Saturday, Apr. 13, 2024

From The Horse’s Point Of View

A look at the adult amateur ring, as seen through the eyes of an equine.

My name is Sam, and my job is to save my Mom’s life on a regular basis.  It’s also worth bonus points if I can prevent her from looking like a total idiot in the bargain. I’m a good old boy, wise and generous, and Mom needs these qualities in a horse, big-time.

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A look at the adult amateur ring, as seen through the eyes of an equine.

My name is Sam, and my job is to save my Mom’s life on a regular basis.  It’s also worth bonus points if I can prevent her from looking like a total idiot in the bargain. I’m a good old boy, wise and generous, and Mom needs these qualities in a horse, big-time.

I got the idea of writing this story because my Mom wrote one about what goes through her mind as she jumps a course at a horse show and also what her trainer is thinking (hoo boy). I’d like equal time; in addition, you might find it interesting—and instructive—to see life from the horse’s point of view.

Mom is an older, older, older adult amateur (don’t blame me, that’s what the horse shows call the over-46 group), so I have my work cut out for me. I have to contend with mood swings, rusty joints, performance anxiety, hangovers and adult-onset ADD. It’s no walk in the park.

But I really do like my job. Mom loves me a lot. She scratches all my itchy spots, buys me new clothes and brings me tons of good stuff to snack on, like carrots, animal crackers, apples, gummy bears, peppermints (the expensive ones), cucumbers, sunflower seeds, grapes, Cheerios and Good ‘n Plentys. The Fig Newtons were marginal, but I ate them to be polite.

Mom also takes the blame for everything that goes wrong. No argument from me. On the rare occasion that I lose my concentration and bobble a bit on course, she pats my neck and apologizes to me in front of the judge. Most appropriate.

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It does annoy me, though, when she does something really hare-brained and makes me look bad in public. One time she just kind of rolled off during one ridiculously simple course (even the judge groaned), and I punished her by refusing all treats for the rest of the day. She wept and carried on, and only when she threatened to call the veterinarian did I relent. I should have known we were going to have a problem that day when she leaned down to her trainer at the in-gate and whispered, “I don’t have that ‘put me in coach, I’m ready to play’ feeling.”

There was no time to rethink the plan, but Mr. Trainer gave me an extra anxious pat. Next time she starts with the Creedence Clearwater song lyrics, I’m going to dig in my toes and refuse to even enter the ring.

In my position, it is important to display dignity and self-possession at all times. Mom once had a kind of ditzy mare (if she were human she would have been a blonde) who was not paying attention to her job and crashed through a jump. The mare took one look at Mom on the ground in a pile of lumber, turned tail and ran straight to our trainer. She pressed her forehead into his ribs, squinched her eyes shut and cried, “Daddydaddydaddy, I think I’m in trouble!” It was a disgusting display.

But all of these minor irritations aside, I do love my Mom and promise faithfully to uphold the amateur adult hunter horse credo: Always bring ‘em back alive.

A Few Thoughts I Sometimes Have On Course

“Oh don’t argue with me. Didn’t we establish that your opinion carries little or no weight?”

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“I could, with all legitimacy, buck you off right here. But because I’m a gentleman, I will refrain from that guilty pleasure.

 

“You ready up there, pal? ’Cause we gotta leave the ground now.”

“I’ll get a halo in heaven for this…”

“No, honey, it is NOT five strides. Trust me on this one.”

“HELLO, diagonal five or outside six? Can’t you even read the map while I drive?”

“Is this really in my contract? I have to call my lawyer.”

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