God’s Country (August 2005)
The Meyer side of my family takes big vacations with all of us every year or two, and this time we decided to go to the 7d Ranch (www.7dranch.com) for a week in Wyoming. I figured it would be nice, but had no idea how absolutely amazing it would be. I flew my little Cirrus into Cody, Wyoming, where I met up with the 26 other members of the Meyer side of the family (not pictured here for discretion, sorry) where we saw a Rodeo to open the festivities. The barrel-racing was amazing (one young woman on a little Mustang just SCREAMED through the course! Her horse was in a 45 degree bank just TEARING through the turns, all 4 legs digging in hard and kicking up dirt while banking hard, then accelerating at at LEAST a full G into a full gallop to the next barrel, the rider barely hanging on, pony-tail flying madly! The whole thing SEEMED to be happening in fast-motion, like watching a normal person race between barrels on horse-back in fast-forward on a VCR, but with the horse pumping hard on every turn with dirt flying out to the sides! You just have to see that horse and rider pumping madly as they hammer through the turns at a full G of cornering to understand it). The bull-riding was scary just to look at, and the rodeo clowns with their P-T Barnum-style comedy were funny as well… a type of comedy we do not often see these days with the canned, 2-D, big-budget movies and TV where everything is freeze-dried and packaged on film and then mass-distributed… totally different from the antics of the clowns as they “tried” to put out fires by dumping gas on them, argued with the announcer, etc. The rodeo was a great little reminder that certain elements of our Country’s history still persist.. though I had no idea how much more was coming…
Now, our family is mostly made of city-slickers, as evidenced by the facts that:
1: one of us fell off a horse WHILE IT WAS NOT MOVING. (not me)
2: one of us cut himself on a pocket-knife WHILE IT WAS STILL IN THE DISPLAY CASE IN THE STORE. (not me)
3: one of us pulled out his back a bit by PULLING UP GRASS FOR A HORSE. (OK, that was me)
Despite this, we had a better time than we could ever have imagined… read on…
The morning after the rodeo we caravaned up to the 7d in a passel of rented cars and vans, causing some small commotion wherever we went because we are all over 6’2″ and travel in herds… the 7d has room for 30 guests, so the 27 of us plus one small family of 3 completed the accommodations of rustic cabins sprinkled in the woods around the little wooden lodge and rec-house and paddocks. The ranch has about 15 staff, 70 horses, and 5 dogs to keep everything humming… the horses take us and our guides out through the mountains and fields of Montana, the staff keeps the horses, meals, housing, hiking, fishing, and trap-shooting running, and the dogs provide moral support and even a useful function I will reveal soon, if you cannot guess it.
A typical day at 7d would involve getting up at 7… the little cabins have no heat or air conditioning: only little pot-bellied stoves that you put wood into to heat up the cabin.. it works great to heat your little wooden cabin in the woods, but the fires from the previous night are always burned out by morning, so the cabins are pretty chilly at the start of the day… you are buried deep under 4 blankets and are comfortable at night, but have a chilly wake-up call the in the morning! (Remember, this is in the mountains of Wyoming… in August, the daytime weather is 70 degrees and mostly dry… night weather is half that). The breakfast bell sounds a warning through the little ranch at 7:45, and then the breakfast-bell at 8. Everyone meanders down to the main lodge for breakfast, clumping loudly and slowly like John Wayne in heavy leather riding boots, jeans, heavy button-down shirts, obligatory cowboy hats, and digital cameras. (No joking about the attire! You MUST have good leather riding boots to keep your feet from slipping through the stirrups when riding.. a hung stirrup would be a disaster if the horse spooks!), you MUST have jeans to take the contact with the horse all day, you always will wear heavy-button down shirts to combat the wind and rain and sun (I guarantee at least 1 out of 3 at every moment), and you MUST have the hat to protect from direct sun 70% of the time, and rain the other 30%… as Jeff Foxworthy says: “If you wear a raincoats and shorts at the same time, you might be a Wyo”!
With everyone (men and women, adults and kids) looking like John Wayne with very good reason, except for the 6-shooters being replaced by digital cameras for the guests and walkie-talkies for the staff, we have a rousing breakfast and then head for the paddocks. About 70 horses mill about, half of which will go out on any given day. These horses do not just droop around in the paddocks though! They actually spend their lives out in the wide-open fields and mountains of Wyoming (they have a pasture that is many hundreds of acres and runs through fields and rivers and plains and mountains), and EVERY DAY BEFORE BREAKFAST a staff member or two will ride out and ROUND THEM UP, chasing them into the corrals to be saddled up for a day of riding. After a day of work, the Wranglers (instructors that ride with us) will get back on horseback and run the herd right back out into the wild again! Because of this, the horses are all very fit (FAST!), sure-footed, aggressive, capable, confident, and happy, and will never steer you wrong.. they are the best horses I have ever seen. This daily “running of the Bulls” (except with a lot of happy horses rather than a few angry bulls) has a few interesting twists: Getting them all OUT of the corral is easy, getting them IN.. not so much! THIS is where the dogs come in. Every day, the Ranch hands would ride couple of horses out into the fields and Chaos, a pretty little black doggy that LOVES to play catch-the-frisbee with the kids will run out with them. (Chaos is AMAZINGLY good at Fetch… you can throw a stick, HARD, and he can jump up and intercept it only 6 feet away from you by jumping up into the path of the stick while you are still finishing your throw.. it happens so fast you will miss it if you blink… it is funny to make a throw that you expect to go 100 feet and have it all over in 6 feet and a quarter-second! Now, this is a problem when playing baseball with the family (as we would do before dinner with a light whiffle-ball… there are many 6-year olds in our family) because any hit that the batter can score is instantly perceived as a game of Fetch by Chaos… a player who will always do everything in her power to return the ball to the batter, including jumping up to intercept it only 5 feet from home base in the first half-second of travel! This does NOT cancel the play, though, because of the “ACT OF DOG” clause in the Meyer baseball rules). Chaos is a short little gal, and always backs off and lowers her head whenever you try to pet her, staying just out of reach.. she seems very timid and afraid to actually let you touch her, but loves to play as long as she can keep a 5-foot distance from you, and always lowers her head as she approaches, looking up at you with raised eyebrows… we think she may have been adopted from a bad family. Anyway, Chaos runs out every morning with the ranch-hands on horseback to WORK… at 8 am all the horses emerge from the woods, trotting and cantering into the paddocks… of course, not all the horses feel like working every day, so some will turn away from the paddock entrance to head back to the fields where the living is easy… at that point Chaos JUMPS into action, RACING in front of the wayward horse at FULL SPEED, lowering here diminutive stance to the most aggressive posture she can manage and barking viciously! “HEY YOU! DON’T YOU GO THAT WAY! THAT WAY TO THE PADDOCKS! GO! I MEAN IT!” That little black doggie is as busy as a one-armed man hanging laundry in a windstorm, racing from one horse to the other, barking madly at anyone that dares to step out of line, until all the horses are in the paddock… Chaos easily works 4 times harder than the humans on their mounts, who simply run along to the paddocks, guiding the horses in a little mini-stampede… Chaos is running and darting frantically about, shouting at any wandering equine to get them ALL IN. She clearly knows EXACTLY what needs to be done and does it with much more gusto and energy than any human ever would.
So, after breakfast, we all meander down to the paddocks and mount the freshly-tacked (“tacked” = “saddled and bridled”) horses that have just been rounded up and run into the ranch in the last hour or so. Of course, each horse is unique in personality and appearance, so that even though each morning is started with a somewhat-controlled stampede into the ranch, each horse is quickly saddled with his own personal personal saddle, bridle, and reigns, which never change for any given horse. Each of us is paired with a horse to match our size and experience, and we keep that horse for the whole week so we can really get to know each other and ride well together… mine was Warrior, a Tennessee Walking Horse that has the same size, shape, and coloring as a Mustang (I think anyone could confuse him for one). Warrior is a Black and White Gelding with a friendly temperament with humans. Horses are fascinating, beautiful animals. Take my ride Warrior for instance: He is of a size and shape that makes him easy to ride, but he is the fastest in the whole group! He is always friendly to me and other humans, comfortably rubbing his head against us (hard) to scratch itches, and going wherever you lead with only the slightest pressure on the reigns or heels when riding, or with a moderate tug when leading him by his lead-rope. He is confident enough to never be afraid of you, friendly enough to go along with you, and aggressive enough to do his own thing when he can get away with it. Warrior is happy enough to walk along at a gentle pace, but if you just THINK about putting the tiniest pressure on your heels, he trots along for maybe 5 paces and then just bolts right into a full gallop… he simply does NOT like to go slow… once you unleash him just a bit, he RUNS like he means it. (Remember: The gaits are Walk->Trot->Canter->Gallop, where a “Trot” is jogging, 2 feet on the ground at any time, 2 off, a “Canter” is running at a relaxed pace, all 4 feet in the air simultaneously, then landing in a distinctive 1-2-3-4 pattern, and a “Gallop” is running all-out… at the 7d, there is no distinction made between a “Canter” and “Gallop”, they are both just referred to as “Loping”, realizing that horses may lope along slow or fast depending on their mood temperament). Many horses, when urged into a Canter, sort of lope along slowly, expending the minimum energy to satisfy the rider, but with Warrior, the opposite is true: The only real problem is slowing him DOWN, and on 2 occasions I couldn’t! (One mad gallop stopped only when he reached his friends in the rest of the herd, the other when he picked up a rock in his shoe. A more aggressive rider could have stopped him with a MAJOR pull on the reigns, but I could never do that!) The biggest horse, Tom, was so big and slow that I have never even seen him lope, and he actually sleeps LYING DOWN! This is so rare in horses as to scare me a bit the first time I saw it. Each horse’s unique personality comes out in the way they interact in the herd: a pecking order is established, whereby a dominant horse will block another from getting food by cutting the less-aggressive horse on his way to hay or grass or whatever.. the this cut-off can be followed by a strong bite if needed or rebuked by a kick if dared. When I was pulling up clumps of grass and feeding it to a trio horses that were confined to the paddock (no free-roaming for these 3 this week… they had to stay in the paddocks to tend minor injuries or some other minor medical issue) for the first few minutes they were willing to share, but they quickly figured out that I was their “grass connection”! Then, every time I would approach the paddocks for the rest of the week, all the horses would come over to the edge of the fence, poking their heads over to wait for their grassy treat, whereupon the more aggressive of the lot would suddenly turn and cut off the other two! At first he would simply brusquely cut them off, and then when that did not work because I found ways to distribute the grass evenly, he would forcefully body-check them and run alongside them, pushing them to the other side of the paddock, blocking their access to the fence I was waiting along. It happens quick: one moment the horses are standing there, and the next there are thundering hooves and heavy breathing and two of them are racing in a tight turn as one coerces and pushes the other into a direction desired by the dominant horse! My steed Warrior, in fact, was so aggressive with some of the other horses that he actually had to be punished by being left in the corral one night while the other horses were turned loose into the fields! While Warrior pushes the other horses around a bit too much, he is a pleasure to ride if you can handle the speed… it is rather humorous, though: When trail-riding in a long line, he always nips at the horse in front of him (“GET OUT OF MY WAY YOU IDIOT!”) leaving little spit marks on the butt of the horse in front of him! However, if any OTHER horse has the audacity to tailgate Warrior too close, he swings his head wildly back to the side, eyes rolling, to warn the offending tail-gaiter (“I’ve got your number, mister! Tonight in the fields when the humans aren’t watching you’re gonna get a kick!”) Whenever we would break out of the narrow (foot-wide) trails through the woods and spread out into a looser herd in the fields, Warrior would walk faster than the other horses to move to the front of the group, and with the slightest provocation from my heels, or even my just making a “clucking” sound (the signal to go) he would trot and then canter up to the front of the group… and would happily leave them all behind if I would let him… but I can’t let Warrior do that because the instructor (Hillary, our guide on most rides) won’t let ME do that! The instructors keep the guests alongside or behind them, because horses will always follow the lead horse.. they all think TOGETHER. SO, if Warrior took off at a Gallop, all 15 horses would lope right along behind him (“Why are we running? Because we’re running!”) and this would be bad for the riders in the group that DON’T want to go at full-speed! So, my chain of command runs:
Hillary->Austin->Warrior (remembering that if ANY horse bolts, they ALL bolt)
Why do the horses all bolt as a herd? It’s because if any ONE of them sees a mountain lion, and runs, it is in the best interest of ALL of them to get out of there… remember: the slowest one gets eaten. The result of the millions of years of evolution are crystal-clear here: On every occasion that I have heard of where a mounted horse spots a nearby predator, the horse spots the wolf or mountain lion long before the rider, with scary or comedic results, depending on your sense of humour! In fact, since the horses obviously know the 7d ranch quite well, this suspicious nature of theirs comes into play quite often. One day, when riding back into the ranch, my cousin’s horse (right in front of me) bolted suddenly away from a tree, almost throwing him… of course Warrior darted away from the tree as well, almost throwing me! The cause? One of the ranch hands had changed a flat tire on the ranch pick-up truck, and left the flat tire under the tree, halfway exposed, halfway hidden under the tree… a tire that was not there the day before! In horse-language: “Something is hiding motionless under that tree that was not there yesterday… DANGER! IT COULD JUMP OUT AT US AT ANY SECOND!” A ranch-hand cleared some branches to widen a trail.. the horses would eye that part of the trail with great suspicion, darting through it quickly with wide eyes and flared nostrils, sensing that something was not quite normal on that part of the trail for the next day or so. A ranch-hand once left a dump-truck parked off the trail a bit, and there was NO WAY that Shotgun (one of the more timid horses, and my favorite) was going down that trail… NO WAY. Hillary could kick and urge and even slap Shotguns rear with the reigns, forcing Shotgun to jump forward, but he would bolt 2 feet forwards and then whip around 180 degrees and jump right back again! He would NOT get near that “Giant predator carrying lots of sand”. Now, if that truck had ALWAYS been there, he would have eventually written it off as part of the landscape, but it’s new arrival was a clear cause for alarm: “A predator has snuck into the trees near the trail! IT’S A TRAP!” So what is the way out? Easy: Remember horses love to move together as a herd… so one of my Cousins with a more steadfast, confident horse lead the way, and then a few others behind her… and then poor timid Shotgun, now feeling safety in numbers, was willing to go along with the group, eyeing the dumptruck nervously as he trotted quickly past.
SO, on a typical day we would saddle up and ride all morning out into the woods and plains and mountains and fields of grass and boulders and trees overlooking cliffs and valleys and summits and peaks of Wyoming. The pictures presented here are pathetic, flat, 2-D, colorless after-images of what it is really like, but they will have to do. The impressive thing is walking or trotting along on horseback though the fields, with giant eon-eroded, tree-covered mountains or sharp red stone cliffs rising up above you, or after climbing to a summit, seeing the grassy fields layed out for miles all around you… with not a person or building in sight except your little band of people and their emotional/friendly/competitive/speedy/warm/furry one-thousand-pound partners. Fjording streams is always fun, as the water rises up ALMOST to your feet as the horses clomp-splash-clomp as they wade through. It is very un-nerving to be over water rushing quickly beneath you, creating an illusion of fast sideways motion, the water swirling and splashing around the horses legs even though you cannot feel a drop… very disconcerting. Climbing is pretty fun, as the horses often BOUND up the mountain on their very-powerful hindquarters. Coming DOWN is not so easy though.. study any horse and you will see the front-end just does NOT have the power of the back-end… horses are rear-wheel drive for sure. For this reason, coming DOWN the hill with a rider is just plain awkward and difficult. As is said: “It’s a sorry horse that can’t get his rider up a hill.. it’s a sorry rider that won’t walk his horse down”. Needless to say, I dis-mounted and walked Warrior down any marginal-case hill.
…The only exception to this rule was when I stopped at the top of a hill to take some pictures of the amazing landscape while the rest of my family moved on down the hill… now what do you think happened? If you have been paying any attention at all, you can guess: Warrior noticed he was being left behind by the herd, and as soon as I even THOUGHT about moving on (WHILE MY DIGITAL CAMERA WAS STILL IN MY LEFT HAND) Warrior took off down the hill at a Lope! ARGH! I was now on the fastest horse, at pretty good speed, coming DOWN a hill, and trying to hold onto my CAMERA with one hand! This is ALMOST the worst case scenario, and then it got a bit worse: Suddenly Warrior stumbled and hobbled, clearly running on only 3 feet, his right font leg clearly out of commission, almost throwing me! I desperately reigned him in, shouted to the lead Wrangler (as quietly as I could while still being heard) and threw myself off of my limping pony… what had happened??? The Wrangler came over with a Pocket-Knife and had the problem diagnosed and solved in 60 seconds: A little rock had become lodged in the mud in Warriors right-front foot between the arms of his shoe, causing the equivalent of a rock in your shoe: enough to make you ease off the speed and favor the foot. The rock was rapidly discarded and Warriors foot made nice and clean of mud and rocks (he offered his right foot freely for inspection to this end) and we were off again safely, though this time with my camera securely stored in the saddle bag!
Often, we would ride for hours out into the woods or mountains with our lunch, tie up the horses to the trees, and then walk to near the edge of a cliff for the view and eat lunch (I ALWAYS save my apple for the horses.. how could I not????) then untie our faithful mounts and meander home. Strangely, Warrior is very afraid of apples… when I offered mine to him during lunch (his halter was tied to a tree so he wouldn’t wander off), he pulled away until his lead-rope was tight, and kept on pulling, trying to get away! He held his back against the lead-rope at an uncomfortable angle, clearly scared and trying to get away from the evil fruit, the sturdy rope barely holding him in place, eyes wide and fearful! You can see it in their eyes and posture when they are scared, and he was! Puzzled, I withdrew the forbidden fruit and gave it to Shotgun instead, who chomped and slurped it up happily.
After lunch, we would usually proceed home at a comfortable walk, but in the wide-open fields we would sometimes separate into 2 different groups and trot or lope between the two to do some hi-speed riding. After the horses get to do just a few minutes of running, though, they would always be keyed-up, anxious, and ready for more… that is the time you really had to hold some tight reigns or you would just lose control… they just LOVE to run, and if a few of them start, the rest will follow! Cold days also excite them… I took a riding lesson on a really chilly day under a leaden overcast sky with a light mist blowing through Warrior’s hair, exciting him… all the horses in the lesson were antsy and jittery, yearning to run in the brisk mountain air. Once they get excited, you just can hardly stop them!
Though Warrior was the best steed for me, I must confess my favorite horse is Shotgun… poor Shotgun is young (3 years) and a bit skinny (a little under a thousand pounds I bet) and just so friendly. Too friendly… the other horses would not accept him. Whenever Shotgun would be turned loose into the fields with the other horses they would pick on him, and in the corrals they would cut him off to keep him from getting a chance to eat the hay, so he had to have his own little corral, and be kept separate from the other horses when not being ridden. Every night, he would go to the side of his corral closest to the other horses to sleep, pressing against the fence to be closer to them. Of course, in an area 50 feet on a side with one horse in it, there is no grass that could grow there, only dirt, so Shotgun never got a chance to graze in the wide-open vistas like the other horses. Obviously, the 7d folks give him all the hay he needs, but hay is all dry and tasteless, not nearly as nice as moist, green, succulent, fresh grass. I would help make up for Shotgun’s culinary loss by pulling up large clumps of grass from around the ranch and bringing them to him, which he devoured happily, relishing the treat that the other horses take for granted. He would whinny and run up to the edge of the fence whenever I approached with a handful of grass, and stand with me forever as I petted him. I also enlisted the help if several Meyer children to pick grass for Shotgun as well. I also pulled my back a little bit grabbing two huge clumps of deeply-rooted grass for him at once. I also think some of the Ranch-hands though I was crazy. I regret nothing.
Shotgun also loved the apples I sometimes snuck him from the kitchen, and just WATCHING a grateful horse eat an apple is almost as funny as a 3-stooges routine, as they pull on it awkwardly with their articulate, sensitive lips, and then bite it awkwardly with their huge teeth and chew and slurp and smack on it noisily, loving every last juicy bit! And, once they have eaten it, they frisk your body with their sensitive lips and nose to see if you have any more! This is where you have to pay attention around these gentle giants… first they sniff, then they gently kiss you all over with their lips as they frisk you, then they start reaching their lips out like someone grasping with their lips for a drinking-straw just out of reach, and then they will finally bite (somewhat gently) if they think your hands are grass, so you have to be careful if they get anxious and hungry enough to reach that last stage.. they would never intentionally hurt you (at least, not the happy, healthy horses at the 7d) but if they think that you have grass or apples on you, then they will try to get them! At one point on an all-day trail-ride with lunch in our saddle-bags, one of us dis-mounted his horse to stretch his legs… seeing his chance, the horse BEHIND him crept forward and started rummaging through the saddle bag with his articulate lips, pulling the saddle bag open to inspect it for the apples we take with us for lunch! Alas, we had already had lunch and were on our way home, so all the poor horse could do was clumsily poke his nose around in the empty bag, gingerly pulling the cover and flaps open with his lips and sniffing and rummaging around inside until it was time to resume our course, at which point he was forced to cut short his “Horseland Security” saddlebag inspection.
During an all-day ride with about 15 of us, we noticed a fat little brown bird flying along beside us… a tiny little guy like one of those little birds that flits around by outdoor cafes looking for bread-crumbs. He would fly to the front of our little caravan and land in a tree, wait for us to pass, and then fly the head of the line again! In this manner, he followed us for a full 45 minutes or so to our lunching-spot, always flying pourposefully to the head of line and waiting until it passed to launch again. Clearly, this little guy had had previous success nibbling people’s left-over or shared sandwich-crusts from lunch (I’m sure the 7d Wranglers take all the groups to the same pleasant spots in the Countryside for lunch) and this little flyer had quickly learned that any parade of horses coming along this path would soon lead to a bounty! Of course he was right, and he followed us all the way to our impromptu picnic site and feasted heavily on sandwich crusts and sugar-cookies.
Walking from the lodge to my cabin after dinner, I spied a little grey rabbit in the bushes… he was not very afraid, and sat just out of my reach for a little while, nose working, before hopping lazily away.
On an all-day ride, our group suddenly stopped as the instructor motioned for quiet and pointed to a hillside 500 yards distant… a scraggly black canine was creeping across the face of the hill: A black wolf. The animal was far enough distant to be of no concern to the horses, but a hushed silence fell across our group as we watched the rare predator creep along the hillside. Despite our attempt at silence, we were heard… the wolf quickly disappeared and was replaced by a lonely, sad Hooooooowwwwwlllllll, repeated by maybe 12 wolves as they sent their telegram across the countryside that danger was approaching. We only saw 1 wolf, but could hear the whole pack as they howled in that forlorn way to each other, the timeless howls echoing slowly across the mountains.
On our last night, we decided to stay at the corrals past riding time to watch the horses turned loose into the open plains and mountains where they would spend their night. The ranch hands aimed some gates into the general direction of the wide open spaces the horses should occupy, and Hillary, on horseback right outside the paddock gates, began a strange calling: “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” she yelled. “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”. As she made this very distinct call at a very special, distinct tone out over the paddocks, all 70 horses (except Shotgun and a few others not allowed to join) began jostling and clambering for position near the exit, clearly getting excited as they all crowded the gate. “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” Hillary cried. Then William opened the gate and Hillary took off for the fields at full speed like a SHOT! The whole group of 60-odd horses rushed out of the confining paddocks and into the open freedom, all naked of saddles and bridles and halters, running as they all do: without a sound other than the thunder of hooves at a gallop and occasional sharp snort to clear a windpipe. Warrior! Zero! Tom! Blue! Clubber! Cody! Wasaki! Molly! Amigo! Papago and dozens more! They all thundered past, spreading out in various directions that lay in the general direction of their home valley, dissapearing behind Hillary into the trees.
You never get tired of it: A Wrangler breaks from the group during lunch:
Warrior and I regard the cliffs together:
Meyer Family horsepower: Our horses wait during lunch:
Fearless leader: Hillary leads us into the plains (about 15 of us in this riding group):
Hillary covers our left side to make sure everyone is doing well, as clouds mask distant peaks:
Not actually trying to push me off the cliff: Here we are trying to get the top shot of this page with Warrior as he rubs his head against me to scratch his itchy bridle… horses don’t always pose for pictures too well, and Warrior especially is always fidgeting and rubbing his head against people to scratch himself when wearing tack:
And then he tries to go for the clump of grass:
The 7D Ranch at breakfast-time (Shotgun waits for me on the left):
Who is that human with the camera? The morning round-up: While the afternoon EXIT to the fields is a mad gallopping herd, the morning entrance to the paddocks is considerably more relaxed… one of the trailing horses stops to wonder who I am before starting work for the day:
Act of DOG: Chaos helps a Wrangler to be sure that all the horses go where they are supposed to!
My favorite horse: Shotgun:
Shotgun does not want me to leave:
Time to go home… in a horse with no heart: