For the horse enthusiest

The backyard rider:
Usually found wearing shorts and sports bra in summer, and flannel
nightgown, muck boots and down jacket in winter. Drives a Ford Tempo
filled with saddle blankets and dog hair. Most have deformed toes on
one or the other foot from being stepped on in thin Keds sneakers.
Pulls a two-horse bumper-pull trailer stored behind the barn, used
for hay storage. Her horse, Snookums, sports a hand-cut (with
scissors) bridle path; duct tape holds a shoe on until the farrier
gets by next month. Overheard frequently: “It’s too hot/cold/wet/dry
to ride.”

The endurance rider:
Wears Lycra tights in wild neon colors. The shinier the better, so
the EMT’s can find her body when her horse dumps her down a ravine.
Wears hiking shoes of some sort, and T-shirts she got for paying $75
to complete another torturous ride. Her horse, Al Kamar Shazaam,
used to be called “you b&$t&rd” until he found an owner as hyper as
he. Can spook at a blowing leaf, spin a 360 and not lose his big
trot rhythm or give an inch to the horse behind him. Has learned to
eat, drink, pee and drop to his resting pulse rate on command; he
has compiled 3,450 AERC miles– with his rider compiling 3,445–
the missing five miles are the ones when he raced down the trail
without his rider after performing his trademark 360. Over-heard
frequently: “Anyone have Advil?” “Anyone got some food? I think last
year’s Twinkies finally went bad.” “For this pain I spend
money?” “Shazaam, you b&$t&rd– it’s just a leaf [thud]!”

The natural horsemanship devotee:
Looks like a throwback from a Texas ranch, despite the fact that he
lives in the suburbs of New Jersey. Rope coiled loosely in hand in
case he needs to herd any of those kids on roller-blades away from
his F-350 dually in the WalMart parking lot. Cowboy hat
strategically placed, and just dirty enough to look cool. Levi’s are
well worn. “Lightning” is, of course, this natural horsemanship
guy’s horse. Rescued from a bad home where he was never imprinted or
broke in the natural horsemanship way, he specialized in running
down his owners at feeding time, knocking children off his back on
low-hanging branches, and baring his teeth baring his teeth to look
mean. The hospitalization tally for his previous handlers was 12,
until he was sent to Round Pen Randy; after ten minutes in said pen,
he is now a totally well-broke horse, bowing to the crowd, and can
put on his own splint boots (with R.P. Randy’s trademark logo
embossed on them). R.P.R. says, of all this, “Well, shucks ma’am,
tweren’t nuthin’!” “It’s simple horsemanship.” “With this special
twirly flickitatin’ rope ($17.95 plus tax), you’ll be
round-pennin’ like me in no time!”

The dressage queen:
Is freshly coiffed and dressed. Diamond stud earrings are elegant and
stately, and not so large that they blind the judge during her
passage-piaffe movements. $30 dollar denim jumper is worn over $300
full-seat white breeches and custom Koenigs. Her horse,
Fleistergeidelsprundheim (“Fleistergeidel” for short) is a 17.3-hand
warmblood who was bred to make Grand Prix in a European nation where
his sellers are still laughing hysterically when they talk about ‘zat
crazy American.’ Despite being runty, his new owner fell in love
with his lofty gaits, proud carriage and tremendous athleticism.
Never mind that this talent was not revealed until he was chased by
a rabid fox, and has not been repeated since.

The hunter/jumper competitor:
Is in a wide-striped polo shirt and beige breeches. The polo is so
folks will know they’re a jumper rider until they put on their shirt
and stock tie. Baseball cap is mandatory after a ride, in order to
exhibit free advertising for that trainer’s stable for which they’ve
forked over a mere grand or so per month. Her horse, Neverbeenraced,
is a prime example of American Thoroughbred. The coat is deep bay,
no markings, a textbook TB head (no jowl), and no unusual
conformational characteristics other than crooked legs. Perfect, just
perfect. The gelding has learned to count strides all by himself,
and asks in midair which lead his mistress would like to land on

The Eventer:
Is always hunched over. Bent forward under the load, it’s from
carrying three saddles, three bridles, three bits, and all related
color-coordinated gear to every three-day event on the East Coast,
or it could possibly be a defensive stance for protecting his/her
wallet, which is, of course, nearly empty after buying three
saddles, three bridles, three bits and all that color-coordinated
gear. Looked down on by the H/J set as “people who just run their
horses at fences” and by the dressage queens as “not pure dressage
riders,” eventers are smugly convinced that they are in fact the
only people in the world who CAN ride, since the H/J’s don’t jump
real fences and the dressage queens don’t ride real horses. One
popular horse, Fastnhighasican, is a Thoroughbred track reject who
had never won (or placed) in a single race. Perfect eventer! He has
two speeds: gallop and stop’n'dump, which are used at his discretion
for all three phases of eventing. His favorite stunt is performed at
cross-country water obstacles where his rider invariably stands up
slimed in waist-deep in murky pond water and threatens to sell him
to Fleistergeidel’s owner. Called “Hi-ass” for short, Fastnhighasican
delights in another hilarious speed variation, the
imfreeandyoucantcatchmegallop, a real crowd-pleaser. It brings down
the house when he stops and licks the Crisco off his legs before
continuing on to the merciless telephone-pole jump just ahead.

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