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Thursday, August 2, 2012

What's for dinner?

This is usually the scariest question of the day. I'm not much of a cook, I just switched to a gluten-free diet, and I've been treating my body like not just a temple, but a fortress! For the first time ever, I'm reading food labels as closely as I read horse supplement ingredients. How's the gluten free working? Okay, so far.....I'm suppressing the urge to turn into a sanctimonious bore that preaches the evils of food processing. I'm not -yet- roaming the aisles of the grocery store thinking "I see poisoned people.......and they don't even realize they're being poisoned......." I know myself too well; I'll get there.

So yesterday was a sticky hot day, just the type to relax my seat into a saddle/fullseat breech/sweaty skin sandwich. Perfect for stretching my heels deeper and legs longer. You know, working on developing that seat that can sit a spook really well. Only there was no spooking, because it was too hot for meadow muffin to exert the energy.

Despite the nice recommendation from a reader to try mineral sunscreen that won't sting my eyes, I have burning eyes from sweat and my usual sunscreen (that I need to use up before I allow myself to purchase more). Sweat, sunscreen, and foundation running down my face. Some goes into my mouth. It's what's for dinner.

I keep the ride short because this is less than tasty, and lead my hooved munchkin back to untack him. And there is my helmet, on the ground.
In the heat and bugs and haze I'd forgotten to wear it.

I haven't ridden without a helmet since I was a teenager. No wonder I was consuming a steady diet of dripping sweat (thanks, helmet liner!) Thank goodness I didn't eat a dirt sandwich that day.

My cell phone, which I normally don't carry, was with me the entire ride. For safety.

I rinsed off my sweaty face with the hose and hoped my sunscreen was gluten free. I hope dirt is gluten free, too. Because which contributes to a fall more, fear of falling, or just dumb bad luck?

Discussion of this on Fugly Blog today. That is, when they're not pecking at the authors.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pick Your Poison....No Really, Pick One.....Then Buy It and Apply Liberally

It's gonna be hot today. I'm fine with that. Sunscreen running into my eyes stings, but so does a rush of frigid air. Yes, indeed, it has come to the unfortunate conclusion where I've accepted eye pain as a fact of outdoor life. (Save for the fleeting bits of spring and autumn, of course).

I hold a bottle of cold water to my neck and wrists to cool off, think of all the toxins I'm sweating out, and hose off my horse. Love my Facebook feed, by the way! I have it carefully curated such that there is no stupidity, only dear friends and useful reminders from horsey things I've subscribed to. One such example: after hosing off your horse on a hot day, scrape off the water. Water not scraped actually heats up rather than cools.

I'm struggling to figure out my final opinion on fly sheets. Is it protective armor for my best friend.........or a safe haven under which flies can crawl and bite without repercussion? The flies recently decided it was the latter, so one distressed horse later, we've retired the fly sheet for the year and are back to relying on POISON. I have a bottle of pour-on insecticide that instructs me to "apply to the horse's poll, keeping product out of the animal's eyes".

In what world does that work out well??

Not mine, I suspect. Probably a world in which vet calls only happen during regular business hours and horses stand reliably stock still for all delicate procedures. I'm thinking that world doesn't even have flies, anyway.

So I went off a recommendation from the new barn owner and prayed that this time, this new fly spray will work.

What's been your experience?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Wanna Be Sedated, part 2

So, now that the horse is drunk and sharp points have been removed from his teeth, he is in not much of a state to argue. He's still high as a kite.

Hmmm...what else could we do while the boy is too sleepy to argue? Oh yes, THAT.

It never fails to surprise me how squeamish people get about the mere topic of sheath cleaning! I choose not to own any animal that requires rituals that gross me out. This is why I don't have, say, a snake (needs live mice), or a baby (needs a whole bunch of gross things). I do sheath cleanings myself. The pony doesn't drop for me, and I'm not about to play tug of war with the thing, so I go in blind. I go in with gloves, KY jelly, and a dream. Knowing where the parts are, I fish around with my (gloved!) finger to pick out the putty-colored bean. Mind you, I'm going in blind, so I get what I feel is the whole bean, then clean up.

At a previous dental appointment a few years ago, the vet tech told me I had done a good job. I beamed! Why is the stuff I'm good at always stuff that simply cannot go into the annual Christmas letter?

This most recent vet check went a little differently. Turns out my going in blind had not been sufficient, and he had a large bean. Those pockets are deep! The vet was able to feel the bean by touching the outside of the penis (didn't think of that!), and remove it by pushing from behind where the bean was. How obvious! But nobody ever talks about technique. There's just a lot of nervous giggling and cringing and hoping a repairman doesn't crash the party.

Today while "it" was dropped (don't want to use the "p" word twice and scare anyone), I felt what it should feel like from the outside when it's clean. Perfectly spongy. I'm happy to know that I have kind of a baseline or "default mode" for a clean gelding. Life is good.

This information will not be divulged in a Christmas letter OR a Facebook status. Can you imagine vague-booking about that? "Half a tube of KY later and a bit of patience, my goal was completed before the drugs wore off."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fun with Sedatives

Ponykins had a lot done yesterday - shots and teeth. This divested me of $211, and left my normally alert steed with a thousand yard stare and wobbly feet. I'm all "hey, buddy", and he's staring at his pile of hay like "I can see GOD". I helped keep him propped up while he fixated on the leprechauns or whatever he was seeing. I kid, I kid. He was just stoned as hell, not hallucinating. Though the antics of the new barn kittens may have added some element of trippiness.

It was a successful vet visit in that I received confirmation that he looked good, and I got to geek out at all the fun veterinary terms. Pitting edema! Occlusion! Dewormer chemistry! Swoon.

He'll get several days off as he recovers from the big day. I'll take that time to properly store his winter blankets, clean tack, and wash saddle pads. Ah hell, who am I kidding? I'll play with the kittens and ride one of the girls. I DO need to fix my half chap and order supplements. Aren't horse folk the only ones we know who spend an afternoon filling up baggies with white powder? Smartpak wasn't started to make our lives easier; it was an attempt to make us look less like small-time drug dealers! Baggies and white powder and syringes oh my! Um, I think we've established that my horse is the druggie, NOT me. I can't afford to get both of us high.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Most flattering helmet for when my house gets flattened?

It's supposed to be crazy hot this weekend! This is going to make a lot of people unhappy. I'm a fan of the heat, so I'm getting excited like most people do over a first snowfall of the season. "What is WITH this weather?" people say. A lot of people who hate the heat love its by-product: wicked storms.

As if I need a reason to indulge pack rat tendencies, I came across a PSA by the local weatherman: keep helmets on hand for severe storms. Most tornado deaths happen as a result of blunt force trauma to the head. My old riding helmets just became less Tally Ho and more Twister.

"It might look a little silly," he cautions. More silly than me crouching under the stairs with a death grip on the cat, grimacing in terror and trying to remember the words to The Lord's Prayer?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Being Judged

Oh, the part-time jobs we're willing to pick up in order to fuel the horse addiction! I'm not speaking of the barn rat type gigs. Another topic entirely.

I'm talking about the times when I become slightly touched in the head and think, how about doing something that doesn't involve shavings in the hair and boots that aren't allowed in the house? How about dangly bracelets and styled hair and nail polish?

I know, I'll become a leader with the popular weight loss company with which I was so successful. I'll be inspirational, I'll change lives, I'll make some mad cash!

I aced their interview, and filled out the mountain of hiring paperwork. This included a form solemnly swearing I wouldn't eat my feelings and no longer appear to be "the face of our organization." No problem. I've got breeches I need to fit into. I'm your gal. Solidarity and all that. Unless I have to move my horse and he goes on a hunger strike, or he colics, or dumps me out on trail. Then I'm embedding myself into a tub of ice cream like a tick on a dog. Legs waving in the air, and all.

I go through their extensive training and before I know it, I'm up doing my first presentation for actual members. What works in front of the judge? Good turnout, remember to breathe, don't grimace when you concentrate, needs more energy, add leg, look up, breathe, half-halt....I'm up there getting the job done, feeling composed, breathing, speaking, smiling. It's then that the person training me gets up, cuts me off, and finishes the spiel for me. It was as if the judge had leapt out of the judge's box in a fit up disgust, divested me of my horse, and finished the test. I was aghasted (hi, COTH'ers!).

My audience left and trainer lady glares at me and has one word: "Sit!" Which I do quickly in a submissive state that annoys me. I chalk it up to the fact that I've spent so many hours and dollars LEARNING how to sit. Then I realize that I just followed this command for someone who can teach me nothing about riding. Her feedback: I hadn't given the presentation right, I left out sacred phrases and added in unnecessary information when, I don't know, I was answering someone's question. She's going on about my screw-ups and I'm doing the math in my head....how many hours do I have to spend with this harpy to pay for a month's board? The exchange rate is not looking good.

I'm wanting to get some dirt back under my fingernails. I use my best "this isn't a good fit" verbiage to extricate myself from the situation. So many times though, in and out of the horse world, I want to tell someone: "They make pills for how bitchy you are. Ask your doctor if being heavily medicated is right for you."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Run Away!

My horse's home is for sale. A beautiful old horse property, put on the market and priced to sit long enough for me to forget the Sale sign is up. No, I can't afford it. I don't even know that I'd want to. Boarding gives me such freedom, and I don't know that I want to be tied down to this place. Don't think my ears have been closed when barn owners talk about their to-do list and how tired they are. Not for a moment. And managing a boarding facility? Sounds like herding cats. Not the LOL cats, but semi-feral hormonal cats.

So conversation casually turns to what would happen to the place after it sells. Barns torn down and a new shed put up? Gross! Everything torn down and a subdivision built? "That would be really ghetto," I said. The words came so fast I forgot I live in a subdivision. I covered my tracks easily: "The last thing this place needs is another goddamn field of beige houses"

I'm a pretty hands-on owner, in that I don't like to let more than a day go by without seeing my horse in person. He can be in the best possible care, but if I don't see it with my own eyes, it's all imaginary. Thanks, ancestors before me that passed on the worrywart gene. I've seen the family records and photos, by the way, and their toes looked a tad long.

Came across a quote the other day: "You can't run away from trouble. There ain't no place that far." - Uncle Remus.

Oh YEAH? Well. Some of us got into horses because we wanted to at least try to outrun trouble. Sometimes you go as far as possible from where the trouble started. Sometimes you need to physically, geographically, leave the scene of the crime.

My greatest fear isn't that I'll die riding a horse, it's that I won't be allowed to. And I'll be the old woman leaning over the back of a ship dropping jewelry into the sea.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shit People Say to Horse Owners

Happy Friday! To pass the time, cruise on over to YouTube and look at "Shit People Say to...." videos.

Here's my "shit people say to horse owners/riders", with a few handy replies!

"I rode a horse once, but it bucked me" ...It did what, exactly? Bucked while you were on it? Bucked and unloaded you? Can you be more specific? You know what, actually, don't - because the phrase "bucked me" gives me the creeps.

"I rode once, but my horse was really stupid" Oh, so you mean it ignored your clumsy cues and elected to eat grass instead. Sounds smart to me.

"Horses are really expensive...*uncomfortable pause*" I know, if I didn't unload all my disposable income on horses I'd have so much more money for recreational drugs. Care to hook me up?

"I would never have time for all that, what with my children's activities. I'd feel too selfish. Don't you want kids someday?" .....I'm barren, but thanks for the reminder. Just kidding! The judge recommended I not have children.

"I'll have to stop out and ride sometime" Yes, you will! I always prep for my ride by de-cobwebbing the barn and medicating the barn cats. Later we can check the live traps and see if that skunk has still been hanging around.

"Nice pants" (from some rando at the gas station) Thanks! They're deerskin fullseats, my favorite. They're a little spendy but so worth it. Guess my husband will have to give up beer and cable tv for the next few months!

"With all the money you spend on horses, you could buy a luxury vehicle/Eat Pray Love vacation/kitchen remodel!" No Lexus deserves the dust/animal hair/dirty blanket collection that I tend to create. Eat Pray Love translates to Groom Ride Cuddle. And nice kitchens are for people who underestimate the value of a kick-ass mud room.

Got any of your own? Feel free to post them! You don't have to sign up to comment - none of that password crap :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I'm still trying to decide whether or not War Horse left an impression on me. I'd better decide, because I'm sure to receive it on DVD within the next year. I did like it more than Secretariat. Too much Diane Lane, who I tend to think of as Susan Sarandon's LifeTime Movie twin sister.

My very favorite is National Velvet, which I saw after reading the book. I read the actual BOOK (haven't touched paper since I got my Kindle) and did a damn book report. Poor sixth-grade teacher. We were each to read our favorite passage from our book, and mine was paragraphs of tack gifted to Velvet. (I'm going to paraphrase here) "bridles, martingales, head collars, saddles, reins, surcingles...." He had to stop me. I was lost in a fictional account of what I would later know as components of a tack swap. Wheeee! A garage sale comprised of all horse stuff!

It's a maddening rush of great things that go great together....shopping and acquiring horse stuff. Right after I acquired my horse, I felt more and more the horse owner with each new item I got. I keep raising the stakes on myself.

I own all the (horse) things! (Real horse owner) Some of them are in my car! ( Real horse owner) My trunk is full of rice bran! (Real horse owner) Nobody but the dog would ever want to ride in my car! (Real horse owner) There are saddle pads drying on the Bowflex (Real horse owner).

Okay, seriously, the arms race toward enmeshing my life with all things equine needs to calm down. But part of me will always be a middle school kid dreaming about the horse lifestyle, so I can't help but drape myself in it. Where do I draw the line?

At the actual acquisition of horses, of course. One's my limit. But one is my bare minimum. I won't be horseless again, and my surroundings may be less pristine for it, but they're a lot more blessed.

Monday, January 9, 2012

All I ever Needed to know about Dating I Learned from Hunter Seat Equitation

You know one thing that makes me proud to be a horse person? We're one of the only corners of society that gets to objectify MEN. So many other pursuits - politics, music, athletics - have women standing at the sidelines or backstage or off-camera, waiting to lend support.

(Fun quote: behind every successful man is a surprised woman)

In the horse world, men are often the ones hanging on the sidelines with cold beverages and snacks. Wallets, too. Because we look good in tight pants. Because we're tough and elegant all at the same time. Because we're not to be trifled with. They know we own whips that are taller than they are. We aren't scared of spiders and we only get worried about bumps in the night when we're sleeping in the barn with a sick horse.

I don't watch The Bachelor anymore because they stopped picking hot guys a long time ago. I'm not sure they ever did, come to think of it. I did catch the premiere last week, long enough to see that one of the contestants is an accomplished rider. I hope she doesn't win. She's too good for all this. Why is she on there, again? And how does "I'm finally ready to find love" translate into "I'm ready to compete with 24 other women for a guy I may or may not want"?

Good luck, Lindsay/Lindzie/Lyndzy(?)! I hope you find your distance. Which means you don't win, but walk away without hemorrhaging dignity and can parlay this little contest into something lovely. All of you looking for love, I wish you the same....the trophy probably isn't the prize you once thought, so the trick is to find your distance so you can make it over this obstacle and on to the next jump. In the world of men, dirty stoppers abound and all the good ones are either taken or on the wrong lead. Heads up!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wanted: Horde of Angry Self-Righteous Do-Gooders!

There is nothing in Craigslist for me to snark at today. At first I felt disappointed. Then I remembered that that was in fact a good thing! Are we having so much fun snarking that we light up at the sight of something bad?

Remember the Fugly blog in its heyday? Fugly had the right balance of cruelty, whip-smart commentary, and humor. Yes, I said cruelty. Some of what is most funny in this life is a bit cruel. Some of the funniest people I know are abrasive as hell. Remember the comments? Hee! Anatomy of a comment on the Fugly blog comment back in the day: a) description of bodily harm they'd inflict upon the abuser, b) attempt at snarkcasm (which typically fell flat), and c) praise of Fugly.

*Kicks rocks* I want a Mafia! How can I possibly assemble a Mafia when folks in my area are feeding and training their horses? A quick search of the heavily rednecked area from which I came yielded almost no horse ads, which was creepy. Most of the horse dealings there probably involve trades of four-wheelers and meth.

What I'm getting at here is that at one point people almost seemed overly excited to find awful things. I want a Mafia, but I want things to improve enough that I'm unable to form one, you know?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I know I should wait till the caffeine kicks in to check my messages. Maybe some things are best discovered in a semi-awake haze.

It was a message on Facebook from a well-meaning friend. That's where it usually starts, doesn't it? Someone well-meaning? Seems she had a friend for whom she put some horse ads on Craigslist. She wasn't a horse person. Apparently the horse-owning friend wasn't a Craigslist person.

Could I take a look at the ads for her?

You know, kudos to my non-horsey friend for caring what the ads looked like. They were photographed in a paddock near the barn. Ever seen the series on Discovery (I think) called Life After People?....."Two years after people, the infrastructure begins to collapse. Fences, once solid, begin to sag and fall down. Rats, with no natural predators, grow to the size of dogs and take over...." Okay, I'm joking about the rats, but the background in the photos had a definite Life After People (stopped giving a shit) vibe to them. Creepy, cluttered, and gloomy.

The horses themselves were gawky-looking two year olds whose whites needed whitening and whose manes needed pulling, combing, or probably a de-burring. All had the ubiquitous grungy, bleached in the sun nylon halter.

I told my friend the horses needed to be cleaned up, trimmed up, and photographed in nicer halters. I spared any comment on their conformation and emphasized that the owner should put a metric fuckton of show sheen on them and photograph them against a more scenic background.

I didn't go in for the online dating comparison, but if I did I would have said: "Think of them as trying to land dates so that they can attract the best possible partner, in order to marry and not have to leave the country!" Which is a really cute comparison but not at all the case here.

....Oh wait.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Where would you like to be in 2012?

Seriously, where? This isn't a philosophical question.

I hate New Year's. It begins the march onward toward things I loathe......winter, the Stupidbowl, more winter, February (January's boorish friend), winter, an extra fucking day of February this year, and more winter. I want to kidnap those clowns in warm climates who bought fake snow machines and make them look at crusty brown snowbanks for an hour. Kind of like a frosty version of scared straight.

Winter turns me into kind of a bitch like that. And we're having a mild one, so I suppose I'll turn into a mild bitch.

Obviously I'd be happier in a warmer climate. The one thing I like about where I live is that it's in a horsey area. The area in which I grew up, not so much. Here I've been exposed to good things like quality schooling shows, people who keep track of whether their horse is drinking enough water, and properly fitting tack. Swoon.

There are warmer areas, but are the good horsey ones a bit expensive? And though it's like a foreign concept to me, there are warmer spots where summer riding takes place in the early a.m. or perhaps around dusk. Such begins the various permutations of making sure horses are comfortable in the heat.

I wonder where that "sweet spot" is that is warm but not punishingly hot, non-redneck yet affordable, adequately horsey, and somewhat scenic, and not too far from my relatives.

But not too close, either.