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FLYING OFF A HORSE CAN OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE FLIP SIDE OF NATURE'S CREATIONS

While riding up a mountain trail on the back of a horse, you can easily relax and enjoy the beauty around you - the sun filtering through tall aspen trees, the sound of water rushing over rocks in a creek bed, the tall grass blowing gently in the wind. Even prickly thistles seem stunning with their big purple blossoms.

When you fall off the horse and hit the ground, you see things from a different perspective.The horse, who seconds before was a noble steed facilitating your afternoon adventure, becomes a 2,000-pound dancing obstacle course with metal shoes. The thistles, masquerading as hothouse flowers, reach out and sting you. The warm, fertile earth becomes a sun-baked trampoline from which you don't bounce back.

Ants look bigger and busier, and flies swarming over a pile of fresh manure are unconcerned with your sudden appearance.

From your new vantage point you also see flies swarming over the soft underbelly of your horse, who is still jumping around trying to dislodge them.

Anyway you look at it, insects are annoying. They bite you, sting you, buzz in your ear and land on your food. And those same flies that are getting people bucked off horses and who make nose-dive landings on your Sunday dinner may also be in your Sunday dinner.

The Food and Drug Administration is out there regulating the amount of bugs allowable per serving of food. While you may be alarmed at the random bug flying around your kitchen, the government thinks it's perfectly acceptable to have 35 fly eggs in eight ounces of raisins. Twenty maggots per 31/2 ounces of canned mushrooms is also permissible. Even more tasty would be the 30 or more insect fragments allowed in 31/2 ounces of peanut butter.

My favorite bug-infested food is fig bars, with an acceptable level of 13 insect heads per 31/2 ounces.

Personally, I'd like to be able to take an afternoon horseback ride without being catapulted to the earth because of a fly bite. I'd also like to be able to put raisins on my breakfast cereal without worrying about fly eggs.

Lying on the ground contemplating how much I detest flies, I came to the only reasonable conclusion: We've got to get rid of them before they multiply.

If you're feeling softhearted, consider this: A pair of common houseflies can produce 336 trillion offspring in one summer.

It gives new meaning to the term crunchy peanut butter.