With the exception of my younger sister (who is a full-time college student and OBVIOUSLY more motivated to graduate than myself, so she doesn’t really even count), I am the only horse-person in my family. This really isn’t a problem, per say, rather I prefer to take the opportunistic approach and think of myself as the smartest person in the room whenever the topic of conversation should involve ANYTHING horse-related. BAM, I win. The real problem arises when I have to do any socializing or try and hold any sort of a conversation with any of my relatives or non-horse-related acquaintances. There's always that awkward silence when none one of us know really what to talk about because they know nothing about horses, and assume that's all my life consists of, and because I just don't care about their lives packed full of t-ball practice and PTA meetings. And then they start with the stupid questions. It doesn't matter if I saw these same people two months ago at a family gathering, its always the SAME stupid questions. It drives me crazy, but because these people are family, I deal with it. I suspect that's why the only time I drink is at family functions.
Horse people have the misfortune of having an attractive hobby that brings a general assortment of stupid questions from the common-folk. Yes, most people probably handle it a little better than I do, but I blame that on my lack of patience and the abundance of stupid people that I come into contact with on a daily basis. Stupid people are drawn to me like a fat kid to a cupcake, I don’t know why, but it’s a fact of life, and I’ve come to accept it. I’ve also come to accept the fact that I can only be nice to someone if I feel they’re NOT stupid nor a waste of my time, otherwise I’m going to toy with them for my own amusement. I’m sure that type of thought process can be diagnosed as some sort of narcissistic disorder, but I don’t care. If I were anything different, I probably wouldn’t have created this blog, and I’d be forced to annoy all of you via text to bitch about the moronic questions I receive every day.
I’m sure the NICE horse people that I know would respond to these questions and statements of ignorance differently, perhaps with some tact and maybe a little more helpfulness, but again, in my book, nice is overrated. Instead, I take the opportunity to craft creative responses to these questions in hopes that I either baffle the person asking them, or make sure they realize what a stupid question they just asked.
“So what do you do with all of your horses? Do you breed them?” Yes, the only thing you can do with a horse, let alone 10+ horses, is breed them. And you see, I have this personal philosophy that if it has a uterus, it should be impregnated (unless of course its me we’re talking about). So yes. I breed every horse that you see in front of you. That fat one over there with the obviously male genitalia hanging out? He’s not obese, he’s pregnant too.
“Do they bite?” Yes, if you stick your fingers in my pasture fence and wiggle them to try and get the damned horse to come to the fence so you can pet it, yes, they’re going to bite you. Then they’ll pull you through the fence and rip you limb from limb Jurassic Park-style. That 12-hand pony is the worst offender. He ate the mailman last week.
“Ohmygosh! That horse is lying down! Is he dead?” Yes, as a matter of fact, it is. And when your children lay down at night, they actually die for 8-12 hours also! Seriously people, didn’t any of you ever watch a National Geographic documentary when you were growing up? Animals lay down to sleep too!
“Look Honey! The little one is being chased by his mommy!” No, dumbass, that pony is getting his ass kicked by the herd boss because he forgot where his place on the pecking order was. Not every small horse is a baby; they make these things called ponies…
“Do you have to like, feed them and pick up their poop?” Nah, hay got expensive so we started tying apples to the dog’s backs and sending them into the pasture after a tennis ball, then we bet on which one comes out alive. It’s actually pretty entertaining. And poop? We don’t worry about poop. If you ignore it long enough, it eventually goes away on its own.
“Can my kids ride one of your horses while we’re here?” Oh I don’t knooooowww; can I sleep with your husband? No? Why not? A quick side note to all non-horse people: Asking someone if you can ride their horse without their offering first is comparable to asking if you can blow their husband or boyfriend. You just don’t do it, period. Buy your kids a three-dollar pony ride at the fair instead and save yourself the embarrassment.
“Oh, you sell horses? How much does a horse go for?” First of all, and trust me on this one, I wouldn’t sell you a horse if you were the last person on the face of this earth, solely for the good of the horse, so does it REALLY matter how much a horse costs? Secondly, how much do YOU make? Same question.
“I rode a horse last year on vacation.” I really have no idea why people say this, but they ALWAYS feel its necessary to tell me they’ve either never rode a horse before, or they tell me when the last time they rode one was, usually followed by some useless piece of information about said experience (the horse’s name, its color, its breed, something like that) like maybe I’ll know the exact horse they rode. I never have any idea what I’m supposed to reply to this with….so I’m going to start with “Oh really? I took a GIGANTIC shit this morning, it felt GREAT!”
“My (Insert various title like ‘friend’, ‘sister’, ‘co-worker’s third cousin twice removed’) in southeast Wyoming rides horses! Do you know her?” Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. You see, horse-people have a secret underground society, which is only revealed to its members upon riding a horse for the 50th time. If you own a horse, you are sent a special phone book every year that has the names and phone numbers of everyone else in the world that has a horse, so you can get together for birthday parties and whatnot. Sometimes, we all get together on Facebook and talk about Tennessee Walkers versus Spotted Saddle Horses and John Lyons versus Pat Parelli.
Then we talk about all of the stupid questions you non-horse-folks ask us.
My boyfriend is not a horse person. He's fantastic, but he's not a horse person, he's a big-truck-and-trailer guy. He'd never been around a horse prior to meeting me, and the poor guy has been such a good sport about it all, I have to give him a lot of credit. He's got two dually pick ups (and no, that's NOT why I started dating him), and he can turn a trailer full of horses around in the tiniest spot imaginable without batting an eye (THAT's why I started dating him). He's good, like REAL good, he can even load and unload horses in the dark now and he's started using my emergency-release knot for everything except tying horses. He's also learned the hard way that trying to catch an evasive OTTB in a pasture-footrace will result in the horse laughing at him while he's panting for breath in the corner. We were sitting on the couch watching TV the other night and I was, as usual, biting my nails. This has been a major point of contention between us. He tells me to stop, I tell him 24 years of biting will not be undone in the time we've been together. I tell him its like cribbing, and that he should just let me do my thing to relieve stress. He says he's getting me a cribbing collar.
He knows what a cribbing collar is. Hell, he knows what CRIBBING is, and he's not a horse person. He also doesn't ask stupid questions.
I think I'm going to have to keep him.