18 Nov


The following is my 100 word story in response to Madison Woods’ FridayFictioneers photo prompt posted here http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/100-words-flashfriday-whoo-hooo-go-fictioneers-8/ I live on a ten acre ranch with Mystic and Ash, two of the nicest horses you’ll ever meet and I think I have a special insight into their thoughts and method of communication. Mystic will often come to the fence line behind the house at midnight where he can see me writing in the office. He will strum the wire with a hoof or nicker until I come out and say hello. He’ll tolerate being scratched and rubbed but what he really wants is whatever I’ve got, meaning food, snacks, treats, you name it. I love Mystic like you cannot believe and I know that in his own Mystical way he loves me, but when we  meet, the thing that is first and foremost on his mind is “Whatchagot?” That thought and my relationship with this marvelous horse became the basis for my meditation on two friends walking. I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for reading.





“Beautiful day for a ride, Snippy.”


“There was frost on the ground this morning. Want your blanket tonight?”


“How do those new shoes fit?”


“The ferrier’s kind of cute, huh?”


“Should I braid your mane later? It’s looking kind of shaggy.”


“Let’s walk to the river today and take the trail to the falls.”



The two friends walk side by side in sunshine. The girl pats the horse’s withers.


“You’re such a beautiful creature, Snippy, you know that? Don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have you.”


“I love you, Snippy.”


33 Responses to “Whatchagot?”

  1. kdmccrite November 18, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Love it, Doug! This is just like animals, isn’t it? They love us, but they love their treats just as much (if not more!). You told this in such an endearing, insightful way that I can tell you truly love your big hay-carrot-apple-sugarlump-eating friend. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Here’s mine: http://sweettea.kdmccrite.com/betrayal/

    • dmmacilroy November 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

      Hi Kady,

      Thanks for checking in and writing such a nice note. I do love Mystic (and most critters). He’s got a heart as big as all outdoors and an appetite to go with it.

      (Love you, too, Lady Kady!)



  2. susielindau November 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    I love the “horse language” and how it always ended in a type of treat! I especially loved how you strung all the words together! You could sense the strength of their friendship.
    I think you could be on to something Doug! Hahaha!

    Here’s mine!

    • dmmacilroy November 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

      Dear Susie,

      Thanks, Susie. I’m pretty sure that’s how my horses talk. One day maybe we’ll find out. (I should have found some footage of Mr. Ed. and posted it like you do with your videos)(Willllbur!)



      • Laura Dunlap (@auralind) November 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

        A charming story and I think you have it pretty much right on in the horse human world – although I do have my own theories of Horse communication.
        Like so many other animals, I think their intelligence is underrated and so far beyond our ken, that it would be difficult to put down. However, I am pretty certain that they would have to use this simple vocabulary in order to communicate to us, as we lack their horse sense!

      • dmmacilroy November 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm #


        I think you nailed it right on the head when you said that horses would have to use simple vocabulary when talking to us. Horses are shrewd judges of character and know far more than humans give them credit for. I feel lucky to have been able to get to know them through Mystic and Ash.


      • susielindau November 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

        Hey Doug,
        Could you please email me with typos.

      • dmmacilroy November 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

        Will do, Susie. Sorry. D.

  3. The Lime November 18, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    This is absolutely adorable, Doug. Really lovely. And even if you hadn’t explained beforehand, it would be obviously informed by someone who has a significant relationship with horses. Thanks for something so light and lovely.

    Here’s mine! http://thecolorlime.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/descent-100/

    • dmmacilroy November 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

      Thanks Lime,

      (I only told about the horses so no one would think I was making stuff up:)


  4. elmowrites November 18, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    Beautiful, Doug. I agree with the other comments which say you definitely caputured the powerful bond between animals and humans, but with a light touch humour too. I’m going to look forward to reading your posts every Friday!

    • dmmacilroy November 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      Thank you for your kind thoughts. I’ll look for you each Friday as well.



  5. Madison Woods November 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    I could so hear Snippy’s voice in this and until you put a voice to it, I’d never thought about it. But that’s exactly the sorts of things he’d say! Your story gives me such a nice warm feeling. I can hear your love for the bond between human and horse in it. Thanks 🙂

    • dmmacilroy November 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

      Thanks back at you, Mads, for telling me Snippy and Gabs’ names. If you get a chance, will you show this post to Gabs? I’d love to know she’s read it.



      • Madison Woods November 19, 2011 at 5:31 am #

        I’m going to make her read yours and Ruth’s at least, the next time I see her. She’ll love them. Since she had her baby, she doesn’t get to ride often anymore and she really mourns that loss of contact.

  6. Siobhan Muir November 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    LOL that’s exactly how horses are. Truly loving and still interested in the treats you have. Well written, Doug. 🙂

    • dmmacilroy November 18, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

      Dear Siobahn,

      Sounds like you speak from experience. They’re wonderful for the soul, aren’t they?

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.



  7. Sheilagh Lee November 18, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    Aw just what you picture the conversation would be between a girl and her horse.

    • dmmacilroy November 18, 2011 at 9:43 pm #


      We used to have two quarter horses that boarded on the ranch. They were owned and cared for and ridden in rodeos by two teenage sisters. Oh, my, was that an interesting time. (They spoiled my male Australian heeler. Taught her to jump up on visitors and called him Princess.)(He’s never been the same.) They were nice to their horses but fought like hellions when one or the other scored better than the other the previous weekend.

      I cheated and channeled one of their nicer conversations.

      Thanks for stopping in.



  8. Joy November 19, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    Hi Doug!

    Ha, Doug, I love this post. Very well written, horses are amazing. My children are so fortunate to be able to “horse around” at my sis in law’s ranch. But they always greet us with that whatchya got attitude. Funny! 🙂

    • dmmacilroy November 19, 2011 at 3:50 am #

      Hi Joy,

      Gotta love ’em. Might be nice to come back as a grandkids horse. Life of Reilly for some of them. Just arrived on the summit and it’s trying to snow. Will look on Madison’s comment page for your story as soon as I get the telescopes prepped. (Thanks for reading:)



  9. Cara Michaels November 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    I can just picture Snippy’s soft horse lips and nose snuffling around, looking for those treats. 🙂 Very fun and sweet story, Doug. Thank you for sharing.

    • dmmacilroy November 19, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

      Dear Cara,

      Amazing how articulate those lips are, isn’t it? thanks for stopping by to read and comment. Looking forward to next week already. Haven’t forgotten the first chapter of your book yet. Nice.



  10. Caely November 19, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Hi D,

    Lovely story. How I have missed your words!
    However weird this may sound, I feel like that when I look at my fish…
    Thanks for inspiring, really.
    I’m glad you had so much fun during your vacation, and I really don’t mind if you went forever about it. It’s a passion and therefore it is worth sharing. And by the way, congrats on your conquest (also, I love roller coasters!).


  11. John Wiswell November 20, 2011 at 5:35 am #

    That is one very cute and hyperactive horse! Any chance this pinged off my dog monologue, or did we simply have similar notions of animal excitement?

    • dmmacilroy November 20, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

      Hi John,

      I could have sworn I replied to you soon after you wrote. In any event, no, I haven’t read you dog monologue. Closest thing to something like that would have been the Gary Larson cartoon showing ‘what humans say’ and ‘what dogs hear.’ Ever seen that one.

      Thanks for taking the time to read Whatchagot and commenting. i appreciate the feedback.



  12. Madison Woods November 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    Hey this is Gab, that fits Snippy so well! Food is always on his mind, but he is a peoples’ horse 🙂 Really enjoyed reading this!

    • dmmacilroy November 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

      Hi Gab,

      Pleased to meet you. The picture of you and Snippy was so perfect. Madison (have you gotten used to people calling her that?) really chose well.

      I channeled Mystic for Snippy’s voice, confident that there would be a lot in common since they were both horses. For your voice I used everything I’ve ever learned about women/girls and their horses. Thanks for letting me know you read ‘Whatchagot’. Makes me smile to have connected with you in this way.



  13. Ruth Burkett Weeks November 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Well, gee. I guess turn around is fair play because you made my eyes water with this one.
    I love the name of your horse and the fact that he comes and pulls you to him at night. I had two horses growing up: mine, King, and Daddy’s, Prissy. I have to admit we spoiled them rotten! Every night at 10:00 Daddy and I would whistle them up and give them some sort of treat. Apples and carrots mainly. but on occation, watermelon. Oh how they loved watermelon!
    So glad to know you have horses. I knew I liked you for some reason!


    • dmmacilroy November 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

      Dear Ruth,

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I do love horses and it’s pretty clear that you do too. I think they train us well, don’t you?

      Love your Aloha, too.

      A Hui Hou!


  14. Robin Hawke November 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    Only an animal lover could have penned such fun language and such a lovely relationship;

    I noticed when there was no mention of food, nicely done. Robin

    • dmmacilroy November 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

      Hi Robin,

      Thanks for reading and good eye for noticing the one sentence that spoke volumes.

      Speak of the devil, I’m going down to feed the horses now. Have a good day.


  15. rochellewisoff January 25, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    This a rare insidetheanimalshead stories that I’d call excellent. I’m sure you had me read this once before to show me that art of manipulating 100 “words.” This retro-read made me tear up. Speaking of food…I’m going to eat breakfast now. I love spending time with you whether it’s companionable writing silence or aimless yammering. Your friendship is a rare treasure.



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