I’ve started a small business with my equestrian-themed mosaics. I keep a little TV turned on in the background while I snip glass tiles and glue them in place. Over time I’ve realized there are a whole lot of so-called “reality” shows. On my satellite dish (which offers the same viewing menu as cable) dozens of channels are contaminated with them. Yet there are very few that hold my interest. I believe that some of them should be tweaked to become more appealing to horse folk like us. Here are just a few suggestions from my line-up of reality shows:
“Mule Woman vs. Wild”: Tilda “Mule Woman” McFarlan and her trusty four-legged companion Marvin the Wonder Mule combine instinctual urges with commonsense tactics to survive in the rugged backcountry. Each week a fearless camera crew documents the struggles of Tilda and Marvin as they fend for themselves in uncharted territory. Marvin, whose lineage traces to donkeys used by 19th century prospectors, always does just fine. Tilda, however, often ends up gnawing on tree bark and gulping raw lizards by the end of the program.
“Toddlers and Trophies”: Ever wonder what some horse show moms will do so their youngsters can compete on the A-rated circuit? Though her family subsists on Ramen noodles and frozen pizza while living in a converted chicken coop, Raylene Starr makes sure she has the funds to outfit her kindergartner, Amber Starr, in finely tailored English riding apparel. Last week Raylene traded the family’s only vehicle—a rideable lawn mower—for a retired hunter show pony named Frog Pond’s Miracle Maker. As if to defend her decision, Raylene said curtly, “My child has natural ability. She isn’t going to show no school horse.” She paused for a moment and then said directly into the camera, “I know that Amber is destined to be an equestrian star. I mean a real star. With only one ‘r’.”
“Say Yes to the Horse”: Set at a full-service sales barn run by famed horse trainer Russell Fratz, this series gives viewers an insider’s look at high-dollar transactions. Fratz and his staff of eager assistants are forced to combine the skills of a detective with that of a mental health therapist to determine just what type of horse the buyer is seeking. Fortunately, Fratz and crew are usually successful in finding the perfect horse for every client. Typically tears flow as the buyer sits astride the dream horse she’s finally found while Fratz dramatically intones, “So. Does this mean you are saying ‘yes’ to this horse?” (Rider nods emphatically as she wipes her nose with a gloved hand).
“My Big Fat American Gypsy Horse”: Every horse lover has their favorite breed, but the owners of Gypsy horses have assumed the characteristics of a clan. Each episode reveals another tradition that outsiders had no idea existed in the Gypsy horse owner’s guarded world. For example, in a recent episode viewers learned about the secretive Sparkle Parade, where Gypsy horses are festooned in ribbons, feather plumes, Swarovski crystals and glitter. Then, late at night in a sequestered barn that’s been transformed into a ballroom, the Gypsy horses prance around to the delight of their devoted admirers. As a reward for their performances, the bedazzled horses are then allowed to munch endlessly on high-calorie treats like frosted apples and jellied carrots.
Did I make you laugh? I hope so! On the other hand, I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m watching too much television; because I have even more ideas for altering popular reality shows so they attract horse people like us. Maybe I’ll add them to a future blog post. Or perhaps I should start listening to the radio while I make my mosaics.
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