Sunny, the Pooty Horse

by Dale Easley


Once upon a time there was a horse named Sunny. Sunny was brown and white, with bits of other colors in his tail. He belonged to Cowboy Ben. Sunny and Cowboy Ben lived on the ranch outside Podunk, Wyoming. The used to be a real working ranch, but nowadays it's mostly a dude ranch. Cityslickers come out to the to live like a cowboy---and pay for the opportunity.

Sunny and friends grazing near the train track.

Pulling the Chuckwagon

On weekends, Cowboy Ben would hitch Sunny to the chuck wagon and head out onto the plains. The cityslickers would climb on the horse and go for a ride, meeting up with the chuckwagon for supper. Cowboy Ben would drive the chuckwagon out ahead of time, unhitch Sunny, and begin cooking supper---beans, bacon, and biscuits, or maybe, for a special group, steaks. After a while the cityslickers would come riding up, turn their horse loose to graze, and have a fine meal on the trail.

Ananda, the pretty city-slicker.
Sometimes some of the horses would be really late getting to the chuckwagon. After they were turned loose, Sunny would mozey over and ask them, "What took ya so long?" The horse might answer something like, "Well, I had this big, fat cityslicker riding me. She was so big her rear end hung over me like two saddlebags. It was a struggle just carrying her out here." Another horse might answer something like, "A young greenhorn was riding me. He thought he was a real cowboy---started kicking my ribs! I showed him---up and down hills, over gulleys, under low limbs ... He nearly peed in his britches! Glad he didn't---he was riding on my back!" And another horse might answer something like, "Well, I had this beautiful little girl named Ananda riding me. She was so sweet and beautiful. She patted my neck and called me a good horse. I could have carried her all night."

After the cityslickers finished supper, Cowboy Ben would hitch Sunny to the chuckwagon, and they'd head back to the . Cowboy Ben would unhitch Sunny, wipe the sweat off him, brush him down, and turn him loose in the barn with some good hay and oats. It was a fine life.

Going to Town

The quiet but beautiful town of Podunk.

Some weekends there wouldn't be any cityslickers to entertain. Then Cowboy Ben and Sunny would head into Podunk. Cowboy Ben would put on his best tight-fitting jeans, a big belt buckle with a picture of an Elk on it, a Stetson cowboy hat, and his cowboy boots, freshly wiped clean of cow manure. Then he'd throw a saddle on Sunny, and off they'd go.

Cowboy Ben would head to the local dance hall and saloon or the Elkhorn Bar. The Elkhorn was the sort of place where you could carve your initials into the big wooden bar, meet up with your friends, and occasionally hear some live music. One of Cowboy Ben's favorite groups was the Road Hawgs. They'd play the blues. Sometimes Cowboy Ben would get plumb sentimental--- teary-eyed ---especially if they broke into Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother.

After the bar closed down for the night, Cowboy Ben would stumble out to where he'd tied Sunny, throw himself on Sunny's back, and tell Sunny, "Take me home." Sunny knew the way back to the as well as Cowboy Ben did, and soon they were out on the plains heading home. The nights are cold in Wyoming, and pretty soon Cowboy Ben would be feeling more alert, looking up at all the stars. Occasionally he'd break into song:

Hurry up, old fellow
For the moon is yellow tonight
Hurry up, old fellow
For the moon is mellow and bright
There the coyotes howl at the moon above
Oh, carry me back to the one I love
Hurry up, old fellow
'Cause I got to get home tonight
When they got back to the , Cowboy Ben would give Sunny a special brushing and extra oats for taking good care of him on the way home.

Cowgirl Jamie

One weekend, a local girl named Cowgirl Jamie came along on a ride with the cityslickers. She was thinking about trying a to get a job at the and wanted to see what it was like. She and Cowboy Ben struck up a conversation, and he took a real shining to her. Cowboy Ben asked Cowgirl Jamie out for a buckboard ride the next Sunday afternoon.

Next Sunday came and Cowboy Ben hooked Sunny to the buckboard and headed off for Cowgirl Jamie's place. After picking her up, they rode out onto the plains. The sun was getting low in the sky, antelope were grazing nearby, and Cowboy Ben became to feel plumb romantic. He drove the buckboard up onto a low ridge where they could watch the sun go down. Then he got out his guitar and began to sing:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear...

Now Sunny was noticing how taken Cowboy Ben was with Cowgirl Jamie, and he was afraid she was going to come between him and Cowboy Ben. So when Cowboy Ben got the part, You'll never know, dear, Sunny's tail lifted up and he cut a big poot, poooooo! Then he threw back his head and let out a loud whinny-laugh, Whee-hee-hee-hee! Cowboy Ben turned beet red. He was speechless.

Cowgirl Jamie has begun to like Cowboy Ben, and she could see how embarrassed he was. She got down off the buckboard, walked around to the front, and grabbed Sunny by both cheeks. "I know what you're up to, Sunny," she said. Then she hiked up her skirt, tilted her rear, and cut a big one right at Sunny's nose. Sunny's eyes got wide, his nostrils flared, and his ears went back. Then he threw back his head and let out a loud Whee-hee-hee-hee! This girl was all right!

Cowgirl Jamie walked back around to the buckboard, climbed up in the seat, and said to Cowboy Ben, "Sunny and I understand each other. Now get back out your guitar and sing to me." So Cowboy Ben started singing again:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear...
Once again, when Cowboy Ben got to the part, You'll never know, dear, Sunny's tail started to lift up. And when it did, Cowgirl Jamie started to tilt over to one side. Then Sunny cut a big poot, poooooo!, and right as he did, Cowgirl Jamie cut loose, too, pooooooo! Then Sunny threw back his head and let out a loud whinny-laugh, Whee-hee-hee-hee!, and Cowgirl Jamie started giggling. Cowboy Ben turned white as a sheet. He was in shock. His best friend, Sunny, and his new girl...

After sitting there all quiet, Cowboy Ben knew what he had to do. He leaned away from Cowgirl Jamie as if he were ashamed to be near her. Then he cut a big one of his own, pooooooo! He threw back his head and laughed so hard he was in tears. For a moment, Sunny and Cowgirl Jamie were in shock, too, but then the whole group joined in a big round of laughter. From that day forward, the three of them were strong friends.

The Wedding

In the Snowy Range
A few months later, Cowboy Ben decided it was time to pop the question, and Cowgirl Jamie gave the desired answer. They decided to get married outdoors at the St. Albans Chapel in the Snowy Range of the Medicine Bow Mountains.

The day of the wedding, Cowboy Ben put on some new, tight-fitting jeans, a big belt buckle that said LUV, a new Stetson, freshly-shined cowboy boots, and a bollo tie. He and the preacher waited at the front while Sunny carried in Cowgirl Jamie, riding sidesaddle in a white wedding dress with red cowboy boots sticking out from underneath. She looked fine.

After Cowboy Bend and Cowgirl Jamie said the usual parts, "I, Cowboy Ben, do take thee, Cowgirl Jamie," yada, yada, yada, they got to the part where the preacher asks, "Does anyone know of a reason these two should not be joined together in holy matrimony." Well, Sunny wasn't about to let anyone interfere with these two getting married. So as the preacher asked his question, Sunny's tail started rising, and at the end of the question, Sunny cut a big one, pooooooo! At first, everyone there was in shock, but then they all burst out laughing. Sunny threw back his head and let out a horse whinny-laugh, Whee-hee-hee-hee!

When the ceremony was over, both Cowboy Ben and his new bride, Cowgirl Jamie, climbed up on Sunny and road off into the sunset.