BULLGOOSE: You can shoot the breeze with a horse but it’s best to see eye to eye 

Wow. It’s been tough lately for gals with sweet voices, gals who can belt out a song. Olivia, Judy, Lilibet Windsor… wait, could she sing? Whatever. 

And Margaret Urlich. Oh, no! Not Margaret Urlich too. She sang with Daryl Braithwaite on The Horses, but an actress lip-synced her on the video.

I know it’s un-Australian to mention this, but Daryl didn’t write The Horses. That was Rickie Lee Jones and the late great Walter Becker – yep, of Steely Dan.

There are two sorts of Australians: those who have seen their Mum and/or Dad in a nursing home, and those who haven’t – yet. 

Spoiler alert for Group #2: they are hell places of quiet dread and screaming dementia. 

My advice? Don’t be quiet. Laugh. Force yourself to laugh, and keep that laughter going, because that’s what’s been sucked out of Mum and Dad’s lives in there.

Which is where Bullseye comes in. 

Bullseye was a miniature pony about the size of a large poodle dog who visited Dad’s nursing home once a month to spread cheer and pony-ness. 

He came equipped with a strap-on manure catcher, yep, and he moseyed and mooched from bed to bed being a miniature pony and shooting the breeze (and, for all we know, manure).

Not Bullseye… but a close cousin.

Dad, an ardent lifelong lover of words, had pretty much clammed up by this stage, but I saw him smile at the mention of Bullseye. 

Maybe he appreciated the irony of Bullseye being hooked up to a bag like so many of the old folks, but I hoped it was a bit of mirth at the whole crazy indoor horse concept.

Horses are strange cats. 

I suppose you can’t blame them. They’ve endured thousands of years of inter-generational shock ever since that first cave-dude jumped on that horse’s back.

Oh man, freak me out! I was just having a bit of a graze and a nibble and this bald monkey jumped on my back and started neighing about giddyups and yeehaws etcetera. It was a violation.

There oughta be a law!

But they fart. 

In time: Brff, brff, brff, brff. 

What’s that about? 

And loud. 

There was that time Snifter Jenkins, the mad roadie, miked up the portaloos at CurryFest 2016 and played it out through the 20,000 watt sound system. 

That was some loud backend work, but it wouldn’t even register on a Horse-O-Meter.

I went to catch Timby, a chestnut gelding with white blaze, 17 hands, (this sort of detail is thrilling to horse tragics) in a 40-hectare paddock one day. 

He lured me in close, and then, when the bit was within a horse whisperer’s whisker of his mouth, he reared for the clouds, twisted around and snapped off this rattling, barking braaaaat!!! that sounded like it came from a 50,000-horsepower chainsaw at peak revs. And galloped off. 

Oh, top pranking, Timby. Very droll. 

My ears rang for weeks.

And while on pranking, horse riding is really passive aggression on the horse’s part. 

Why do we feel so sore after a day in the saddle? 

Saddle up and ride.

It’s because horses tailor their gait to force us to move our bodies in crazy, unnatural ways. 

Close your eyes and visualize someone riding a horse. 

Filter out the horse completely. Just look at the rider. Look at the movements. 

It’s just mad twerking, a combination of electrified Elvis, the Keep on Trucking Guy and the Dance Craze from Hell. 

And how’s the hands? Held out there like a kangaroo’s. 

It’s just mad! 

No wonder it hurts next day.

And what’s with neigh and whinny

If they’re not the world’s most egregious, bowdlerized euphemisms, I don’t know what are. 

Horses don’t neigh or whinny. 

They scream at the top of their lungs, Aaaaaaaaagh! Aaaaaaaagh! Jeeeezass!

That’s what they do, and it’s terrifying.

But, then again, it’s humans who are the champion terrifiers.

Aaaaaaagh! Aaaaaagh! Jeeeeezass! Help, Dobbin! Flicka! Trigger! Phar Lap! Bullseye! Help! Aaaaaaagh! He’s nailing something to my foot!

A lesson to us all.


Look into my eyes human.

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