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2021 Story and Poem Submission Rules: Winning stories and poems will be published in our new Clip Clop Magazine. All entries must be original, meaning that the member who enters them must have written the text. Stories should be suitable for all ages, including younger members, and include a horse or animal in them someplace. Clip Clop Magazine is boosting its commitment to provide an established outlet for new writers. Each month Clip Clop Magazine will award $25 USD to one winning article or poem that we print. All other published entries will be awarded $5 apiece. Submissions can be fiction, nonfiction or poems.

2021 Story and Poem Submission Rules: Winning stories and poems will be published in our new Clip Clop Magazine. All entries must be original, meaning that the member who enters them must have written the text. Stories should be suitable for all ages, including younger members, and include a horse or animal in them someplace. Clip Clop Magazine is boosting its commitment to provide an established outlet for new writers. Each month Clip Clop Magazine will award $25 USD to one winning article or poem that we print. All other published entries will be awarded $5 apiece. Submissions can be fiction, nonfiction or poems.
Jane Crandal & JB
2021-03-07 11:56:21
The aggravating horse
I never stand still when you want me to,
when you want me to go, I stop.
I make you work for what you want,
and seem to want to annoy you.
It's true I'm a handful, and can sometimes be trouble. I make you think on your feet,
and act on the double.
I teach you much more than you would think, so next time you think that I am just trouble, remember that I teach you to think on your feet, to think on the double.

ILoveLydia & Molly
2021-03-19 17:19:01
I almost bought a mustang, for 25 dollars. She is liver chestnut with a white star. She is beautiful. I called her Mustang Molly. She is in Michigan. I would have taken her too, but she is 13.1 hands, I would have soon grown out of her. She was not trained. For sale with the BLM for 25 dollars.(Bureau of Land Management) Freeze-mark:19635922 Neck-tag:5922 There are many others in need of homes too! Mustangs are fast, smooth, and great friends once trained. The mustang I called Molly above still needs a home as well as many others. Link to "Mustang Molly":https://wildhorsesonline.blm.gov/animals/19635922
ILoveLydia & Molly
2021-03-23 10:29:54
Wellerman

Horse edition(I hope I’m the first person who thought of it)
By:bauger

There once was a gelding who I didn’t own, he was owned by the baddest man around. Oh no he through a big buck, with the wind blowing through his mane.

bauger & acorn
2021-04-17 23:21:12
HIRED HELP, Part One
By Nat2
“Miss Trudy, you ever considered the fact I’ll be worked to death before I hit thirty?”
Trudy paused in her scrubbing of Bastion’s tack with a rag and saddle soap. To be entirely truthful, she had never once in her entire life regarded this as enough of a problem to waste time thinking about it. She turned to see the hired hand with his sleeves rolled up to his elbows, half-unbuttoned shirt dark with sweat and cowboy hat shoved back as far as it would go on his unruly hair. He was contemplating the stack of square bales before him that had to be moved from the feed room so he could get a diagnosis on Near Heaven’s rat infestation. As Trudy looked at him, he met her gaze.
“It’s true,” he said. “I’ll be dead’n gone by twenty-two. Mark my words.”
Trudy suspected Randolf Bates to be on the green side of twenty. If he was going to die by twenty-two, he had better hurry up about it. She had only ever seen examples of such stunningly-perfect health in medication commercials. “You look fine,” she told him, returning to her saddle. “Keeps the weight off.”
“You won’t be sayin’ that when I’m on my deathbed from malnutrition.” He took his hat off his head and ran a hand through his hair. “When’s a body eat around here anyhow? You gonna feed us now that your sister’s run off with the circus?"
Trudy screwed the lid back on the saddle soap and twisted the waxy rag around her hand. “One week on a business trip does not constitute running off with the circus,” she informed Dolf coolly. “And I’ll feed us just fine. It ought to be easy enough keeping things going when lessons are cancelled until next Tuesday, anyway.”
“Easy for you.” Dolf pulled off his glove and produced a fresh matchstick from his breast pocket. He stuck it in the corner of his mouth and heaved a gusty sigh. “I still have to move these bales and restring that north section of wire and fill in all those chuckholes y’all cause by insistin’ on drivin’ a big old Dodge Ram all over that poor driveway, and then I gotta to pick up enough horse feed to fill the Coliseum because somebody has to feed these poor critters while you're admirin’ your reflection in that saddle and lettin’ your life fritter away.”
“You know, I think you just like complaining.” Trudy pressed her lips together to hide the smile that threatened to emerge. “Tell you what, I’ll go take that big old Dodge and pick up the horse feed for you if you’ll put this saddle back in the tack room.”
“I knew it,” Dolf muttered, looking resigned. “I think you’re doin’ me a favor and all you want is to exploit me some more.”
“You get *paid* to be exploited, Mr. Bates,” Trudy reminded him, running to open the tack room door. She knew he meant no harm with his endless carping; it was something for his mind to do while the rest of him hauled around twice his own body weight in sweet feed. Each comment was so imaginative and bizarre it was one of her favorite pastimes simply to listen and see what he could come up with. He didn’t do it around Harriet, who operated on a different mental plane than either of them and couldn’t understand that just because he was complaining didn’t mean he was actually complaining.
With the saddle returned to its rack and Dolf returned to his rat-infested feed room, Trudy gave Bastion a parting peck on the nose and headed for the house to get the truck keys. While Dolf would have to unload most of the feed once she brought it back home, she comforted herself in the thought that at least she was saving him the long trip down chuckhole-filled roads to get it in the first place.
The big old Dodge in question was parked docilely in its place on the main drive, dwarfing Dolf’s ’88 Ford Ranger with its scratched-up blue paint and dented passenger door. The Ram 1500 was a magnificent beast in metallic silver with a blackout package that, in retrospect, only made all the inevitable mud splatters on the rims and grille more visible and cleaning in general a pain. The salesman had been so persuasive, though, that the only reason Harriet and Trudy hadn’t decided on buying the all-black edition was the brief sanity on the part of their hired hand.
“A black truck?” he had demanded, aghast. “What kind of a bad idea is that?”
“It looks cool,” Trudy had supplied, foolishly attempting to go up against Dolf’s notorious practicality with such a flimsy excuse. He had given her a disdainful stare down his nose.
“Come mid-July and you’ll be cooked alive in that fancy ergonomic seat of yours and it won’t matter how blamed *cool* you look.”
Now Trudy was glad she and her sister had listened, because when summer hit that big impressive Dodge of theirs turned into an 8-speed pizza oven. As she opened the driver door a blast of heat knocked her in the face with the stifling aroma of cooking plastic, and the seat burned even through her sturdy jeans as she got in and turned the key, resisting the urge to immediately crank up the AC. It would only spew more hot air at her, and she had about all she could handle at the moment. Snapping her seatbelt into place, she threw the Dodge into reverse and twisted around to keep an eye on the driveway as she backed out.
The drive to feed store was a relatively short one, but if a body kept to backroads with the windows down it turned from a business trip into a leisurely sightseeing venture. It was times like these Trudy liked living out the most, where for miles there was nothing but her and the Dodge and the trees, leaves spinning in the playful breeze and grass ruffling at their twisting roots. Drenched in sunlight and heady with the musk of fresh earth and leaf mold, the cool air poured into the truck cabin, chasing out the last of the stagnant heat and sifting through Trudy’s loosely-tied hair. She tucked a strand behind her ear, snapped on the radio, and let the oldies serenade her the rest of the way to town.
Pulling to a brief stop at an intersection, she watched the right-of-way traffic crisscross in front of her while she tapped out a rhythm on the steering wheel in time with Bobby Fuller’s latest heartbreak. A few pedestrians were waiting on the sidewalk, talking amongst themselves while the cars cruised by. Their cowboy hats and dusty boots brought her mind back to poor Dolf, doubtless stripped to his undershirt by now as his laboring away with the hay bales soaked his cotton plaid button-front with more sweat than a body should be able to produce. The care and keeping of Near Heaven and all its horses was a rather daunting task for one scrawny and, at this point, dehydrated young man, especially when Trudy and Harriet were so often busy with other things and unable to help. The theoretical rat infestation was yet another task to add to his unending list of duties, and picking up horse feed once wouldn’t do much to relieve all that pressure. Mulling over her sudden quandary, Trudy turned off the main road into the feed store, facing the eternal problem of finding a spot to light that fit the big Dodge. They had bought the truck in Texas where everything was bigger, including the parking spaces, and the vehicles were built accordingly. Squeezing in between two Chevys, she shut off the engine, killed the radio mid-Orbison, and headed inside.
“Charlie?” she called as the tarnished little bell above the door announced her entrance. “Charlie, where you at? I got places to be and horses to feed.”
At first her only answer came in the peeping of chicks from beneath their sweltering brooder lamps and the burbled meow from Hoot, the resident owl-eyed mouser, as he sat on his throne of cattle cubes in the corner. Trudy clicked her tongue at him, trying to entice him down, but he only cast her a disdainful feline glare and returned to watching the chicks through their protective mesh of hardware cloth. Suddenly there was a loud crash from behind the swinging doors and a man emerged in a billowing cloud of feed dust and dirt.
Charlie Hawkins was thirty-five if he was a day, but he made a point of lying about his age to any who inquired. Seeing Trudy, he swiped the worst of the dissipating grit storm from his jeans and resettled his Carhartt cap over his dark brown hair.
“What are you doing here, Miss Trudy?” he asked, leaning on the counter. “Usually that skinny hand of yours comes in looking like nine miles of underfed road. He sick or just dead?”
“Overwhelmed,” Trudy explained, pulling her wallet from her pocket and slipping her list of supplies from its closed flap along with a few twenty dollar bills. “With Harriet gone there’s too much to do around the place and not enough time to do it in. Now there’s a rat invasion in the feed room.”
“So you decided to buy some more fuel to throw on the fire,” Charlie guessed, taking the list and running a practiced eye down its contents while one hand automatically filed the money away in the cash drawer. “Boy couldn’t come and do it himself, I see.”
“He suggested getting some help around the place,” admitted Trudy, picking absently through the bucket of carabiner clips on the counter while she spoke. “For once I think he might be right.”
The proprietor squinted at her doubtfully. “Getting old, is he?”
“Getting restless,” Trudy corrected. Charlie snorted.
“Fella his age should be in college, working off all that energy by racking up decades’ worth of student debt.”
“You know it and I know it,” Trudy said. “But Dolf sure doesn’t.”
That earned her a grin, and he smacked the list onto the counter. “I’ll go scare up your order. Take your truck to the second bay and don’t run over the cat on your way out.”
She looked down to see Hoot sitting at her feet, his brown tabby face upturned expectantly and his round moon eyes glittering like green marbles. Seeing his big tomcat feet and the taut muscles beneath his luxurious coat, a thought occurred to her. “Say, Charlie—I couldn’t borrow this walking box of rat poison for a while, could I? Might help Dolf get a handle on things in the feed room.”
Charlie scratched at his five o’clock shadow, considering. “Got a better offer for you. Comes in a four pound bag, answers to the name of Victor, and is currently on sale for ten bucks, plus tax.”
Trudy clicked her tongue. “Deal. Add that on, will you? I’m fresh out of the green stuff—you’ll have to put it on Harriet’s bill. She won’t mind.”
“I just bet she won’t.” He rang it up and tapped the counter with his knuckles. “It’ll be a few minutes. See you around back.”
“See you.” As he pushed through the swinging doors, Truly knelt to rub behind Hoot’s tufted ears and enjoy the rich purr that coiled in his throat and vibrated through her fingers. He pushed his head into her hand as she continued her ministrations. “There’s a handsome fella. You sure you don't want to come back with me? You can say hi to Dolf.”
“You making that offer to me, or just him?”
The voice came from behind and above her, making her jump and sending Hoot spazzing to safety beneath the homemade soap display. Scrambling to her feet, Trudy turned and looked for the newcomer who had dared startle her with the cheesiest icebreaker in the history of man. She found herself staring up into blue-green eyes set in a handsome young face, half-hidden by unruly waves of dark hair that fell over arching brows. The owner of this impressive visage offered her a crooked grin that made one side of his nose crinkle.
“Didn’t mean to scare you," he apologized. “Who’s Dolf?”
Trudy blinked. Her mind was working feverishly to place this young man, but for the life of her she couldn’t figure him. With his jeans, scuffed boots, red plaid shirt and black felt hat, he certainly looked like a local. But she would have remembered a face like that.
“Who are you?” she challenged. “You scared the cat.”
“Sorry about that.” He glanced down at Hoot, watching reproachfully from the soap display, then back up at Trudy. “My name’s Jack. I came in looking for a box of matches and overheard you telling Mr. Hawkins about looking for some hired help. I thought I might give you my resumé.”
Trudy did not make a habit of letting random strangers strike up such casual conversation with her, mostly because there were no strangers in this town, random or otherwise. Everybody knew everybody, and Jack was a new and unknown face. It was, however, a very nice face. She kept her guard up but lowered her automatic suspicion by several degrees. “All right, I’ll bite. What can you do?”
“What do you need done?” He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, shoving a thumb in his belt. “I haul things, I fix things, I paint things, and if you’ve got a rat problem, then I kill things. Not as good as Hercules over there, but I do my best.”
She took him in for a moment, measuring him up and comparing him mentally against Dolf. They were both tall, both slender and fit, although Jack’s shoulders lent him more of a lumberjack look in all that red plaid. He didn’t seem the type to crumple in the face of hard work.
“I’ll think about it,” said Trudy. “Let me get the feed loaded up, and I’ll come back.”
He cocked his head. “Fair enough. I’ll wait here with Hoot. We’ll take bets on what you decide.”
Blowing a kiss to the lurking mouser, Trudy loped outside and started up the Dodge. Backing it out from between the two Chevys, she rolled around to the second warehouse bay and threw it into park. Leaning out the window as Charlie emerged with a flat cart of feed bags, she rested her chin on her folded arms and asked,
“What do you know about that guy in there? Have you seen him before?”
“The lumberjack?” clarified Charlie, lowering the gate on the truck bed and throwing the first feed sack in. Trudy had to smirk at that; he’d gotten the same impression she did. “Never seen him in my life. Came in fifteen minutes ago, asked for matches polite as can be, and petted the cat. Hoot likes him well enough.”
“Hoot’s opinion is good enough for me,” Trudy decided. “What would you say if I hired him on to help Dolf around the place?”
The truck rocked gently on its suspension as another 50-pound sack hit the bed. “I'd say you better make sure the looks match the rest of what you’re getting,” Charlie commented. “If that pretty boy doesn’t like getting dirty, you got a GQ model and a headache on your hands.”
Trudy laughed. “I’ll take my chances. Thanks, Charlie,” she added as he chucked in the last of the feed and closed the bed gate. He came up to the driver’s window and handed her the bag of rat poison.
“A little goes a long way,” he said. She couldn't tell if he was talking about Jack or the four pounds of green pellets in their plastic bag. “You have a good one.”
“Thanks," she told him again, checking over her shoulder before throwing the truck into reverse. “I’ll remember that.”
In the time it took her to pull back around to the front of the feed store, she had decided to give this new fellow a chance. Even if he turned out to be completely useless, it couldn’t make things any worse for Dolf than they already were. She tapped the horn a few times to summon Jack and he emerged, squinting in the sunlight with Hoot trailing in his wake.
“And what’s the matter with you?” he asked, shading his eyes with one hand. She hooked one arm over the steering wheel and peered out.
“You’re hired,” she announced. “Where’s your car?”
He came over and leaned on the passenger window, looking chagrined. “In the shop,” he admitted, running a hand through his wavy hair. “Started knocking about a mile out of town.”
She indicated the passenger side with a jab of her thumb. “No problem. Get in—you can hold Victor.”
“Victor?” he echoed, opening the door and sliding into the seat. She plopped the rat poison into his lap and put the truck into drive.
“Buckle up,” she told him, checking her mirrors as she pulled out. “I don’t want you or four pounds of rodent death deluxe flying around the cabin on the way home.”
“Just what kind of driver are you?” asked her passenger warily, taking a tight, precautionary hold on Victor. Peering around the steering wheel at the road, she favored him with a one-shouldered shrug.
“Don't look so nervous. You’ll get there alive.”
“Yeah,” he said. “But in how many pieces?”
“No guarantees. Consider this your official hazing ceremony.” She shot him a quick grin. “Welcome aboard.”

Nat2 & The Price of Valor
2021-04-23 01:52:04
Entry for the June 2021 Magazine:

Furever Friends: A dog and human story

I still remember the day she came home, fluffy, excited and happy. We got Bridget, a 9 year old adult Sheltie/ German Shepherd mix, when no-one else wanted her. I was in shock. The day we met, I got out of the car, and she tackled me, licking me all over. She was in foster care with other shelties, and did not like the others. People had come to see her, and no-one ever came to take her home. It was love at first sight! It was decided immediately she would come home in a few weeks. She came home and settled in wonderfully! She was extremely playful, cuddly, and sweet. Bridget was perfect! This dog was the dog no-one wanted? The dog with German Shepherd colors and sheltie fluff? This playful cuddlebug? I still can't believe it! Last year, I found out we are the same age. We are 13, older than either of her breeds are supposed to live to! I suppose the reason she was not adopted sooner may have been because of her age, but now, 4 years later, I don't think age should ever be an issue! If you can take an old dog from a shelter, do it! Let them live out their days in a home with people who love them! So the dog is old, it could, probably will, live longer in a home with care and love. If I can, one day, I will adopt only the oldest dogs, or the ones with the most special needs, because the old dogs are the hidden gems, with potential beyond your wildest dreams! These dogs open up, and are so grateful to have a home, and food, a bed, and love, because they know what it is like to not have that! That is what makes this all worthwhile! You never know what you will find with them! I don't know how much longer she and I have together, but I will continue to give her my love, and care, to make her happy until the day she dies! Because that is what she wants and needs.

For my Bridget, I love you and will keep on loving you long after you are gone.

ILoveLydia & Molly
2021-05-27 15:08:04
The Good Horse


What makes a horse a good horse? Is it color? Size? Personality? Whether it rides English or Western? If it does dressage, show jumping hunt seat, or barrel racing? The truth is, there is no right answer! Everyone's answer will be different! You can decide what you want in a horse, just remember that no horse will be "perfect". Each horse is different and special! Horses will all have their quirks, like we do. No horse or human is perfect or exactly alike. It is best to accept that no horse is perfect, and that there is no right definition of a good horse. All horses are good in their own way, and a horse you don't think is a good one might be to someone else.

Ladybug and Lydia

ILoveLydia & Molly
2021-06-29 11:04:06
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