It took me a lot of years to figure out that the main reason a relationship with a horsey girl is challenging is because you, our non-horsey significant others, don’t understand us.
I don’t mean that you don’t understand the terminology we use. There certainly is a language barrier, but we can work around that. We know that if we want you to hand us “that neck strap” we have to request the “nightingale,” and if we want you to get the crocheted ear bonnet we must ask for the “doily.” We cringe but refrain from comment when you call a chestnut “brown.” And if we ask for the halter, we’re aware there’s a 50/50 chance that you’ll hand us a bridle.
I don’t mean that you don’t understand the depth of our obsession with horses or how they speak to our souls—it’s nothing that esoteric.
I mean that you literally don’t understand us.
For example, when we say, “I’m just going to stop at the barn and check on the horses real quick,” you incorrectly assume we mean that we’re just going to stop at the barn and check on the horses real quick.
Our fellow horsemen know it means that the next time you see us the sun is going to be on the opposite side of the sky, the leaves on the oak tree may be a different color, and you may have grown a beard. And even if we said we’d be home in time for dinner, it didn’t necessarily mean today.
Here’s another example: Horsey Girl (HG): “I’m going to buy a new saddle.”
Your interpretation: She’s going to buy a new saddle.
But first, we’ll need a new horse to put it on. So when we go “to the tack store” and don’t make it any further than that ranch with the beautiful buckskin gelding for sale, please don’t act all surprised. Now, if we actually DO come home with a saddle, don’t think you’ve dodged a bullet. It’s still only a matter of time before that buckskin (whose name, coincidentally, is Bullet) shows up underneath it.
HG: “I need to go to the feed store.”
Your interpretation: She’ll be coming home with a load of feed.
Clearly, you have never accompanied us to the feed store.
Once we’re there it will occur to us that we also need new feed tubs and water buckets. Hay nets, too. And eyebolts, snaps and screws. And duct tape, lots of duct tape, you can never have too much duct tape. Oh, more supplements. Why wait until we’re out? We might also buy a pre-fab horseshoe just because it’s so shiny.
We may or may not actually come home with any feed, unless you count the horse cookies. Or, that big delivery truck that tears up the lawn may be bringing the feed later.
Don’t worry, the feed store has grass seed, too.
HG: “I have to run some errands this afternoon”
This is code for “the tack store is having a sale and I’m meeting three of my barn friends there with a U-Haul.’”
It doesn’t matter that we already have all the horse stuff we need. There will never be a better opportunity to stock up on things we will never use. And to buy blankets. Lots more blankets. More blankets that we’ll drape over the rafters in the garage so the buckles hang down and bang your windshield if you pull in too far.
Please understand that this is necessary to keep you from running into the rack with the new saddle. No, we can’t stack the blankets on your workbench. Where do you think we put the new saddle pads?
HG: “Bullet didn’t feel like himself today.“
You may think we’re just making an observation, and we’ll see how Bullet feels tomorrow.
In truth, we’re about to launch an investigation that will make the folks from CSI look like amateurs.
First, we’ll call Miss Sophia, the animal communicator. Then we’ll have the equine bodyworker, the acupuncturist and the masseuse come out. After that, the farrier. And maybe the dentist, depending on what Miss Sophia said. Then we’ll have the vet come out to see what he knows. When all is said and done, Bullet will feel like a million bucks. Which is good, since that’s probably about what it will cost.
HG: “The barn is having a tack swap today”
Naturally, you are relieved. This means that we’ll be taking some of that never-used stuff we bought at the tack store sale and getting rid of it. Maybe even bring home a little cash for it, right?
Sorry, but no.
It’s a tack swap, not a tack sale.
We’ll be trading our unused stuff for a set of new stuff we won’t use that will stay in the truck, trunk or garage until we dig it out for next year’s tack swap.
Don’t try to make sense of it. That’s just the way it works.
HG: “Paying for hauling to out-of-town horse shows is just too expensive.”
Your interpretation: She’s finally come to her senses. She’ll be doing fewer shows and staying closer to home.
Actual meaning: Sweet baby Cheez-its, she’s buying a trailer.
You must respond to this one carefully. Don’t issue a challenge like “if you come home with a trailer you’d better be prepared to live in it.” That will backfire on you big time. Because if we weren’t already planning to get the deluxe model with the luxury built-in living quarters, we’ll take your ultimatum as meaning you’re completely onboard with an upgrade.
Speaking of upgrades, surely you realize our 1990 Toyota Tercel can’t pull a trailer.
You’ll probably laugh at us for thinking that anybody would take that beat up barn car as a trade-in on a truck.
I wouldn’t laugh just yet.
At least, not until you check the whereabouts of your Camaro.
If you’re a “glass is half full” type of person, you might decide that it won’t be so bad showing up for work driving a big old macho shiny black dually.
But that’s not the vehicle you’ll be driving from now on.
Unless, of course, you want to take it to the car wash.
After years of trying to fit in with corporate America, Jody Lynne Werner decided to pursue her true passion as a career rather than a hobby. So now, she’s an artist, graphic designer, illustrator, cartoonist, web designer, writer and humorist. You can find her work on her Misfit Designs Cafepress site. Jody is one of the winners of the Chronicle’s first writing competition. Her work also appears in print editions of The Chronicle of the Horse.