Jun 28, 2017

Let's Be Honest--Horse People Are Cray Cray

by Kim Ablon Whitney

You know how sometimes you can't remember how to spell the word "the" or you say the word "fork" out loud and feel nearly certain it's not an actual word?

That's how I feel about the sport I love sometimes. Is competing in the hunter/jumpers for real? Or did I somehow make up the shit we do for this sport.

Do we really get up at four in the morning--often on the weekends--to go to a horse show when the whole sane rest of the world is asleep? Are we really okay being so tired that we resort to napping on hard wooden boxes?

Do we really put a hundred meticulously tight tiny braids in our horses manes only to take them out that afternoon and put them in again the next morning? And we do this week after week?

Do we really spend years of our lives getting an animal that generally prefers to be dirty as clean and shiny as a new right-off-the-floor dishwasher?

Do we really compete in warm temperatures in a physical activity wearing long pants, black knee-high boots, a shirt, a dark-colored jacket, and gloves?

Do we really wait around all day to perform for sixty seconds? 

Do we really spend the rest of the day obsessing either out loud or just in our own heads about those sixty seconds and how our horse behaved?

Do we really say, "He's was such a good boy," at infinitum? Do we really love our horses as much as our children and our spouses?

If this isn't the definition of insanity, what is? I mean I know other people do crazy things for their sports. Sure, they get up early too (hockey) but not our kind of early. They dress funny (fencing) but not our kind of funny. They risk severe injury or even death (boxing) but honestly so do we. They wait around for their one or two events (swimming, track) but they don't have a horse or horses waiting around too.

Look, I'm not even going to go into the money-side of things. I'm not going to mention what we could do with all that money we're spending (like save a small, starving village somewhere). If I went into that, there'd be someone knocking at my door to take me away to a padded room somewhere.

But come on, do we really pamper our horses with massage, acupuncture, and chiropractor treatments? Do we really feed them endless supplements? 

Do we really fly to other countries to buy horses when there are so many here in our country?

For that matter do we really fly our horses all over the world to compete?

Do we really buy treadmills for our horses?

Do we really buy more clothes and equipment for our horses than a Kardashian buys for herself? Do we really store said equipment in large, heavy wooden boxes that we must transport from location to location?

The answer is a loud and affirmative hell yeah we do to all these and more. And we're not about to change.

It's no wonder we horse people are an insular group. I mean what friend in the real world would understand and tolerate our kind of crazy?


Jun 14, 2017

Why Juniors are Better than Pony Riders

by Kim Ablon Whitney

Okay, they are totes adorbs. The ponies and the kids. But the pony years also come with their drawbacks. Here's why having a junior rider is soooo much better.

1. A serious reduction in tears. Yup, waterworks still happen, particularly around finals time, but it’s not every time the pony adds a stride or misses a change.

2. At least when you pay a minor fortune for your animal it’s full sized. Have you ever tried explaining to friends that you spent a #!&@-ton of money on a animal that only comes up to your chest?

3. No more trying to get those damn gray ponies clean. Somehow a freakishly large number of ponies are a shade of gray and they just love to lie in manure.

4. Good-bye hair-bows. Good-bye hair-bow trunk. Good-bye picking the right bows. Good-bye bow superstitions. Good-bye bow everything.

5. No more explaining to your relatives that your daughter isn’t riding a baby horse. "But won't he grow up to be full size?"

6. When you sell your horse and buy another, you can still use their tack and blankets. You sell the small to move up to the mediums and are stuck with all the pony's clothes. 62" blanket, anyone?

Kim Ablon Whitney showed ponies a really long time ago. Her book Blue Ribbons is all about the pony divisions.