Lee Pitts: The Self-Returning Horse | TSLN.com

Lee Pitts: The Self-Returning Horse

I recently read a news clip in which some scientists said humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure. Now how could they possibly know that? Clearly those scientists have never seen my neighbor’s disgusting Airedale in action. He sure looks like he’s having fun to me!

I’ve read such rubbish before in which writers insist humans are superior to other animals because we can reason and animals can’t. Poppycock. I ask you, who is the intelligent one, a wild pig that escapes a trap and never makes the dangerous mistake again, or my friend ReRide who has been married four times and yet has learned nothing from his hazardous behavior because he continues to make the same mistake over and over expecting a different outcome every time?

I’ve heard professors say animals aren’t as smart as people because they don’t know how to use tools. Anyone who says animals don’t know how to use tools has never seen a sea otter bust open a shell with a rock, or horses standing head to tail as they use their tails to swat flies off each other. Such drivel usually comes from the mouths of city folk who wouldn’t know Vise Grips from a ball peen hammer. Many a wife can vouch for the fact that their human husband doesn’t know how to use tools either, like the dishwasher, oven and the vacuum cleaner.

Anyone who thinks man is reasonable and animals aren’t never had a close relationship with a horse, a species which is as close to perfect as a species can get. Take my horse Gentleman for example. I’m not ashamed to admit that he was far more intelligent than the rider. As the Spanish say, “Al caballo nomad le falta hablar.” Roughly translated, the only thing a horse lacks is a voice.

Lately humans are real proud of themselves for creating self-driving cars but that’s nothing compared to the self-returning horse that came on the scene over a hundred years ago.

The most valuable horse in the Tejon Ranch remuda was a valuable dark horse that had his own special stall and was fed only the best grain and hay. When a Tejon Ranch cowboy was ready for some R & R in town, which was 20 miles away, the cowboy would race into town on the dark horse, pick up all the mail for the Tejon and any special orders at the general store, and before the cowboy would head to the nearest saloon, he’d slap the horse on the rear and the horse wouldn’t stop running until he had delivered the mail back home. Neither bandits nor bad weather could stop him. The self-returning horse, what a concept! If man is so superior find me a self-driving rental car from Hertz, Enterprise or Avis that can do all that without a drop charge!

My horse Gentleman, a candidate for equine MENSA if there ever was one, also was a self-returning horse. Many a time I’d load some staples in my saddlebags and ride a long ways from headquarters to fix fence. I’d dismount and start pounding staples only to turn around minutes later to find that Gentleman had vanished without a peep. And he’d taken all the fence staples, and my lunch, with him. And just to show how considerate Gentleman was, he’d bring the saddle back home with him so I didn’t have to carry it on the long walk back. And he wouldn’t roll in a juicy cow pie until after I arrived several hours later and removed the saddle. It’s little niceties and considerations like that that got Gentleman his name.

Humans can be so cocky. We insist that we are the reasonable ones and yet it is humans who produced the atomic bomb, tofu, Congress, Facebook, Twitter and Justin Bieber. Need I say more. So next time you’re feeling so smug and superior have a friend drop you and your horse off in strange neighborhood far from home and try to find your way back to your home without the use of a GPS, or by asking directions, which men don’t do anyway. When you are lost and scared in a dark and dangerous neighborhood, trust me, do what I do, let your horse do all the thinking.