Those of you who know me via my COTH humor columns may not know that I am also a graphic artist who has done marketing and branding work in many industries. From this work was born one of my biggest peeves: Products that are poorly named.
Quite a few items I use at the barn fall in to this category. So this month I’m airing my personal grievances about horse-related things that I think need more accurate, or at least more descriptive, names.
They’re falling wraps. They’re twisting wraps. They’re roll-away-from-you-while-you’re-trying-to-put-them-on wraps. They’re lint-and-debris-attracting wraps. They’re dragged-through-the-stall-and-peed-on wraps. They’re can-never-find-a-freaking-matching-set wraps. They’re I-wrote-my-name-on-them-but-they-still-disappeared-wraps. They’re tied-themselves-into-one-giant-knotted-mess-in-the-washer wraps. They’re somebody-rolled-them-up-backwards-so-when-I-got-to-the Velcro-at-the-end-it-was-facing-the-wrong-way wraps.
But they’re definitely not standing wraps. They literally do everything BUT stand.
This could be more accurately marketed as the Equine Entertainment Center. Water buckets are an endless source of amusement for horses. Empty ones make great noisemakers when banged upside the fence or stall door. Horses find taking and dumping water out of them almost as much fun as taking a dump in them. And for the “dunkers” in your barn, cramming them full of hay is much more satisfying than stuffing up those tiny automatic water bowls.
I’ve got news for you: Porta-Potties don’t “port” particularly well.
Assuming you don’t have specialized equipment or a team of Clydesdales who don’t mind sloshing sounds behind them, those things are staying right where the big truck unloaded them. Better get it right the first time, because you do NOT want to witness the aftermath of plowing into one with the tractor.
As for the potty part, yeah, they do serve that purpose. But until they install a button that makes a flushing sound, I will always come away from them feeling incomplete.
“E-Zee” (or any form of that word) Boots
Is it just me, or does anybody else think that whoever named this product should be sentenced to spend 20 hours a day for the next 50 years getting them on and off of horses?
Now, to be fair, they can be easy to get on. But unless you’ve got a hydraulic rescue tool (i.e. the jaws of life) lying around the barn, your horse may end up wearing that boot until his foot grows out of it.
Or until you turn him out, in which case he’ll fling it over the paddock fence during his first bucking run.
&^%$* INFURIATING BOOT …. Now THAT would have been truth in advertising.
I imagine it’s called a blanket because hair-amassing, poop-crusted, washer-choking, bonkety-bonking dryer-destroying chew toy doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.
If you’re like most people who blanket their horses, the volume of the blankets, sheets and coolers in your collection take up more space in the trailer than the horse itself.
But the amount of time these oversized tube socks spend blanketing anything is small compared to the amount of time they spend being washed, dried, repaired, stored, obsessed over and cussed at.
Personally, I think horse blankets should be made out of duct tape.
Now if you want to call it fly spray, I can get on board with that. It flies everywhere when you spray it. Occasionally you get some of it on your horse—but not much.
When you leave the crossties and can still tell exactly where your horse’s feet were on the rubber mat, you’ll realize that you’ve essentially just used him as a giant stencil to flyspray-paint hoof prints on the ground.
You know what fly spray IS good for, though? Hiding the dirt you didn’t have time (or motivation) to curry out of your horse’s coat. Spritz a little fly spray on, smooth it quickly with a soft brush, and your horse has a shiny, faux-clean surface to rival any veneer.
You can’t touch him after that, of course. But, whatever.
Nobody I know has ever used duct tape to actually tape a duct. Therefore, I have renamed it Magical Wonder Tape.
To use a Star Wars analogy, duct tape is like “The Force.” It has a light side, it has a dark side, and it binds the universe together. It is frequently used to wrap hooves when a shoe has been lost, when an impromptu poultice needs to be affixed to the sole, or when a little extra bling is desired in the show ring.
But it can also be used for anything from attaching the fender back to your slant-load to repairing the mailboxes you took out with the dually to sealing the rip in your jumping saddle to keeping your elbows from sticking out when you ride (give us duct tape, bailing twine and Bondo, and we can fix pretty much anything. MacGyver’s got nothing on us).
There are actually competitions that challenge contestants to make entire outfits, including shoes and accessories, out of duct tape.
There is literally nothing this low-tech marvel can’t do.
Except, perhaps, keep the buttons from falling off of your $800 hunt coat. There doesn’t seem to be any bonding agent strong enough for that.
Copper-Based Thrush Remedy
Let’s just call this stuff what it is: Perma-Green.
I hope you like green. I hope you love green. Because anything this metallic-smelling substance touches will be green as a leprechaun’s shillelagh until the end of time. “Anything” includes fabric, leather, skin and the barn cat.
Centuries from now, when archeologists unearth the remains of our civilization, all they will find where the barn used to be is duct tape and green stain.
Quick Release Snaps
A better name would be Random Release Snaps. They may or may not release when you are yanking on them and cussing at them. They probably will release, all by themselves, when you step away and leave the stallion in the crossties to grab a towel from the tack room.
Luckily, one of the lesser-known laws of physics states that two quick release snaps may never release at the same time. So your steed won’t be missing when you return; he’ll just be turned around backwards, standing on top of the muck bucket, trying to climb over the wall to get to the mares outside. Good thing that second snap didn’t release, or this could have been a real problem.
I’m not sure exactly how this is guarding the stall. But it’s another wonderful thing to spend money on, another thing to have to load into the horse trailer, and a popular thing to forget to bring home from the horse show.
I like to call mine a Magic Wand.
I’m not so much referring to its ability to coax forward motion out of an immoveable object as I am acknowledging its knack for completely disappearing.
I don’t know where they go. One day I am fully expecting NASA to release a statement like, “Holy crap, we pointed the Hubble telescope at this rock in space and found a whole bunch of leather sticks.”
Mostly, though, I think they just like to travel. I wish I’d attached a tiny crop-cam to the end of the $50 whip that went missing 45 minutes after I bought it. I’d love to have seen its journey. I imagine the video would reveal a long procession of gloved hands, alternately putting it down & picking it up off of the arena fence. There may be the occasional fuzzy blur of a horse’s flank, and, every so often, a spinning motion through the air and into the dirt.
Then there’s the really cheeky action: the dreaded glimpses of darkened, barely discernable butt-cracks. Do you really have to stick them down your pants?
You wanna pilfer my crop? Be my guest. But the joke may be on you.
You never know where that thing’s been.
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.