Pony Attitude



“Your eyes are a little weepy,” I told Bugsy last night, as I opened the door to let him out. “I think you have allergies.”

Yea, well you’re late… you’re f*&king late,” Bugsy replied, brushing by without waiting.

Let me interrupt here.

Of course Bugsy doesn’t talk. I’m anthropomorphizing as usual — assigning human thought and perception to a pony.

But Bugsy does communicate. Look in his eyes and at his face and you’ll see that he speaks.

And I’m certain that Bugsy swears.

Mind you, never around young ears. He’s a consummate professional. Like a Sesame Street puppeteer, or that lumbering schmo, Barney, Bugsy would never besmirch his reputation.

But at day’s end, I imagine him at a bar; he’s the guy with the rumpled suit and loosened tie, hunkered over a Jack-and-Coke, grumbling, Christ, you wouldn’t believe the sh*tty day I’ve had…

On the job with kids, he’s always perky and bright. But when I approach, he casts me a withering look.

I like to think that I’m older and wiser — well, at least older. I’ve got 15 years on him. Unless you consider horse-human age conversion. In that case, Bugsy’s 24 is equivalent to a 70-year-old. That means he’s eligible for medicaid. And 70 explains his grandfatherly affinity for children and his dismissive, you’re an idiot, attitude around me.

Last week, he gave me that old-man attitude.

I took Bugsy to Hadley’s school — like last year — but this time, each of her classmates rode him. That’s 15 kids, fitted with a helmet, helped into the saddle, feet in the stirrups, around the field, then off, and repeat process.

When we were finally done, two little kids were petting Bugsy and holding his leads. “Do you mind?” I asked a nearby teacher, pointing to the pony. “I’ve just got to run to the trailer for a minute…”

I was actually gone for five, and returned just in time to see the last kid funnel through a door into school. The door slammed shut. The playground was silent and empty.

Well, not completely empty.

Bugsy gave me the eye. “Hey Einstein, you forget something?”



He was standing right where I’d left him: by the playground near a broad, unfenced field. “Wow Bugsy,” I said, gingerly approaching. “Thanks for not running away.”

And,” he added, “you left me watching that little hellion again…



I gathered the abandoned lead ropes and pulled the reins over his head. “Good pony,” I said. We headed back to trailer and I sighed. “Man, I need a drink.”

Sh&t, you’re telling me? The morning I just had…




Bugsy’s Buzz Cut


Bugsy is no spring chicken. By all estimations, he’s in his high twenties.

Unlike elderly people who lose their hair, old horses retain their hair. They grow thick, wooly coats and don’t always shed out.

Given our recent heatwave, I decided to clip Bugsy’s coat. A shave would spare us hours with a shedding blade, and save him from several sweaty days.


When it comes to body clipping, there are two cardinal rules:

1. Always use sharpened blades. (Dull blades snag the hair without cutting.)

2. And always clip a clean horse. (Grit and grime clog the clippers and dull the blades.)


I broke both rules.

Of course, I bathed the pony. But it was a hasty suds and rinse. I didn’t tackle a winter’s worth of dirt clinging to his skin.

Bugsy (who distrusts anyone taller than 48 inches) did not appreciate the attention.


His expression:  I always knew you were bad news…


I did let him roll afterward.



Two hours later, the clippers clattered to life and I pressed them against his neck. He’s so small, I thought, I’ll be done in an hour, then I’ll clean the stalls, start dinner…

But his small size wasn’t a factor. It was the density of the jungle. And Bugsy was the Amazon.

Clumps of hair piled at our feet as I mowed voluminous swaths. But progress was slow. The clippers couldn’t penetrate dirty, furry sections. As I hunched over to navigate his belly, I imagined the clippers were a ship crossing the ocean. Comeon, I thought, peering beneath him. Where’s the other coast? When will I reach the other side?


Eventually, my clippers quit. I borrowed my neighbor’s clippers. The dinner hour came and went.

Even Martin offered assistance.



Three sets of clippers and three hours later, I declared a cease-fire. Bugsy was done (minus his head and legs).

Amidst the grooming marathon, the kids were unattended. But they occupied themselves.

They dragged a stool across the kitchen, stood on the counter, and raided the Easter baskets on the fridge. They hid the trash and put the stool back. But I spied their dirty footprints on the counter. 

And additional evidence came to light.

Very incriminating evidence.



Bottom line, Bugsy’s hair is gone.

So is our chocolate supply.





Brynn & Brewer’s Ball


I don’t use this blog to tout causes, or drum up charity dollars. And I’ve no plans to alter my policy.

But I’ll say this:

If you happen to stumble into Washington, DC, this Saturday at 7 pm — in cocktail attire — with a hankering to sample beers from microbreweries… then swing by the DC Brewer’s Ball at the National Building Museum. Bring a friend and $130 each. Proceeds from the event benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Rarely do I mention cystic fibrosis — it is not funny blog fodder. But it is a part of Funny Farm; Brynn has CF.

Google “cystic fibrosis” and you’ll read that it’s a genetic, chronic illness in which thickened mucus affects the lungs and digestion. (Learn more here.) Symptoms and severity vary; generally speaking, lung function diminishes with age.

What does that mean for Brynn? We’ll see. For now, her daily routine includes oral enzymes to replace pancreatic shortcomings; an hour of chest percussion therapy to loosen the mucus in her lungs; and frequent, vaporized medications delivered via nebulizer.

Here’s Brynn, fitted with her nebulizer mask and “thumping” vest. (If she wasn’t tethered to a power source, she’d receive daily therapy aboard Bugsy…)





From Brynn’s perspective, it’s just a part of life. So don’t feel sorry for her. (If anything, pity her siblings. Tonight I discovered Hadley, dodging a clubbing. Hadley cowered, while her baby sister — clad in high heels and brandishing a riding crop — declared, “I’m Brynnzilla, dammit!”)

(Christ Brynn, the language….)

There’s no doubt: Brynn has Jack Russell-tenacity. And perhaps she needs that fervor to tackle future health challenges.

In the meantime I’m not asking you to commit financially to CF research. But if you must donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, I won’t stop you.

And if you’re in DC on Saturday, I’d recommend the Brewer’s Ball.

Otherwise, I’ll send Brynn your way. And she doesn’t tolerate excuses…