As horse owners and riders, we perform amazing feats, like barrel racing, jumping, and halter breaking weanlings. Yet we also do some things that cause non-horsey people to gasp, shudder or raise an eyebrow. Have you participated in any of these activities?
Hasty Hair Days
Your riding lesson ran late, and you’re dealing with a bad case of Helmet Hair. There’s no time to run home and indulge in a proper shampoo and blow dry. So, without hesitation, you reach into your tack box, grab your horse’s tail brush and drag it across your scalp. You could potentially weave wiry chestnut horse hair into your coiffure, but so what?
Finally, since you can’t find your fancy barrette—again—you contain your ponytail with the elastic band hidden at the bottom of your horse’s tail bag. Voila! You’re good to go.
As a horse person, you’ve integrated equestrian lingo into your daily dialogue. An observant sociologist might say you communicate in Barnspeak. For example, you cluck to your car—and expect it to accelerate—when approaching a yellow light. If a riding pal appears to be limping you’ll ask if their navicular is flaring up. Unfortunately, Barnspeak can be misconstrued by a perplexed public. Recently, you described your neighbor’s dog as “sweet, but a poor mover” and dismissed a potential suitor because he had “bad conformation.” Indeed, you might consider wearing a muzzle at non-horsey social events.
Whether it’s at the end of a long trail ride or midway through a marathon horse show, sometimes nature calls and you simply have to go. Unfortunately, you’ve been inside too many port-o-potties that left you starved for oxygen, and the off-kilter stance of the one nearby looks ominous. Without further contemplation you boldly go inside the horse trailer, where so many horsewomen have gone before. Luckily, you had the foresight to spread a bag of fresh pine shavings over the trailer mats that morning. This beats the ghastly port-o-potty any day.
Do these scenarios sound familiar?
Perhaps you’ve done something else that would make your mother roll her eyes in horror. Regardless, we won’t tell. Such is the secret life of everyday equestrian.
During her lengthy show career on the hunter/jumper circuit, Cindy Hale won more than 20 medals for hunt seat equitation. She currently serves as a judge at local and regional open horse shows.
This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Horse Illustrated magazine. Click here to subscribe!