It’s hard to keep up with funny farm tenants

It's hard to keep up with funny farm tenants by Bob Karolevitz Phyllis's miniature horses think they are Man o' War and Citation � or whatever the names of champion runners are.

Twice now they've gotten out of the yard and galloped down our long driveway like Preakness winners.

Once it was in the dark of night, and chasing a couple of tiny quadruped sprinters by car light isn't my idea of fun in the dark.

Thank goodness we had guests who were just leaving, so they blocked the gate to the graveled township lane or the two jockeyless speedsters would have been on their way to who-knows-where.

We were also greatly relieved that they didn't disappear into the cornfield they were hotfooting it by, or we wouldn't have found them yet. Alive, anyhow!

The first time they did make it to the road, dragging their lead ropes behind them. You'd have thought they were in the Kentucky Derby the way they ran. Like Barney Oldfield, I chased them in our Ford Explorer, driving in the ditch to get around them before they hit the busy hardtop.

Then all of a sudden they stopped and became their usual docile, puppy dog selves again.

Me? I had my dander up, and I was ready for a horse chislic recipe!

Phyllis drove the car, and I walked the two little escapees back to the farm about a mile away. They weren't even breathing hard, but I was.

Yes, life with Walkers Foxy Laty Simon and Walkers Priscilla Matte is anything but dull. Foxy and Matty � which we call them at friendlier times � if nothing else, are great conversation pieces. They also help fulfill my wife's horse-loving proclivities.

Frankly, I just condone them, although I do find myself fascinated by their equine antics, especially when they follow me around the yard, nuzzling me when I stoop to pull up a weed or bend over for some other reason.

Maggie, our golden retriever, thinks that Matty, the smaller one, is just another young dog and should be a playful companion. But Matty couldn't care less, and Maggie is simply another annoyance � like flies � as she romps around barking and trying to get the harried horse to respond to her enthusiastic leaping.

I've given up trying to get the dog to cool it. If Matty would just give her a kick in the chops, it would be better than all my yelling.

Foxy and Matty love apples, and when we let them out of their corral, they hightail it to our small orchard to eat the windfalls. Trouble is, they only take a bite or two out of each one, leaving the half-eaten parts to the bees, flies, ants and other assorted insects.

Then I have to police up the mushy remnants so I don't make applesauce in the lawn when I mow. And Phyllis just excuses her half-pint pets by saying (for the hundredth time): "Oh, aren't they cute?"

She probably doesn't think they're so cute when she has to clean out the barn, though. That's the arrangement we've made: I'll put up with the horses, but I won't clean up their mess.

At least now the barn has a horsey smell, which is better than the pigeon aroma which permeated the place before Foxy and Matty made it their home. I suppose you can say they are something to be sniffed at!

Anyhow, the diminutive steeds are now an irreplaceable part of our funny farm. They have more visitors than I do, but I'm not jealous.

However, the next time they take off on one of their gallivanting sprees, I just may let them go.

© 2000 Robert F. Karolevitz

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