Monday, September 14, 2009


My dogs let me know someone was by my property but when I looked towards the gate, I saw nothing. As they kept up the racket, I went to investigate. Parked along my fence line was a very long horse trailer, a large dually pickup with the hood up, and an attractive young couple in distress.

We exchanged greetings and I found out the truck had been giving them trouble, so they pulled off the main highway onto my road, and stopped in front of my property where the vehicle died in a puff of smoke. He was on the phone calling for assistance but was worried about his horses.

I looked into the trailer and saw he was hauling seven horses which turned out to be a string of polo ponies. Had to admit I was a tad ignorant about the breed and the game of Polo. I had always assumed that if they were called ponies, they were small horses. I have since learned differently.

It seems that when the British discovered polo in Persia, the average polo pony was only about twelve hands high. A "hand" is equal to 4 inches and the horse is measured at the withers. In 1919 height limits were abolished. Today most polo ponies are of normal height, averaging fifteen hands one inch. However, it is not unusual for a polo pony to be over sixteen hands. This group was in the 16 hand class. BIG mamas.

They had been heading for the Wellington Polo Grounds in Palm Beach County and were a good hundred miles short. My property was cross fenced. Jesse, my horse , was currently on the one acre section as I tended to rotate him. I had an additional 2 acre pasture that was free so I had enough pasture space. I learned they were all Coggins free and proved to them Jesse was also.

Coggins is equine infectious anemia,a viral disease that occurs worldwide. The disease is usually spread by blood sucking insects biting an infected horse, then biting a healthy horse. There is no cure and the horse has to be permanently quarantined or euthanized. Horse owners don't joke around about this.

When we were all satisfied that we owned clean horses, I offered to let them put the animals in my pasture while they set about getting the truck fixed. They leaped at the offer and we started unloading the magnificent seven. It seemed like a sensible solution as it was a hot day and to keep them in the trailer would be brutal. I had secure pasture with electric fencing as well as 2x4 inch welded wire. While I knew nothing about polo ponies, I did have a fair knowledge of horses.

This is picture of pasture. Sorry but I did not get a picture of the horses.

Jesse was excited about the nearby company but the ponies were relatively unimpressed with him as he was a small, lowly quarter horse gelding. His whistles and snorts were pretty much ignored after brief nose touching across the fence. Eventually all creatures went about the business of grazing.

My pasture grass was in the skimpy time of year but the couple asked that I not feed them. They said giving T&A hay would be fine after they inspected the quality and condition of my hay. I felt a bit like commoner wishing to serve the royal family.

I was very picky about what I fed Jesse but they could not know that so I totally approved their checking. T&A hay is timothy and alfalfa which was not cheap, at least for my budget. I had just bought 6 bales and was pleased with my lot. It really smells wonderful and would have lasted Jesse a long time.

When they were content that the horses would be all right for a short stay, we went to wait for the tow truck which would take them to town, 20 miles away. While we were talking, he filled me in on the horses. I was fascinated till he threw out a fact that floored me when I asked just how expensive polo ponies were.

"The cheapest horse we have is worth $45,000." he casually informed me.

OMG. What had I gotten into? I was terrified to ask what the most expensive one was worth. Suddenly they were no longer horses but gold statuettes with fragile legs. My liability insurance would not cover any catastrophic occurrence. I actually viewed my home being auctioned off. I do have a rambunctious imagination.

Fear was still paralyzing me as they drove off , waving to me out the tow truck window unaware of my panic. I was only grateful that I was on vacation so that I wouldn't have to leave the property till my guests were gone. I ran back to the pasture and counted, one, two three....till I got to the magic seven. Phew.

Feeding the hay was a challenge. These high spirited animals kicked at me and each other as I tried to take hay into the field. I learned quickly to throw it over the fence. These ladies, yep all girls, had bad attitudes and were all divas with Super Boss Diva being the nastiest. She approved of nothing. Her ears stayed glued to her head in irritation the whole 4 days. Yes, four days. It took that long to get the part for the truck. That is along time for little sleep and an anxious stomach.

Each morning I ran out to do the routine count to seven. One morning, one was hiding behind a group of tall palmettos and my heart stopped as I only counted six. Even if it were the cheap one (ole 45 grand) that was missing I was doomed. She heard my gasp and raised her head letting my heart start to beat again. Several times every day, I repeated the count. I was not having fun.

Now they were scarfing up my hay to the point where I was down to my last bail. I could leave to make the 40 mile round trip to get more but I was fearful of leaving them alone that long. Finally the couple called and said the truck was fixed and they were heading out to my place to get the horses. When they pulled into the drive, Brad Pitt driving wouldn't have improved my joy.

All the horses were fine and without new scars. I couldn't wait for them to step off my property into the trailer. The young couple thanked me very much but surprised me a bit by not offering to reimburse me for the hay. Not a big deal and I probably would have refused any money, but it would have been nice if they had offered. Perhaps the truck repairs and the motel stay tapped them out.

They were interesting guests but I do blame them for the bountiful crop of grey hairs that sprang up willy nilly on my head in just 4 days. Never again.


  1. Geez we both wrote about bugs today. I remember Coggins from my days of owning a quarter horse. There is a major street in my hometown named Coggin Ave, actually after a person.

    I do accept responsibility in the name of good deeds that might bankrupt me.

    One I refuse and feel quite guilty about is driving elderly to doctor, a direly needed service in my area. I would do it to this day, had not a lawsuit arisen over a similar good hearted soul who had an accident, and her rider's family sued her. I don't remember if the rider succumbed to injuries--I don't think so. I think the family responsible for her saw opportunity to cover the poor soul's expenses.

    Have we not heard TORT reform lately???

  2. What a very gracious lady you are. A lot more class then the couple with 7 horses, cheapest being $45,000.00, seemed to be. Good grief, I would hope they would have taken your name and address and at least sent you a small bouquet of flowers. But to eat up all of your horses food wasn't very nice either. I would hope if one got injured or god forbid, loose and ran off, they wouldn't have tried to sue you.

    This couple should have been more prepared, if they knew the truck had been having problems, they should have had a back up plan and someone else come by with a large truck to take the horses to their next stop. That's one problem of some young people now a days, they don't have a back up plan.

    I want to say thank you for being such a gracious person and lady. You've got class, with a capital C

  3. Well, Patti, you know the old saying:

    "No good deed goes unpunished"

    They were a very ungrateful pair and should have done something to repay you for your time and for the food their horses ate.

    Sometimes wealthy people just expect you to cater to them with very little appreciation on their part.

    The title of Susan Howatch's book sums it all up. "The Rich Are Different."

  4. I can't believe they didn't offer to pay for the hay, or at least say they would like to but were broke

    I'd take Jesse any day over a diva horse ;)

    but you did a good deed and that in itself is reward

  5. Well Patti...what's that old saying: " the rich get richer and the poor get poorer". Maybe this is an example of how that happens? Shame on them and good for you!! :)

  6. What's most interesting is that you stayed the same gracious, good woman-- rescuing strays and caring for the outcasts. Your "guests" were rude and thoughtless. I'd like to think that you've been repaid a million times over with grateful, healthy critters whose lives have been saved and enriched by knowing you. Fancy horses and their dumb-ass owners should only know how lucky they were.

  7. What bad manners on their part to not reimburse you for the hay, or better yet make arrangements to replace it. They would be drummed out of cow country for such bad manners. Bless you for your kindnesses.

  8. Lots of people who are called, "this generation" are without manners having grown up without parents in the home and television as a teacher. I am not surprised. They don't know how to say, "Thank you" either.

    Thanks for visiting my Pick a Peck of Pixels blog and for your comment there about the stag beetle post.

  9. Gee Patti, Your life is never boring, is it????? Just think of all of the interesting people and animals you have met all through the years.... That is a wonderful story.. Glad it worked out --but sorry they didn't at least OFFER to pay for the hay.


  10. What a story! Great info on the Polo Ponies.

    Some people are just so self absorbed to think about others and take for granted any kind action that they receive from anyone.

    You are indeed a gracious lady.

  11. nitwit,
    That is a shame you can't drive people to a doctor without fear of law suit.
    People are just so darn quick to run for a lawyer.

    You know, maybe it is our age group but I just about always have a Plan B. They did take my name and address but I never heard a word. Possibly it was so they could contact me if something bad turned up down the line about the horses. Thank you.

    I do believe they only worked for the rich and famous but surely they were paid well. I did get verbal thanks which was what I really wanted. I'll check out Susan's book. Thanks.

    Like I told Nancy, I believe they were employees but perhaps working for the privileged, some of their manners rub off. Thanks so much.

    "or at least say they would like to but were broke" That would have been sufficient and I would have understood.Thanks.

    You know, I hadn't thought about it but you are right, even the horses were rude. It must rub off. I have to open my gate for those in need,just don't let them cost $45,000.00 in the future. That is hard on the heart.

    You are so right, that is NOT country manners. Country folks would never let that slide.Thank you.

    I agree with your assesment of television as a teacher. It has bred a generation of smart mouthed, self centered youngsters. They saw it performed, everyone laughed, so why not.

    I haven't regretted any of my meetings (animal or person) for each was a learning experience and from the distance time affords, was either funny or educational.

    Thanks. They were probably so conerned with their problem that I was no room for me in their thoughts. It does afford me a whole new look at polo though. For a long time I kept looking for that Nasty Boss Diva when they showed polo on TV.

  12. You are a very generous lady, Patti! I am astonished about the fact that the young couple didn't pay you for the food, and didn't thank you for the hosptality.
    But the story is very well written, that's beyond doubt!

  13. Anothercomment on polo ponies.

    I attended a photography workshop in Vermont in the mid-80s. Its focus was using positive, or so-called slide film which has a very narrow range exposure and is characterized as slow but fine grained.

    While our field trips were landscapes and still life in October, using tripods and manual camera settings, we had on free lance assignment over a weekend. It was to shot some event with people and moving objects using the automatic settings of our cameras and aone other adjustment most of our cameras had.

    I and a fellow student chose a horse polo match. Our film cameras did not have built-in flashes.
    Like many sporting events flashes were not allowed which I fully understand.

    However the snooty gatekeeper all but called us liars when we showed him our cameras and our camera bags. What kind of idiot was he? The flash I owned was called a potato masher, it was so big. Did he think it was in my bra? Finally another person in charge who apparently was camera literate saved the day by telling the gatekeeper we were OK to enter.

    We wished for a flash as it was a cloudy day and our fastest slide film did not capture the essence of the event--but that may have had more to do with out attitudes, than the film.

  14. Wil,
    They did thank me but made no effort to offer to pay for the food I gave the horses. I prefer to think they just didn't have the money and were imbarrassed to say.Thanks so much.

    You probably had more camera than he had seen before. Good thing someone else recognized your equipment and let you in. Too bad it didn't turn out after all the trouble.

  15. Patti, sometimes that is really nice ya know to be home and no one know it! lol

    I can not believe the way that they treated you that way! The horses or the owners! People really dont seem to have manners any more, or respect for others....
    I will take an ol'quarter horse any day!

  16. boots,
    I was thinking that might be a good thing on occasion also. Hiding out can be fun.
    Quarter horses rule.

  17. Excellent post. You have described very nicely and it was really very interesting to read. But I am very much surprised that the people behave so badly and that also such a nice person like you. Though I have not seen you but I can analyze very well that you are a very sweet,calm and quiet person and also very friendly. Its very sad that nowadays people don't have the simple courtesy to acknowledge others for their good deeds.

  18. I find it surprising that they did not offer to replace all that Hay....I mean, they have to know that their horses ate you out of...well...out of Hay! It seems rather ungracious to me---in fact, more than ungracious...It's just plain wrong to my way of thinking...Especially when they were so fussy about your Horse and Your Food!
    People never cease to surprise me.
    Your generosity and their inability to truly thank you.

  19. They should have paid you double or at least replaced your hay!! It's terrible of them not to show proper gratitude for your care and hospitality!!

  20. Babli,
    Thank you so much for your kind assesment of me. I try, but probably there is someone,somewhere right now blogging about that rude Patti when I may have had a courtesy lapse. They probably had a lot on their minds that day. That is what I like to think.

    Thank you so much but the good thing about writing this story is that I think I am now better able to see their position, true fence sitter that I am. At least, I see a softer version of their position.

    Having all of you on my side makes me feel more charitable towards the couple. As scared as I was about the responsibility for such expensive horses, they must have been sick with worry for they really didn't know who I was. I'm chaulking up their lack of courtesy to their most likely, all consuming worry. Thanks.

  21. Hmmm...I think some people with that kind of money forget what it is like to be middle class. I could feel stress reading your story. The possibilites for that rare, read about in the newspaper fluke, happening. Whew...

  22. You are a sweetie!! What goes around comes around!!

  23. What a great story, loved learning about the polo ponies. Sad to hear about the young couple, even if they didn't have any money, they could have said so, saying they wished they could pay and would take your address and send along something in the future, like a thank you card. Perhaps they were just the transporters of the animals and not the owners and they were really destitute - which could have been the case.

    We are in the process of moving and I have been having yard sales and furniture sales and it seems the folks with what I perceive to be the most amount of money are always the ones who want me to sell something I have already priced at half again, all the while as they drive away in their $80,000 Mercedes saying to me "that's all we can afford and take it or leave it".

    More stories like this need to be told as I often think so many are ignorant of what the polite thing to do would be - if they only heard these stories - they might mend their ways.

    But then along comes someone like you to wash all that unpoliteness away, thanks for being there.

  24. Grayquill,
    You are so right there was stress. Any freak accident or disease would have gone over my liability insurance. I exhaled big time when they left.

    Cheffie Mom
    Thanks so much. That is true though some of the things I have done in my life, I don't care to see come around. Just hope for the best.

    Linda Starr
    I do believe they were only employees of the rich and famous. I'm sure the truck repairs and motel stay were not in their budget. Just saying that they wished they could help would have been enough.
    Some how I am glad I am not filthy rich. Not sure I like the baggage that can come with it.
    Loved your great story about Binky.

  25. Are you sure Brad Pitt wouldn't have made you feel better?

    Maybe the real owners will stop by with a proper thanks...better yet maybe they will send a check for the feed...hand deliverwd by Pitt!

    You are such a good story teller Patti!

  26. Wanda
    OK, you caught me. Brad Pitt could make most any situation better.
    Thanks so much. Just pleased for the chance to entertain with the things that entertained me.

  27. Found my way here from Sunny's page. I've read your two tales. As one writer to another, your style of writing is very distinctive, which is very appealing. My writing has been limited, but has received some recognition.

    When you help someone, as you did with these people with the horses, you will reap the rewards of your kindness. If not here, surely in the life beyond. You could not stand to see the horses suffer and gave without expecting anything in return. (Although the experience gave you a very good tale!) That is the Christian way it is supposed to be done.

    Just wanted to say, I enjoyed your two tales very much and will sign on to be a follower.

    And, incidentally, I'm new to AR - NE AR. Well, if you can call five years new. Moved here from the NW which has left me very homesick.

    You might wish to drop by my blog. Thanks!

  28. Some people are just plain rude....rude people = rude horses.
    I guess what goes around comes around....

  29. iona,
    Thank you so much for stopping by TNS and your kind comments.
    I too am new to Ar by 5 years, but unlike you do not miss my former home, just the people I left there. Homesick can't be fun.
    I will check your site now.

    Horses can be rude can't they. Sure hope everything doesn't come around for I have some things in my past I'm not sure I want to see again. I have rationalized their behavior and am content.