I hate winter, but I hate spring even more. At least during the winter, I have a valid excuse to bundle the horses up in seven blankets a piece, park them in front of all the round bales they can eat, and hibernate in my house under the mantra “It’s so damn cold out!” and feel relatively guilt-free about doing so. People don’t judge you for hiding inside when there’s frozen tundra on the other side of the front door, because they’re doing the exact same thing. Unless they happen to have a heated barn and indoor arena at their disposal, in which case they post stupid selfie after stupid selfie of themselves and their horses being all warm, fuzzy, cozy, and productive in their training. And the rest of us hate them for it.
Anyway, I hate winter, but to me, spring is much MUCH worse. Spring brings sunshine. Sunshine brings the thaw. The thaw brings mud. I hate mud. Mud means that no matter how warm and sunny it is outside, my feet are cold and wet because those great boots I bought on sale in January are no longer waterproof, and, damnit, there’s another puddle that I end up shin-deep in because puddles apparently eat Thoroughbreds. Try as I might, there’s no convincing this stupid horse that walking THROUGH the puddle does not mean that puddle monsters will painfully devour her from the hooves up and consequently turn her into a pony. Leaping sideways and dragging me into the middle of aforementioned puddle is clearly the only way to handle this situation.
Spring means that all of my fellow horse owners are getting a jump on their show season schooling, their trail rides, their pasture-seeding, and I’m over here trying to figure out how to lure an ornery old Appaloosa mare to the pasture gate without actually having to let go of the post I’m clinging to, because if I take one more step in, the mud WILL suck my boots off of my feet. Evidently, this wonderful new property we have has drainage capabilities comparable somewhere between Louisiana Bayous and the Florida Everglades. I’m certain we already have mosquitoes. Completely ignoring the fact that the entire property features a grade that makes it nearly impossible to construct an arena or erect a barn without bringing in massive amounts of site-prep equipment, apparently this “grade” isn’t enough to drain anything to the point of being considered usable. This is bullshit.
Unfortunately for me, my hatred for spring and the accompanying mud is matched equally by my love of a long, thick, beautiful tail on a show horse. Yes, I have a garden-variety of tail extensions in my arsenal of show tools, but there’s something so gratifying about a gorgeous natural tail on your horse that leaves everyone wondering how the hell you got it that way. This past fall, a friend on Facebook finally shared her secret to her “Holy Crap!” tails on her horses: The Polo Knot. She shared a video and within two days, I was outside with conditioner, VetWrap, and a lot of concentration trying to balance my iPhone on the back of my horse’s ass while trying to watch the YouTube video and mimic what they did. It worked. For a while, anyway. Practice makes perfect though, right? By the fifth horse, I’d finally figured out how to perfect the knot, wrap it tightly, and make sure that those tails were tucked away high and clean to be left there all winter, fully expecting them to come out in the spring and cascade to the ground like a Herbal Essences commercial.
Fast forward four months, and today I found myself ankle-deep in mud chasing the back end of my stupid Thoroughbred back and forth as we played our favorite game: “YOU’RE GOING TO EAT MY TAIL!”-Keep-Away. She was the only one of the five to still have her tail wrapped from the original attempt back in December, a clear testament to my ability to do anything right. Because of the mud, and the fact that show season isn’t that far away, I decided then and there to re-wrap all five horses in hopes of trying to preserve what tails they had, and maybe have enough there in a few months to successfully hide an extension in.
Now, my original wrapping experience was back in December, and I knew there’d be no way in hell that I’d find that original YouTube video, taking thirty seconds to search for it just wasn’t in the plans either. I decided to redo the polo knots from memory. It couldn’t be that hard right? I knew there was a three-piece braid in there to start with, pull out a small piece at the top to twist with before you start the big braid…braid a little, fold, split the three pieces into two, fold them back and forth a few times around the big braid…some twisting…some turning…wrap with VetWrap and voila! Couldn’t be that hard at all! I mean, hell, if I could remember all of that, but I couldn’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning, CLEARLY I knew what I was doing. Video schmideo….I had this handled. It wouldn’t take more than five minutes per horse, tops. I’d be done in half an hour and could go start dinner.
Two and a half hours later, as I finished up Cleveland’s tail and realized that I have horrible time-management skills, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that these stupid polo knots just didn’t look right. I kept looking out in the field and figured that if the four other horses’ tails all looked exactly the same, just like this one, I must have done it right, but….I just didn’t remember the ones last fall looking like this. It wasn’t until I pulled out the black VetWrap for Cleveland’s tail and finished the roll that I looked down at his tail in my hand and it hit me…
….Oh my god…My horses have dildos for tails…
Bright pink, two neon green tails, a purple, and now this gigantic monster of a black one. My pasture looked like a Lover’s Lane store. I'm sure that the small population of porn-star horse-owners would be proud, but I am clearly the Worst. Horsemom. Ever. A quick holler up to Pat in the barn elicited an eruption of laughter from him and a confirmation that even a non-horseperson could recognize what I’d done. I have no idea how I managed to do it once, let alone five times without realizing what I was making, and I’m certain that if Sigmund Freud were alive, he’d have a field day and would come up with a very complicated explanation centered around my subconscious desire for a vibrant-colored horse-sized device or some crazy shit like that. I can assure everyone that I get quite enough action in that department, no toys necessary, thank you very much. I really just have no idea what happened there…in hindsight, I probably should have searched YouTube for the instructional video.
After realizing that anyone that looks at my horses distinctly-colored tails would wonder just what in the hell goes on here, (seeing as the occupied pasture is along a main road), I had to make the decision. Do I chase down all five horses immediately and rewrap them one by one? It was getting dark and I knew I wasn’t going to have that kind of time. In the end, I decided to leave them in all of their phallic-shaped-tail glory and take care of it during the week as time allows. Screw it, we’re new to the neighborhood, we should probably just give everyone something to wonder about right off the bat so the crazy shit we do doesn’t come as such a shock.
Worst. Horsemom. Ever.