The familiar sticky misery of a horse-human summer mercifully submits to the crisp scent of autumn. You pull your favorite comfort hoodie from the clothing heap you kicked to the back of the closet last spring when pretending to be a responsible adult who organizes garments by season instead of filth level. You clutch what is essentially the human equivalent of a thunder shirt to your chest and huff at it adoringly before thrusting it over your helmet hair. The summer wardrobe anxiety miraculously melts away. “Mmmm.” You smile to yourself. “I can up my burrito intake now that Lycra/Spandex season is over.” Sweatshirts cover all matter of sins.
Fall holds many meanings for various equestrian disciplines. For foxhunters, it’s cubbing, race meets resume, fall show season begins, there are paper chases, point-to-points, and trail riders everywhere rejoice. The swarm of parakeet-sized flies that plagued the hacks of summer head on back to whatever hell they came from.
For horses, the stifling heat of the season that has subdued them may effectively lull their foolish humans into false narratives such as, “I think Trisket has finally settled down after 24 years on this planet. He hasn’t even tried to aggressively end my life since March!” Little does Trisket’s human know that Trisket is simply conserving energy while coping with the insidious heatwave. The well-mannered mounts of summer have come alive with barometer drops and blustery days. An October leaf to the face is translated as straight-up nuclear fallout, and the resulting fart-snort-buck-repeat McMeltdown is a telenovela worthy performance.
Soon enough, Trisket will return to his roots as a 1,200-pound flailing horse-kite on a chain shank at the first detection of a pumpkin-spiced latte.
In addition to the pumpkin-spice life, fall also brings the Halloween season. It’s the time of year when we’re expected to face everything we’re afraid of and celebrate it. For non-horse-human civilians, it’s witches, ghouls and goblins, the zombie apocalypse, clowns, taxes, etc., but equestrians, well, we have our own unique list of irrational fears. So do the animals we love. I encourage you to use those horse-human fears to inspire your 2020 costume choices. DIY is trending, so here are some custom costume ideas tailored to the crafty or financially crippled equestrians of 2020 this our year, Lady of the Apocalypse.
Who needs to cut holes in a perfectly good bed sheet to be a frightful phantom? Know what’s really horrifying? Plastic bags blowing in a gentle breeze. Just make sure you cut holes in that white trash sack before placing it over your head and walking into the barn.
Dress up like a vet bill. Or better yet, just take all those old vet bills and envelopes, glue them all over your body, and when some poor idiot at the Halloween party asks, “Well what are you supposed to be?” you answer, “DESPAIR, Greg, I’m dressed as despair.” #icebreaker
In the event that the party you attend is hosting a costume contest, and you feel like you want to go the authentic costume route, skip the trip to Party City and go for what you know. Just put on your best show clothes and take the worst horse in the barn for a nice fall hack … alone … through the woods … maybe over a sketchy water crossing, by some cows and alpacas … and BAM, after you’ve caught the horse and returned it safely to its stall, put your arm in a sling, Surpassed your bruises and chewed up a Robaxin (you know, to pre-game) VOILA, you are a costume-party-ready authentic equestrian. You’ve embodied what it really means to be a horse-human. You don’t even need to take off your muddy helmet OR remove the twigs and leaves from your hair. Au-then-ticity. If you don’t win first prize, it’s probably because the Robaxin kicked in, and someone called your emergency contact to retrieve you and take you to the hospital. Night, night, little reserve costume champ. You earned it!
Go as a green ribbon mummy! It’s a bold statement that says, “I’m one step above a participation trophy.” Every show kid has a small trunk somewhere filled with them. Don’t lie. Why can’t you throw them away? What is wrong with us? #lifesmysteries
For those nauseatingly in-love couples who want to dress as a pair, spice it up with some role reversal. You be the dead, vacant-eyed horse show spouse, wearing a backpack that can be filled with your choice of a screaming toddler, a small dog or electrolytes. Then just mope around the party like a zombie in its final stages of decay. NAILED IT. Meanwhile, let your better half squeeze into your show clothes and be the ring-ready equestrian just this once. How else are they supposed to know the agony that are ill-fitting tall boots and painted on breeches in social settings? A little perspective can be SUPER beneficial in any relationship. Right? Look, you might break up, what do you want from me?
Obligated to take your children trick-or-treating? Ever wish you had just forgone the procreation route and stuck with horses? For one night a year, you can transform your offspring into the horse of your dreams and not have CPS involved!
Step 1: Procure a horse-colored bed sheet.
Step 2: Purchase one of those off-putting rubber horse masks from Target and put it on your favorite kid.
Step 3: Break the news to your second-favorite child that they will be a horse’s @$$ for Halloween. Pin a mop head to their pants. (The tail. Obviously.) Now tell them to hunch down behind the favored sibling, drape them with the horse-colored bed sheet. Voila, your new horse! Look, it may have the conformation of a dumpster fire, but it’s still better than what you started with. Laugh mercilessly every time someone offers them a carrot over a KitKat. You needed this. Sip wine from your coffee mug.
Fellow horse comrades, I leave you with this brief DIY Halloween sentiment:
May your glue guns be hot, your vet bills be paid, your ribbons recycled, and show spouse get … (You can fill in the blank. This is a family blog. I think.)
Alice Peirce was raised as a self-described “feral horse farm child” in Howard County, Maryland. She’s made efforts to leave the horse world over the years but always comes back and has worked for a number of people in various disciplines. Currently, she manages a farm in Butler, Maryland, and hunts with the Green Spring Valley Hounds. She’s also responsible for foaling and raising the Twitter sensation foal who can’t roll “Cyrus The Virus.” #rollcyrusroll! Read all of Alice’s blogs.