The lovely and talented Lauren Sprieser, my fellow blogger and online friend, is trying to tell us all that the seasonal relocation of her barn to Florida ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
It seems her friends, colleagues and readers (ahem) are sending her emails, texts and phone calls expressing a certain je nais se quoi—oh, could it be JEALOUSLY? And, in her kind and eloquent way, she’s hoping to suppress our little green monsters by explaining that hey, things really aren’t that great here in the Sunshine State.
Lauren, I beg to differ. As I sit here watching more than 20 inches of snow dump from the sky and listen to three 10-year-old boys play knee hockey in my basement at 9 a.m., I’m wondering how hanging out with Midge and Ella could be worse.
Let’s address her points one by one, shall we?
1. The footing in Florida is sandy.
By footing, I assume you mean in an outdoor ring. We’re riding in a tiny indoor ring recently treated with magnesium chloride to keep the dust down. I think our teens would give up Facebook for a week for a chance to ride outside. We’re fighting each other for ring time as our indoor is on the small side and holds the cold like a post-menopausal woman’s body holds fat.
2. Lauren says: “Floridians are scary drivers.”
I love this one. I live 22 miles from work. It took me two hours to drive home last night due to a blinding snowstorm. I’ll take on the Florida blue hairs right now. Right now.
3. All she does is ride and go out to eat.
Um, how does this one work again? Oh, we’re supposed to be grateful that we can cook our own meals and use our free time to exercise or do non-horse activities like vacuum. Got it. This is so weak I can’t even make fun of you for this. At least give me something to work with!
4. Lauren is afraid of the Creepy Crawlers.
There is an “ick” factor here; I will give her this one. It is a shock to the system to go from zero bugs to full on cockroaches, snakes and lizards. I can fix that for you my dear—I can send the boy (my 10-year-old son Ethan) right down; school vacation is right around the corner. He has watched every episode of A & E’s "Billy The Exterminator” multiple times and is just itching to catch some vermin. He’s on his way, free of charge, for 10 days.
5. Florida has no cell service.
While this may make my daughter swoon, I can handle it. I live in Vermont. Our cell service, though much improved over the past few years, has its own glitches.
6. She’s complaining about eating too much fresh key lime pie.
And (AGAIN) this is supposed to make us not hate her and be jealous. Is someone having a Paris Hilton moment? Lauren, let me give your not yet 30-year-old body a message from your 40-year-old body: EAT THE PIE. Your body is burning so many calories right now that you can eat the pie. Ten years from now if you look at the pie, you’ll gain weight, and then you’ll eat the pie anyway. Stop torturing yourself.
7. They recently pulled a 13-Foot-Long Alligator from a canal down the street.
Ethan says no worries; he’ll shoot it, even if he has to track it for four days. Payment: Key lime pie, dinners out. Going to a restaurant with the boy is an experience you’ll LOVE. Hee hee.
8. Florida has no turnout.
No turnout does stink. Winter turnout here in Vermont is a workout in itself. First you have to plow or shovel the path to get to the paddock. Then you have to try to make it to the paddock with the horse dragging you all the way. Then you have to bring out the (expensive) hay.
Gas here is also expensive, more than $3.25/gallon, over $3.50 for diesel. Our water does not smell like feet. But our dogs smell like feet. I don’t know if the people here are pretty, because I can’t see their faces or bodies and won’t for another few months until we can take off all the extra layers.
Our horses are very “up” because of the cold, even though they usually get turned out for six hours a day. Everyone can count on an “exciting” ride almost every day.
Lauren, I propose a swap. Or, I’d settle for an on-site visit where I can inspect your conditions myself to see how difficult they really are. Have the key lime pie ready.
Elizabeth Howell grew up riding on the hunter/jumper circuit in Massachusetts. Now she is a horse show mom. She holds a day job at The Emily Post Institute and slings horse manure on the weekends. Her website is www.sheridesIpay.com.