Monthly Archives: June 2006

Horse a Week?

I guess the only way to cure my obsession with cruising on-line ads for horses is to actually start looking at some in the flesh, so I’ve started making phone calls. I e-mailed a few folks a couple months back to get pictures, more information, etc on their horses for sale, but now I’ve actually talked to 2 people!  Ok, one’s in phone tag mode, and considering the holiday weekend that loometh, I see no way for this to change.

But what if I started trying to see a horse a week? Not carved in stone or anything, subject to availability, void where prohibited, some settling of contents may occur in shipping, but still, a goal!  or Gooooaaaaaaaaaal!  as they say at the World Cup.

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Horse Toys Part I

Bucephalus

I used to collect Breyer horses, or rather badger my parents into buying them for me.  My friend Ruthie Allen, the one who introduced me to horses, used to collect them too and together we would play with them like dolls.  They were organized into specific family groups that mimicked what we saw around us. There were some nuclear horse families and single-mom families.  We never worried ourselves overly about paternity . 

They had homes, some furniture, clothing, blankets, home-made bridles and saddles, and maybe even kitchen equipment.  I think the mom Belgian, for example, would cook dinner for her husband, Gus.  Gus belonged to Ruthie and the mom was mine. 

One of my favorites was Ann, a dappled gray Arabian. Ann was the prettiest name I could think of and seemed to go well with the plastic mare’s almost Quaker-girl demeanor. 

When Ruthie and I got too old play with horses anymore, I packed them up in boxes and labeled them all with their names.  Years later, when my father asked me if I still wanted them, I said yes.  He brought them down but I didn’t open the boxes, just put them away in the basement.

Later, when it was time to get going and I needed to travel lighter than I had been, I donated them to a woman’s shelter.  I hope that some stranded children have found some quality time with Ann and the others, making the herd gallop from room to room, tucking them into bed at night, and rousing them in the morning for new adventures in the shelter.

Image courtesy of BreyerHorses.com. This image is for non-commercial home use only.  All hail Breyer!

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Beauty Within

tiara.jpg

The day after a ride, when my thighs are sore, I feel fabulous.  I feel fit. I feel . . . Utterly Beautiful!  I mean stunning!  A beauty queen, Ms. America, Marilyn, Angelina, like …. like…. like Aishwarya Rai!  Yeah!  Like her!  Riding, balancing, working, being outside (or inside if the the weather’s bad) gives me so much strength, like a rod of flexible iron is in my soul and in my spine.

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The Knees

english-beach-scene.jpg 

British Knees (just because).

The significant body part for Capricorns is the knee, or knees if one has two.  I’ve never understood this and always thought it was silly.  Knees?  Why are knees important for Capricorns?  Does this mean they are powerful?  Does this mean they are weak and must be protected? Does it mean I should wrap them in Ace bandages or always wear knee protection like roller skaters? 

I’ve decided after my last lesson that what knees mean for me, the Capricorn rider, is that I must pay extra special attention to them because I let them stick out and flap. 

I have flappy knees.  Lovely.

So while riding, in addition to tucking my bubble butt, leading with my hips, relaxing, turning my toes in, performing Kegels, reciting T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and balancing a basket of eggs on my head, I have to remember to not let my knees flap (just kidding about some of that stuff — can you guess which ones?).

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Horse Longing Part I

Good God, this has become a real problem for me!  Sometimes I spend a solid hour looking at horses on Horsetopia! I mean, I should be

  • reading a horse book
  • working on my fiction or my brilliant freelance careeer
  • practising the guitar
  • thinking seriously about the upcoming hiring fair at Starbucks (I know, I know; bad idea)

At least doing something,  But no.  Yesterday I found an ad for a beautiful paint horse near the Queen City and he's so %$#%^ beautiful and the write-up is so compelling that I've stopped dead in my tracks to obsess about a horse. Again. Got he's pretty and God he sounds nice!

The last two horses that I obsessed about went very fast on Horsetopia, providing some evidence that at least I have good taste even if I'm lacking in sense. 

ARgh. 

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A Slight Conformation Issue

Generally, when horsepeople talk about confirmation, they’re talking about the horse (Note:  I know nothing about confirmation). They note if the horse has slunky hocks (that’s from a Daniel Pinkwater essay about dogs. Thanks, Dan!), a ewe neck, knobbly knees, or something or another. 

But it also applies to humans.

At the end of my lesson, my teacher always asks if I have any questions.  I asked about the way I always hollow my back while I’m trying to sit up straight, and how hard it was for me to tuck in my rear, keep my back relaxed, keep my legs in the right place, etc etc.  Leah covered her mouth and started to laugh.

“Well,” she said, “you have a slight conformation issue.”

Ah!  I thought so!  I figured it was going to be something terribly interesting, like, well, like slunky hocks or knobby knees or an unusual twist to my ankles or maybe Arms Akimbo Condition (can’t keep my elbows in to save my soul, either), otherwise known as AAC — anyway, something out of my control, just like for a horse.

“You have a bubble butt,” said Leah.

What?? A bubble butt? Me? No.  A thick waist, yeah but a bubble butt? OH my God!  Say it ain’t so!

“I’ve only had three other students like that,” continued Leah, rhapsodizing on other ass-enhanced riders she has known, “and it’s hard for them to tuck the butt under and sit on it while maintaining a relaxed lower back.  It’s a real pain in … in… well, in the back.”

God.  No wonder they feel like bowling balls on the poor horse when I tense up.  Good night. You can keep ’em relaxed, keep ’em tucked but you can’t keep ’em out of sight.

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I Love My New Stable!

It's perfect!  Perfect!  My teacher, Leah, describes it as a family stable because there are kids running all over the place.  For some reason, this doesn't bother me in the slightest.  I suppose because it's all about the horses and riding the horses, so the kid-sized interuptions don't seem so bad.

The kids are students and/or Leah's daughters, who are six and look like they were born stuck to horses.  Whey they aren't riding, they're doing something or another with a pony, or they're playing with a stick horse.  A stick horse!  Surrounded by ponies and they play with a stick horse!  I think it's great!

What else?  Well, there's a home-made feel and flabor to the place that I adore.  The barns and outbuildings are old, but some new ones are under construction too, so there's piles of construction-related stuff here and there.  One of the gates (not an important one) closes with a twine bow-tie knot.

But at all times, it is clear that Management is on the ground and very much in charge and is teaching everyone else to be polite, considerate, and in charge of their horses.  It's great to be around kids AND adults who are open to learning a thing or two. 

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