Dear Santa Hoss,
By now, you know me well enough to realize that I am one of the best-behaved creatures on your list every year. Really, my capacity as a Trainer of Humans makes me a sort of Deputy Santa, I suppose.
That is why, for another year, I am not writing to correct the libel my Human will have tattled to you regarding The Incident Of The Minor Concussion or The Time I Sneezed On Her Good Breeches.
You’re a smart man. I know you recognize a Hail Mary when you hear it. Instead, I am using my annual communication to deliver my report on whether my Human deserves anything other than arena dirt in her stocking (and helmet) this year.
My recommendation, Santa, is this—Christmas, just like any other memorable event in life, is (or should be) a learning opportunity. A chance to take stock of the year and repent, if necessary, for certain transgressions.
While I can’t say that her equitation or equine management habits were completely hopeless this year, I do think it’s critical she not get a big head. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of items I think might prove useful in getting her to examine herself and her relative strengths and weaknesses.
- A mouthguard would be a great stocking stuffer for the Human. I have tried, through various creative takeoff maneuvers and routine schooling over oxers, to create in her an interest in stabilizing her position on the landing side of jumps.
This has not worked, and I am concerned that if we continue to school 3’3”, she is going to develop unsightly chipped teeth from being rattled around on landing. I am also hopeful this will muffle her shrieks on cross-country—not just a stocking stuffer, but a mouth stuffer of sorts. I suggest a bright red color that will hide blood and be easily spotted in the arena dirt.
- A copy of Horses for Dummies. Because, obviously.
- Spanx. Because, obviously.
- A sampling of the Shoulders Back posture aid I’ve seen advertised in catalogues. I’m requesting this with the ‘put out one equitation fire at a time’ rationale.
- The Talking George Morris action figure, for an ego check when she’s away from the barn. I cannot stress how excited I am about this thing.
- Some sort of soothing meditation CD. She spends a lot of time overwrought, especially after taking another tumble in the weeds.
- Tickle Me Elmo. Last year, you brought her a ball and cup toy to keep her amused between rides, and it turns out this was too complicated for her intellect. Just make sure you attach a tab to the battery pack so I can disable the thing when it starts driving me nuts (although, it sounds frighteningly similar to her, so it shouldn’t be anything new for me).
- A football helmet. Turns out, the manufacturer does not recommend using a riding helmet after the little piglet has fallen headfirst on it several times. I’m thinking football helmets would provide more adequate protection.
- A case of Red Bull for those horse show mornings when she moves in slow-motion between my grain bag and my feed tub. I realize there is always a danger she will consume the energy drink while then listening to the CD and begin shouting affirmations at me, but I must suffer for my art.
- A new asthma inhaler for the next time we work on cardio by playing “Chase the Jitter around the neighbor’s backyard.”
- A pair of crutches. In case she dares spur me at C again. In case she takes it in her head to bring me inside before 5 p.m. In case she forgets to finish her request to trot with ‘pretty please, Your Highness?’ Just…in case.
- More Band-Aids. Last year you used them as a stocking stuffer, and I don’t think I emphasized that she needs an industrial-sized box of the things. Just in case.
Any or all of these would prove very helpful for the Human, and me by extension (and we know I deserve for life to be made as easy as possible). Thanks as always, Santa.
P.S. And as a side note Santa—if you end up with any leftover eggnog (you know, the stuff that has been sitting out on your counter for a day or two), I suggest you deliver it to my veterinarian’s home. Tell her it’s from me. With love.
|Jitterbug is a Michigan-bred Professional Draft Cross who skillfully avoided saddles until age 5. Since then, she has been lauded for her talent in successfully managing humans while training herself to one day achieve eventing greatness. Jitter and her human live in central Kentucky.
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Photo by Dark Horse Photography.