – and one bull didn’t want to come in, so we had to go out and get him by himself, that was a lot of fun, I don’t think!  I don’t have any desire to have a bull stick his horn into me, no sirrreee.  So I kind of hung back a bit, but anyway the bull came in and now they are all in the big corral over at Comanche’s place, being fed hay and resting. Resting from what, I should like to know !  They never work – they never carry any humans around on their backs, they only eat and talk to the cows – ah well, maybe that’s work, at that, some of the cows don’t look too bright. Anyway. I have to go back to eat now before it’s all done, so it was good to talk with you, Judy and Bob, and we all look forward to seeing you again – did you say with the family??  Is that something to eat?  I guess not -  Chief is shaking his head at me.  So I’m off to the feeder!”

“This is Chief – how ignorant some of these horses are, really!  A family isn’t to eat, knot head, a family is like… like…. if your mother has another foal, that’s family.  I know because I heard the humans talking about their family.  But you asked about Rusty the wrangler – well, he came back from that other place, but he isn’t at the ranch, he is not far away and he has that no good, horse-biting Dingus dog with him, good thing he’s gone!! But he left the horse Faro here with us, and we’re glad of that, he’s a good friend. So that’s all for now – what a long trumpet this turned out to be !! So for the horses of Grapevine, this is Chief, signing off – heeee hawww!”



Tape 22: Recorded on 11/6/2004

    “Hi there, humans!!! This is the horses of Grapevine calling ..... this is Buggsie, you know, that handsome white Arab, so elegant, we Arabs are, don’t you think? My special wrangler, Dan, who just loves me, says I am! Anyway, here’s what happened to me, you won’t want to believe it....  

(Click here if you want to go straight to Buggsie’s Incredible Adventure") 

    “No, no, Buggsie, first of all, this is Bubbles, the beautiful little filly.... I have to talk to my riders first, and you can have your say later. I agree that your adventure was really something, in fact, it made us all quite envious at first....
    Anyway, it’s so nice, we are getting ever so many more letters from all of you, it really makes our life so much more exciting to be able to talk to you, some of our favorite riders!!”
    “Oh sure, Bubbles, we all know you think you’re the star of the show here, but I’m first! The first letter is to me, so I’ll answer first, if you don’t mind, little filly! This is Nimo, and I want to answer Sarah, who was here with Randy. It was actually Randy I palled up with, but I’m glad Sarah is writing all the same - I guess Randy is too busy being out there making sure they all get enough hay to eat.”

    “Hey Nimo. My husband Randy is looking forward to riding you on the lope runs and through the Chiricahua on the day trip. Please hide in the field from Adam or fake sickness and don't let him assign you to any other guest during the period of December 3rd to 8th.”

     “Hi Sarah, - it will sure be nice meeting you both and I will enjoy the trip to the Chiricahuas with Randy. I always think that’s the best outing for us all, riders and horses. So cool, what with the tall trees and that nice rustling with the breeze blowing through them....”
    “Oh for heaven’s sake, Nimo! A poet, yet - just answer the letter, there‘s a lot we have to tell the people, and I’ve had a much better adventure than any of you..... this is Buggsie again, and I have ever so much to tell you all, if I ever get a word in, by the time all these other horses have done with their fans....”
    “Okay, Buggsie, we'll hurry, I guess you did have quite an adventure at that! Anyway, as I was saying, it was nice meeting you and Randy and I look forward to seeing you both again, so hurry back! I’ll try to hide, but you know, that’s not easy out here - they have eyes like wild horses, those wranglers, when they want one of us! But December isn’t too far off, so I’ll be sure to be waiting for you and we’ll enjoy ourselves. Here’s Bubbles again, I guess I’ll have to give her the speaking trumpet, after all, she also had a message ... here you are then Bubs....”
    “Hi, folks, this is Bubbles .... wait a minute till I just flip the hair out of my eyes! Okay, cool - So who’s that for me?”

    “Hey Bubbles, this is Sarah! I miss you very much. I am looking forward to when I will see you on December 3rd. Please make sure Adam doesn't let any other guest ride you in
the days before I get there.”

    “Oh hi, Sarah!! SO nice to hear from you! It’s always a pleasure to talk to some of my fan club!! I know I’m kind of special around here, I’m so little and dainty, all of my riders really enjoy riding me - and I try to be good to them, too, although I did hear the wranglers tell the riders they have to know what they’re doing with me, because I’m so young. Well - it’s not only that! I’m quite smart enough to know my job, thank you very much! It’s just that I get a little scared at times, after all, there’s all kinds of horse-eating rocks out there and what have you, so my riders have to be on their toes, in case I jump a little! But you did well, Sarah, and you’re so light handed and all, it was a pleasure to be with you. As Nimo said, it’s not always easy to hide when they come and get you out for work, but I don’t get too many riders, you know, I guess they all can’t handle a horse of spirit, so I’m sure to be rested when you get here, and we’ll have some fun! So take care in the meantime, Sarah, and see you soon!! Here‘s Sundance has somebody writing to him - what fun to get all these letters. Here you are Sundance, here’s you rider....!”

    “Hey Sun Dance! Hope you're doing well, still sneaking off to the back of the trail to get some extra eating time! You were great fun to ride and looked after me well. Many thanks and hope to see you soon. Phil.”

    “Well, Hi there, Phil boy, so good to hear from you!! Hang on a minute till I get my head out of this hay feeder, I can’t talk too well with my mouth full, but you know, around here a horse has to look out to get the best of the hay when they put it in, there’s all these other greedy....”
    “Oh give us a break, Sundance! This is Nimo. If you got any more to eat, you’d burst. Look at you, you're like a stuffed sausage, for heaven’s sake! I’ve never seen.....”
    “Oh shut up, Nimo - look who’s talking! You’re no skinny yourself! As I was saying, Phil, now I've got my mouth empty, I can talk. I’m glad you recognized that I had to get to the back of the line to get some of that delicious grass! You know, green grass is at a premium here, we only get it when it’s rained and that’s not all that often, so thanks for letting me get a bite now and then. Those mean wranglers, they’re always telling the riders not to let us eat. Hurrmph!! I’d like to see how they would do if they were walking through places full of goodies they like! and couldn't take a bite! Anyway, Phil, it was great to be with you and to find such an understanding rider - we did have fun, didn't we? I hope you come back soon - maybe when the grass is green again? so we can eat some more together? But here’s Buggsie again, he has an adventure to tell you all, he’s just bursting at the seams with his importance! Here you are, Buggs!”

“Hi everyone, this is Buggsie, again - I thought I’d never get to tell you what all happened to me! The most unbelievable adventure! The other day the humans came and took two of us horses from here and two from the other corral - it was me and Peanuts from here, and Comanche and Tequila from the other place and we went to a new place, across the valley, to a canyon where even Comanche hadn’t been before, and he travels quite a lot with his slave. Halfway there we picked up another horse, a pretty little mare called Peppy and her human. We had a nice ride, way up into the mountains, along a trail high-up, with lots of trees. For lunch we stopped on a sunny grassy clearing and the humans all sat and ate, and let us horses graze the grass. It was nice and peaceful. And I thought, what a lovely place to live, all this grass and tall trees, with the breeze blowing through the branches, so quiet.
    Peanut spent most of his time begging for people-food, kept getting in all their faces - he always thinks what humans have is better than what he has, so they all laughed and kept pushing him away. Peanut thinks he’s a human himself. Anyway, after a while we all rode down the mountain again and came to the long thing with wheels, they call it a trailer. The humans all got off, and stood around talking, and let us horses just graze. Usually they leave the lead ropes down, but this time they tucked them up into the saddle horns so they didn't drag. That was nice, we didn’t keep stepping on them, and it let us graze fresh grass all the time.
    After a while this gave me a good idea. Why not, I thought, just stay in this lovely canyon? No more being dragged out to ride with different visiting humans, just be nice and free here with that fresh green grass and tall shady trees, what a life! I ran the idea past some of the others, and they thought it sounded good, so we began to drift away from the humans just a bit. Then we got a little distance away, we began to walk and they noticed. “Look at those darn horses”, one of them said. “Comanche!” she yelled, “Whoa!” but I said to him, “Don’t listen, let’s just go, Don't you want to be free?”
    So he went, we all went. The humans began to walk after us, but we kept on walking a bit faster and we heard them grumbling. They don’t like to walk, I guess, that’s why they have us, as Comanche’s human always says. Anyway, they sure had to walk then. So we went a little faster, and we got behind a bend on a nice grassy pasture. The others all stopped - they said: “The trailer is behind us, we have to get back! After all, dinner time is coming and we want our nice hay!” But I said “Don’t you want to be free like some of the horses we hear about?” and as I heard the humans coming I took off at a lope and then a gallop. I went through a little canyon and dodged into a deeper one, among trees, and sort of hid. I heard the other horses behind me saying I was being silly, but I stayed there, just peeking out to see what would happen next. It was kind of exciting!
    Well, the humans got there and caught up with the others - it couldn't have been more than a few heartbeats, I did have to hustle to get hidden, I tell you! And then Peppy’s human jumped on her back as Peppy still had that thing on her head that has the mouth bit in, and they took off at a gallop on top of a high mountain slope to see if they could see me. But I hunkered down into my bushes and they missed me. Comanche's slave caught him and got on him, but he only had a lead rope on and he became all excited, so she rode back to the trailer and got his bit thing and brought the other ones back as well, so then they were all on their horses, and began looking for me.
    It was fun, I tell you!! They went up hill and down dale, but I drifted further and further away, and even though I’m all white, they didn't see me. After about two or three hours they said it was getting dark and they went back to the trailer and left. Ha! Success!!! Here I was, a free horse!
    I planned my life. No more being bothered by humans, having to lump them around and put up with “do this, do that”! I thought I would miss my special wrangler Dan, my friend, but heck, something’s got to give! Freedom seemed worth it. Lots of grass, and there was that big water tank I remembered seeing on the way back, so I knew I had it made.
    I spent the first night very pleasantly. The thing on my back, the saddle they call it, was still there, and the bit thing was hanging off it, and I had that hateful halter affair on my nose, but it wasn’t tied too well and I was confident I could shake it off. I grazed a bit, then stood and took a snooze, knowing there would be no one to come and say come on, saddle time! Never ever again, I thought, never any more saddle time for me! I’ll get rid of this one somehow, and life will be sweet. To be sure there were no other horses around, but then I don't much care for other horses - there’s no other Arabs in my corral, only those silly cow-obsessed Quarter Horses, so I don't even have a special friend out there, and anyway, I like being alone. I have never been a horse for too much socializing.
    I had to be a bit careful because there were other humans around, camped here and there around the mountains. They were there to bang away at the deer - poor deer. They always have so much trouble this time of year and have to hide in the high canyons because of all this harassment the humans give them. I don’t see the point of it, why the humans would want to stay out at night and be cold and uncomfortable and walk for miles, just to bang away at anything that moves, but it made me realize I had to be careful in case they banged away at me. Anyway, that first night was pleasant.
    The next day I got a bit careless and stepped out into a clearing and there were a couple of those banging humans. “Look”, one of them said “a horse with a saddle on! There must have been some kind of a wreck! I’d better catch him”, and he stepped toward me. Ah, no, I thought! I didn't get all this way just for you to grab me, and I dodged away and ran off into the scrub and hid. After that I was careful not to be seen during the day, and I hoped all those banging humans would leave soon.
    But that morning, would you believe - because I thought it was all settled that I would stay there - my humans were back! They came with more humans, too. Comanche and Tequila came and Peanut, and that noisy green thing with four wheels that belongs to the barn boss, they call him Adam, and also the horse slave from the other place, Danny, came without a horse and walked the rough, high ground, and Peppy’s Monique walked with him - and would you believe, they all began looking for me again! I did have a laugh! I’m too smart to be caught like that!!! I sneaked away up the canyon and stayed very, very still. They beat the bushes, and rode and rode - I bet the other horses were getting a bit tired, although to watch Comanche cutting up you never would think so. He and Tequila neighed at each other every minute as if each was scared that the other one would dump his human and join me.
     The humans were happy they were neighing - they said it might bring me in, that I would neigh back and they could find me. They said they were afraid I was hurt - hung up on that saddle somewhere, unable to move. Especially Comanche’s human, she’s always so worried about us horses, she was in a proper lather! I felt a bit sorry for her, it was nice of her to worry so much but I wasn’t about to let them find me!!
    I drifted up higher into the canyon where the trees are thick. Several times they came quite close to me, I had to be very still. It wasn't easy, especially when I began hearing that banging from the humans out harassing the deer. Anyway, our humans rode up and down that canyon and the other pasture for about five hours - I bet those horses got a workout! Serve them right! They should have come with me - I told them it would be fun, but no, they had to go and get caught, slaves to their stomachs and their hay!
    I must admit that I began missing that hay, though. The grass was green in places, but in other places it was getting dry and not too tasty, but the freedom was worth it. I shucked around until the saddle began to slip a bit, but of course, I couldn’t undo all those straps that held it on. Still, it wasn't too bad, especially since my rider, Steve, had loosened those straps. Nice of him I thought. In a couple of days I’ll be able to get rid of it altogether.
    Anyway, after about five hours my humans loaded up the horses and left, and a bit later in the day all the other humans out there, those ones who were there with the banging sticks, loaded up also and left. There were only about five groups of them in a huge canyon, so they hadn’t bothered me too much, but I didn't like their banging sticks, and I didn’t like them - but, anyway, they went home. So now I had the place to myself. It was glorious!! I explored - I drifted up higher and higher into the canyon, underneath beautiful pine trees, where the breeze just sort of sighed through the branches. The grass was greener there, so I had a good dinner and then I thought I would go and lie down and have a snooze.
    But wait! ... I thought then. Wasn’t there something about some animals out here who weren’t too horse friendly? I remembered then that even on our mountains there were those big cats, I think they're called mountain lions, and there’s also bear. Then I remembered hearing, when I was a little colt, that those mountain lions especially like to eat horses. That wasn’t a nice thought at all. I thought perhaps I’d better not lie down and go to sleep after all. In the corrals there’s always at least one horse awake, keeping guard, but here I was all alone. I’d better keep guard myself. So I drifted down back off the high country, following the road we had ridden along a couple of days before. I figured that lower down there would be less chance of meeting some of these nasty animals. I spent a pleasant enough night though. Later on I went back to that water tank and had a good drink and got to snooze some in the corral that was around it, even though I found I couldn't lie down easily because of the saddle. Actually I wouldn’t have wanted to - the lions, remember? The gate was wide open - that made me feel good, because I could see I could just leave at any time I liked.
   Ha! I thought - really free at last! Just like those wild horses. I thought about the years stretching ahead of me pleasantly, just nothing but grazing and snoozing, grazing and snoozing ..... but what about the mountains lions? Could I snooze safely, with no other horses to keep watch? I decided to think about that later.
    But next morning, my humans were back! There was only two of them, no horses this time, just them. It was Comanche's human and the other one, Danny. They drove up and down the road, looking for hoof prints, and sure enough, they found a couple of mine, high up in the canyon where I had come down in the morning. Danny said it was fresh and that at least they knew I was alive and not hung up somewhere by that saddle.
   Hung up! That was a nasty thought that hadn’t occurred to me. I thought that over a bit and didn’t like it. Suppose, I thought, I did get hung up and then one of those mountain lions came and ate me? Or a bear? The more I thought about it, the less I began to think of this freedom after all. It was nice, no question - no humans, nobody to bother me..... but that also meant no special feed - and I was getting a bit sick of that dry grass, I must say ..... and no other horses meant nobody to warn me of any coming danger. Hmmm - this being free, I thought, has some drawbacks to it.
    I began considering what to do with that saddle. I wriggled and wriggled, and sure enough, it began to slip off my back, but bummer! it didn’t come off all the way it does when the humans take it off. It just sort of slipped down and hung under my belly, pad and all, This made it more difficult to get through the trees, and I realized also that if a mountain lion were to chase me, it would be that much harder for me run through the scrub. Again, not a nice thought. Also I was sorry I could never lie down to snooze - not that I really would, with those lions and bears all around me like that, fixing to eat me.
    This freedom began to lose some of its charm. I began thinking that my nice corral with all those other horses there, and the regular good feed wasn't so bad after all. But what to do now? It seemed they had all left and wouldn't be back. Perhaps they'd given me up! Maybe they wouldn't come back looking for me any more at all. I began to be quite worried. Also, I remembered from years past, that it was getting colder and so the grass would get drier and drier, and after all, I am used to better things to eat than old dried grass! 
    I began to think that maybe this escape wasn’t all that smart. This was my third night out. I drifted down to that water tank again. At least it had a corral and smelt of human presence. Maybe those lions and bears would smell that, and wouldn't come down there. I drank some water and guess what! I found some alfalfa hay flakes lying around the tank! How nice!! SO much tastier than that old grass, and nicer even than the grass hay! The flakes smelled a bit of Comanche‘ slave and Danny. That made me feel like home. I began eating them and thought about how good it would be to be home again getting regular meals and all that care.
    And I missed Dan, too. He was always so nice to me, rubbed my head and called me his little Buggsie. I realized I wanted to hear someone call me little Buggsie again. I didn’t really want to spend the rest of my life out here all by myself. It was a big canyon, kind of lonely. I began to think I had done a silly thing. But, I wondered, how to get back? There were lot of fences in the way and anyway, I’m no jumper - besides which, that saddle hanging underneath me sure got in the way.
    And I still couldn't lie down to rest - not that I would, what with the lions and all. I thought I could hear a noise in the bushes. I almost could see the lions sneaking up on me. I edged a bit deeper into the corral. Come to think of it, corrals are nice. They do keep you in, but they also keep other things out. I wished the gate was closed, but it wasn’t. Perhaps better - in case the lions jumped in over the top, at least I could run out. But how fast can I run with this saddle hanging off me like that? I began to worry quite a bit - the night seemed very long.
    The next day I stayed close to the corral. I drifted off into the brush near it, and ate some grass, but it didn't taste near as good as it had the first day. It was just a little bit drier, I suppose, and after that hay, it was kind of flat. So I went back to the corral and ate a bit more hay.
    In the afternoon I got a surprise, though. I heard the noise of a machine of some sort coming. I stood by the corral, actually wishing it was Adam on his green thing. But it wasn’t - it was a strange man with a girl. I heard them talking. “Look”, the man said, “there’s that horse! See if you can catch him!” The girl got off and slowly walked up to me, holding a halter. I was SO happy to see humans! I can’t even tell you. I knew they wouldn't let a lion get me, and maybe they had more hay. I was always hard to catch. Dan said I was a trial, even in the corral, but this time I couldn’t put my head into that halter fast enough! She was also a nice girl - I could see she understood horses. She was quick and gentle. She put the halter on and led me into the corral. Then the man came and took that bothersome saddle and blanket off, and rubbed my neck the way my Dan does, and gave me more hay. Then they closed the gate and left.
   I got stuck into that hay - and it wasn't long before I heard another noise coming. I looked up and couldn't believe my eyes! There was Adam and my Dan!! I was SO happy to see them! Dan came up to me and caught me and rubbed my face and neck and said all kinds of nice things, how he'd missed me and how he’d been worried about me, and I found I was so happy to see them both, I can't tell you! After some more nice things, Dan left but Adam stayed in a little house he had brought with him. I’d heard him and Dan talking - it appeared he had come to stay, hoping I would come to the water tank and he could catch me. Catch me! No catching needed - I was SO glad they had come.
   I was also glad he was going to stay with me - at least I didn't have to worry about the lions and bears any more. I realized I liked humans near me - they do take care of us horses! So I ate the hay, drank the water, and then laid down and thought what a silly idea this being free is! Nobody is really free, if you think about it - and there’s always a price to pay for any so-called freedom, and if it means being eaten by a lion, then I much prefer my nice corral and my friends near me.
   So that’s my story!!! Later in the day my Dan came back with the trailer thing, and we went home. I found I was s-o-o-o glad to see my corral and my friends - I’ll never leave again! You never know how good you have it until you lose it!

    So that’s all for now - this is Buggsie signing off for the horses of Grapevine! Hee Haw

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