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Backstage with Baldy

Oklahoma City – August 27th

Jerry Cantrell punched a horse.

But wait, before you run off and contact your local ASPCA or PETA chapter, let me explain.

We had two days off in Oklahoma City, so Jerry opted to go to his ranch, since it’s not too far away.

While he was there, Jerry decided to spend a little time with some of the horses on the ranch.

Well, it turns out that just like a lot of other species, horses in groups tend to have an alpha male, and this particular alpha male took a disliking to the fact that Jerry was petting another horse.

As Jerry was still petting horse #2, horse #1 began to gallop towards them, with the intention of interjecting himself into the situation.

Jerry’s back was to horse #1 as this happened, but he spun around in time to avoid getting run down.

But horse #1 still wasn’t satisfied, and turned his back to Jerry.

I come from a family of farmers and ranchers, so I know that when an upset horse turns his back to you, there’s a good chance you’re about to get kicked.

Fortunately Jerry was armed with that same knowledge, and he smacked the horse before he could get kicked.

So I guess that yeah, Jerry technically punched a horse, but he was just protecting himself, and it was really more of a punch/smack/shove combo platter.

It’s not like he pulled a Mongo from Blazing Saddles and decked the poor creature.

If you’re an animal lover and this story upsets you, just remember that much like the old adage warning you not to take a knife to a gun fight, Jerry was empty handed at a loaded horseshoe fight, and he did what he had to do with no time to think about it.

Fortunately for the fans in Oklahoma City, Jerry didn’t injure his hand in the encounter, and the show went off without a hitch.

Just as important, the horse was fine, and went back to eating hay and acting like a big shot amongst the other horses on the ranch.

And just like every good ole down home ranch story has a moral to it, so does this one:

Never punch a horse unless you have to.

Okay, I realize that there really isn’t a moral there. It’s more of a life lesson.

And it was a nice detour from stories about tour buses and dressing rooms and stages.

In fact, there’s another chapter to the horse story.

The tour bus went to the ranch to pick Jerry up and bring him back to Oklahoma City.

It turns out that a shiny tour bus can make for a very reflective surface, and an alpha male horse isn’t used to seeing his reflection.

Therefore, there was a certain horse that spent the better part of an afternoon, evening, and night staring down his own reflection in the side of a tour bus. It seems that just like with human beings, alpha males in the equine community can be real morons.

Then again, I think I may have actually stared down my own reflection in the side of the bus for several minutes one drunken night in 1993 on the Lollapalooza tour, so who am I to judge?

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Backstage with Baldy

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