I Have Become a Horse Stuff Hoarder

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    I don’t watch much TV but I am hooked on one rather obscure show about hoarders that’s called “Buried Alive.” Each week focuses on some poor soul who is compelled to hang on to what we would consider disposable stuff. Maybe I’m fascinated with this program because I recognize a little bit of myself in each episode. You see, I am a bit of a horse stuff hoarder. There. I admit it.

    My hoarding tendencies began with bits. My sister used to tease me and say that I could open up my own bit museum because I had accumulated a staggering amount of English bits. I thought there was a certain aesthetic beauty to the way the light glinted off the tangled wad of stainless steel and chrome at the bottom of my tack box. The curves and angles created a maelstrom of silvery lines that greeted me each time I lifted the lid.

    I think I constantly bought new bits because each one looked so intriguing. I never purchased anything overtly inhumane or severe. But I wanted to “feel” what it was like to ride one of our horses in a Waterford snaffle or a Happy Mouth or a Myler or a Mikmar or a Wonder Bit. And then I’d take it off the headstall, admire it once more, and then stash it in the Bit Museum.

    Eventually I got over that obsession. I sold virtually all of my collection on ebay or at the local consignment shop. Then I promptly moved on to collecting western shirts. Why? I don’t know. It’s not like I attend a bunch of rodeos or that I’m into line dancing at our town’s Saddle Sore Saloon. I just thought they were pretty. But after a while they began to outnumber the Target store t-shirts hanging in my closet. Was I actually a closeted Senior Rodeo Queen? Did I really feel comfortable in plaid, rhinestones, and pearl snap buttons? No.

    That’s when I knew it was time to quit that compulsion. Somewhere, there’s a Salvation Army thrift store selling a rack of gently used ladies western blouses, thanks to me.

    After some self-reflection I reined in my bank account and forbidden myself from spending any more money on amassing great amounts of horse stuff. Instead, it seems, I’ve channeled my horse stuff hoarding tendencies elsewhere. Now I’m collecting piles of discards and recycling them into other uses. That’s not such a bad thing in our current eco-friendly environment, but even I believe I may be going overboard. For example, I can’t seem to throw away any empty supplement tubs. I’m referring to those white plastic containers that MSM, hoof supplements and psyllium come in. I now have about a dozen sitting idle on a shelf in my garage, awaiting their new assignments. I figure I can use them to mix up grout for my mosaics. Each little tub can hold a small amount of a customized color of grout. At least that’s my plan.

    I’ve also got a stack of Christmas hand towels in a Rubbermaid container in my tackroom. Don’t laugh. But last February I bought a bunch of these oddball (maybe even ugly) holiday themed hand towels. They were on their final markdown before going… I don’t know where… and I thought they’d work great as rub rags at the barn. I’m always grabbing for a rag to wipe Wally’s eyes, dry off his legs, goop up his ears with fly repellent lotion or clean out a water tub. Besmirching a bath towel for such purposes is sacrilege at my house, so why not put a plush turquoise towel with embroidered snowflakes and a dancing penguin to use? So what if it says “Happy Holly Days” at the top in gold sparkly thread? It still works great to get the hoof oil stains off my hands. And they were only 99 cents apiece!

    I suppose if I stick to innocuous items like empty plastic pails and discarded hand towels, then my hoarding of horse stuff isn’t out of control. I have a large area for horsekeeping. I doubt that a TV show will find me buried under a mountain of debris anytime soon. But you never know. My mind might soon turn to collecting something potentially troublesome, like discarded rusty horse shoes or well-worn horse blankets in need of repair. Those sorts of things hold promise—the horse shoes can be crafted into gifts and the blankets could be fixed and re-sold or donated to a horse rescue—but I’d be storing them and musing over their futures in the meantime. And that could be scary. Someone might even have to summon a film crew.

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    13 COMMENTS

    1. I am guilty of collecting bits. The ones that I’m not currently using on my horse are hanging from the door knobs in my house. It’s “equine art” and they serve a purpose…the dog has learned to nose at them when he needs to go outside.

    2. I’m guilty of buying halters. Everytime I see a new color or design, I think I need to buy it. I have far more halters than I do horses and lead ropes. My two horses could actually wear a different halter every day of the week.

    3. I hoard hoof picks. Every time I see one at the tack or feed store I think I need one, so I buy one. Then I get back and realize I already have a bunch. At least they don’t cost alot!

    4. I always buy brushes, there are so many different ones at the tack shop i can’t help but buy a few because at the tack shop i think i need them, but then i get home and realize i have a brush almost exactly like that! I do use my stash of brushes thou, If I use them all it takes me quite a long time to groom my horse!

    5. Rein in the bank account….but its hot out and there is ebay and there has to be a last minute item I can’t live with out..the sparkly tail bag {that was stretched like a bunging cord then chewed to mush with the tail that was chewed to bits left in the bottom) Oh the shiny silvery western saddle (still sitting in the tack room don’t want it to get dirty anyway I don’t ride western anyway)And yes the lovely western shirts.(they do bring life to a dull closet.
      Cindy Hale you are a treasure!

    6. I hoard riding gloves. I was up to 20 pairs before I finally admitted to myself that, no, I will not be wearing the ones with holes all of the fingers, and I threw a few of them away. I think I’m down to 9 or 10 now. I only actually wear 2 pairs of them.

    7. I hoard boots. I have new boots, used boots, boots that barely fit and boots that I bought on impulse and will never wear. I’d be embarased but now I know i’m not alone.

    8. SO, I SEE I’M NOT THE ONLY HORSE PERSON WHO HOARDS STUFF! MAYBE NOW IT’S OKAY TO ADMIT THAT I ALSO SEEM TO COLLECT A WHOLE LOT OF SOCKS: WHITE ATHLETIC SOCKS, BOOTS SOCKS, FUNKY SOCKS WITH HORSEY DESIGNS, ETC. AT LEAST YOU KNOW THAT MY FEET DON’T SMELL AFTER A DAY INSIDE BOOTS OR MUCKERS.
      COLLEEN, THAT’S SO SWEET OF YOU TO CLAIM THAT I AM “A TREASURE.” I SHOULD SHOW THAT TO MY HUSBAND. MAYBE HE’LL THINK I’M WORTH ANOTHER PAIR OF SOCKS!

    9. I really hoard horse posters. I haven’t counted them, but I have enough to cover my bedroom walls. It looks kind of silly, and I have hundreds of pushpin holes on the walls, but I think it’s hilarious when people come in and say “Wow…um…you really like horses, don’t you?”
      Ya think so?

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