Buff is small in size but has big appetite

Buff is small in size but has big appetite by Bob Karolevitz We've got an aged Shetland pony named Buff.

He isn't to be confused with Phyllis's miniature horses. Or anything else, for that matter.

I've said it before, but the two Shetlands we've owned have never known that the lion is king of beasts. They have always thought they were!

Buff came to our place a long time ago as a tongue-in-cheek Christmas gift for Phyllis. She would have been better off with a lump of coal in her Yuletide stocking, which I admit is just my opinion. Instead she got that blankety-blank Shetland.

It (the pony, not Phyllis) is absolutely worthless except as a conversation piece. He's not ride-able. He won't pull a cart, and he doesn't do tricks.

But he can eat, though!

He prefers the expensive hay, but I try to get by with lesser quality forage. After all, I read somewhere that ponies on the Shetland Islands of Scotland � where the breed and the name come from � actually ate seaweed and dead fish during the winter when grass was scarce.

Buff, whose teeth have gone bad with age, likes to be coddled at the feed bunk, and Phyllis is a great coddler.

I really don't mind the expenditure for a bale now and then, but I'm not too sure about the vet bills. Buff gets shots just like the other horses do, but I think I lucked out on the West Nile vaccine for him.

Phyllis finally decided that Buff is too tough to get the mosquito-borne disease, so he avoided the needle. That should save me 40 bucks or so, which is just about enough to cover a visit from the farrier when he comes to trim the Shetland's hooves when he founders.

I suppose that's the least I can do to keep my wife happy with her no-account pet. Heck, even she can't get him to warm up to her like the other animals do!

Me? I've always been anti-Shetland. As far as I'm concerned, the Scots could have kept all the ponies over there where they made some use of them in the mines or pulling farm wagons.

Incidentally, the Shetland Islands haven't got a lot going for them either. Located some 130 miles northeast of the Scottish mainland where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea, the small group of isles is a long ways from anywhere.

I think Phyllis likes them because they were invaded by Norsemen who ruled the land for six or seven centuries, give or take a few years. At any rate they were there long enough to leave a Norwegian imprint on the area, and that's good enough for Phyllis.

I suppose the inhabitants say Uff Da with a Scottish accent.

From what I have read, that would be a good place for Buff. There aren't a lot of people there for him to antagonize, and he would return to where the Shelties really came from.

One of the larger Shetland Islands is named Yell, which is what I like to do when Buff acts up.

"Go to Yell!" I tell him.

At least it sounds like that.

&#1692002 Robert F. Karolevitz

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