Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fashion Sense and the Contents of My Console

Note: Have been experiencing technical difficulties due to the weather - sorry for the delay!

Our recent snowstorm has left me housebound with lots of time to think and reflect - always a dangerous thing. I'm pretty active by nature, and being cooped up in my rather small abode does not lead to much good. Luckily, I was saved from self-destruction by a nice long chat with my very dearest friend, Cat. A four hour chat to be exact.

Long before Chef came into my life, Cat proved to me that a non-horse person could in fact live harmoniously with a horse person. When we first met, she told me she had once ridden a pony at the state fair and that was about the extent of her horse experience. Yet there was enough of a connection between us that we became roommates, and remained so for seven years. Face it - any person that you can live with for seven years who is not your relative or spouse is truly a friend for life, a soul sister. That is who Cat is to me, the closest thing to a sister I have ever had.

I think it was the boots that sealed our friendship. When Cat and I first began living together I was still in college and very active on the intercollegiate equestrian team. I was going to school full time, working part time, and riding every moment in between. Often that meant riding early in the mornings before class, and more often than not actually going to class still in my boots and breeches. Lucky for me at the time the "Equestrian Look" was making a comeback in the fashion world and I did not get too many strange looks. In fact, most of my college friendships began in this way:

Random Student: "Hi! Where did you get that darling outfit?"

Me: "Ummm...the tack store."

RS: "Which mall is that at? I don't know that one. It must be new."

Of course, this infatuation with my attire usually only lasted a week or so until RS realized that I came to class like that every day; eventually she would sit close enough to realize that it was more than just a "look". At that point the conversation would shift slightly.

RS: "So, did you go riding today?"

Me: "Ummm....yeah."

RS: "So what, do you ride EVERY day??"

Me: "Ummm... yeah."

Random Student would eventually move to a seat out of odor range, and such was the end of that friendship.

Cat was different right from the start. Although she too shared a fascination with my wardrobe (and did actually borrow my boots from time to time because "they would be soooo cute with this outfit!!), she really made an attempt to understand my lifestyle. She would watch Spruce Meadows with me and made a genuine effort to comprehend what was going on. Once she cleaned my tack and ironed my show clothes for me because I had a term paper due (overdue) and was leaving the next day at zero-dark-thirty for a show. That is friendship you can't put a price tag on.

Still, some aspects of my horse life were just beyond her. One incident in particular I remember. We were in my car and she was digging in my console looking for a pen or some such normal thing. Suddenly she pulled out an object, and the conversation that followed went something like this:

Cat: "What the heck is this thing?"

Me: "A hoof pick"

Cat: "A what?"

Me: "Hoof pick."

Cat: "What do you do with it?"

Me: "You clean out a horse's hoofs with it."

Cat: "Why would you need to do that?"

Of course, it had never occured to me that a person would NOT know that a horse's hooves needed regular cleaning. At this point in my life, I was only beginning to understand that my habits seemed somewhat weird to those who were not, despite their parents' proclamations, actually raised in a barn. Still, her next question took me by surprise:

Cat: "Why is it in your console?"

I mean, who doesn't keep a hoof pick in their car's console? Perhaps there was something to this "horse people are weird" thing. Throughout the rest of our journey, and many more later on, Cat conducted an in depth investigation of my car's contents.

Cat: "What is this?"

Me: "Boot pull."

Cat: "What does it...never mind. Is this a hairnet???"

Me: "Yes."

Cat: "What do you need a hairnet for?"

Me: "How do you keep your hair neat under your helmet?"

Cat: "Ummm...I don't!"

Me: "Too bad. A helmet would really accentuate the riding boots you are wearing, but only if your hair were properly contained."

And so on and so forth. Let's just say Cat learned a great deal of her horse knowledge by rummaging through the console of my car.

Still, the years have passed, and miles are now between us. Yet the strange and wonderful friendship we developed for whatever reason survives - enough to warrent four hour chats from time to time.

And when we do get together, she still wants to borrow my boots. And I have to admit, they do look pretty cute.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter Olympics = Very Cool, But Where Are the Horses??

Don't get me wrong. I love the Winter Olympics. Skiing, snowboarding, speed skating, bobsled, figure skating (can't say that I really care for that ice dancing stuff, but to each his own).

Still...the winter version is severely lacking in equine events.

Not that it really matters. Face it, unless you are lucky enough to actually be there or are paying for Super-Ultra-Premium-Cable/Satellite ($89.95/month where we you know how many carrots that would buy??), you will never see a horse at the Summer Games either. OK, maybe you will if you happen to be up at 2 AM. And have ESPN14. But that is a whole other post.

I supposed the lack of equine presence in the Winter Games has a lot to do with the fact that no one has come up with an exiting thing to do with horses that also involves snow and ice. I have racked my brain, and these are the (sorry) best events I could come up with:

Water Trough Ice Toss: Participants are timed clearing water troughs of ice; bonus points awarded for the furthest toss of ice chunks into the woods.

Blanket Race: First person to finish blanketing 6 horses (buckles securely fastened) without losing a finger to frostbite wins.

Frozen Turd Shot Put: Self explanitory

Well House to Barn Bucket Relay: Participants must fill 12 water buckets in the stalls by navigating slippery path between well house and barn.

OK OK... so none of these would get prime time coverage, but are any of them really any worse than Curling?

Two things got me thinking on this track tonight: 1) they are calling for snow here this weekend and 2) I'm watching the Winter X Games Snowmobiling Freestyle event. And I have issues with it.

Before anyone gets all up in arms, I truly admire these snowmobilers. It takes a lot of athleticisim and - well - cajones to do what they do. That's not the issue. My problem is with the fact that they are competing on a course where the jumps themselves have no snow on them whatsoever! Seriously. There is snow all around, and they land on a snowy surface, but they are launching off jumps that are basically man made slick inclines. They could just as easily do this on a course manufactured in Miami.

Could we not hold show jumping in a snowy location, mountains in the background and piles of the white stuff piled around the perimeter, and call it a winter sport too?? Just saying.

I suppose there is always hope for skijoring.

I'm not really sure that this qualifies as an equestrian event. Still, anyone crazy and weird enough to try it is OK in my book.

Until someone comes up with a better idea, I'll just have to wait two years, save up $89.95, and set my DVR to start recording at 2 AM.

Such is the life weirdo.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

SWF Seeks Chef for LTR. Must Like Horses

Now that the flood scare is out of the way, back to business! I've given you a brief introduction to Mom, and to Legs. Now it only stands to reason that I introduce you to my other-significant-other. We'll call him Chef because...well, he's a chef.

Here's a pic of Chef in action:

I know he's hot, but back off ladies...he's taken!

I mentioned in a previous post that horse people and non-horse people seldom co-habitate well. There are some exceptions to this rule: Chef and I have been happily married for 7 years and, interestingly enough, although he is an animal lover he is not technically a horse person. Yet here we are.

Recently, Chef got an email from a mutual chef friend of ours who is unfortunately going through a divorce. When Chef broke the news to me, it launched a discussion on just how many of our chef friends are now divorced. Quite a few, I'm sad to say. A surprising number of chefs we know - male and female - find themselves married to people who just don't "get" their lifestyle.

Turns out, chefs are weird too.
Face it, anyone who can carry on a 20 minute monologue on the virtues of demi glaze is pretty tweaked in the noggin.

Lengthy locutions on cuisine aside, here is a brief list of other chef-weirdnesses:
  1. Nine to five is a concept they have heard of, but never lived.
  2. Holidays and weekends just mean they work harder.
  3. A "day off" consists of calling in orders from home.
  4. Mise en place. (If you do not know what that is, it has obviously not taken over your kitchen at home. God forbid you touch or move anything!)
  5. Certain pans are not washed, they are seasoned.
  6. "I'll be home by nine" usually means 11. Or 12. Or whenever the last table finishes their brandy and dessert. Really it means, "I'll be done when I'm done."
Needless to say, it takes a great deal of patience and understanding to be married to a chef.

This whole conversation got me thinking about how many marriages may have failed due to one partner's horsiness. I don't have any statistics to back it up, but I'm afraid the number might be quite high. Really...if you had to choose between your spouse and your horse, what would your decision be?

Could the secret to a successful marriage be not just compatibility, but a compatible level of weirdness?

Which got me thinking further (always a dangerous thing): Perhaps there needs to be a dating site where chefs and horse people connect!

Here are my top five reasons why horse people and chefs make a great match:
  1. Chefs work long, strange hours, and are not likely to comment on a horse person's long, strange hours.
  2. Not being home for dinner much, they hardly expect a meal to be on the table at 7 PM, meaning: one can stay at the barn as late as he or she wants.
  3. Stinky, dirty clothes rarely raise an eyebrow. (Have you ever gotten a whiff of a chef after a 14 hour day? 'Nuff said.)
  4. Weekends = Free Time!!! Go on to that show/event/trail ride...he or she will probably never notice.
  5. Wholesale 20 lb. bags of carrots.
I think I may be on to something here. But what to call it? does not really work at all, for obvious reasons.

I'm open to suggestions here people!


Just a Quick Update...

River came up a bit last night, but barn is dry! Horses out in small paddock today - all the hay they can eat! Zachary is staying in just in case. Some snow showers, but nothing sticking. Looks like we will be OK!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dodging the Flood - I Hope!

Wow. What a difference a month makes! I mentioned earlier that the pretty little farm that Legs calls home is not so pretty under water - this is what I mean.

This photo was taken during our last evacuation back in September:

Don't worry. We have a lovely pasture just across the road that our neighbors let us use when it gets this bad (usually only once every 2 or 3's been a rough stretch). Here is a shot of Dusty and Skylar (Legs' stable mates) in their temporary home:

Note the water line on my jeans. I had to wade across a "stream" that was once road to get to them. The funny thing is that the news crew was there doing a story on the dangers of crossing water flooded roads. I kinda walked through right in the middle of the broadcast :o) Oh well...just weird like that.

The French Broad River valley that we call home is really a beautiful place. Most of the time. Just a month ago we looked like this:

Still, it can get ugly. Recent heavy rains and warmer temps resulting in the snow melting has turned the ole French Broad into a ranging bitch again (sorry for the profanity, but she really makes me mad sometimes). V and I didn't sleep well last night, checking the NOAA hydrograph every few hours. The pasture will get wet at 18'. At 20' the barn goes under. As of last night NOAA was calling for a crest at 18.5' by 7:00 tonight.

Just got home from the barn...water water everywhere. BUT the barn is dry. And, the latest river update has it cresting at 19' in just
about an hour. V will call with an update then, but looks like we will be fine. Which is great, because we have another concern with flooding. Our newest addition to the barn is a 6 month old mini-donkey, Zachary.

He probably CAN swim, but we'd rather not test that theory.

The horses, however, are having a ball! Legs is a bit of a water baby, and V reported he has been splashing all day. I'll try to get some video's a hoot when he gets going! Took me forever to get him dry enough to get his blanket on tonight, because guess what - they are calling for snow showers tonight! I can deal with rain/flooding, I can deal with snow, but both at once??? Come on, Momma Nature! Cut us some slack here.

Such is the price of living in paradise.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Good News! Complete With (Some) Promised Background...

I am very happy to report some excellent news! Mom is back in the saddle after a 5 month hiatus. Poor thing has been laid up with a compound fracture due to - surprise - being kicked by a horse! Not hers; she was riding at the time with some friends and just came between a hoof and it's intended target.

After initially refusing surgery (Quote: "I'm tough and I heal quickly")she finally relented and had a rod put in on December 4. She had her final appointment with her orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday, whose exact words were, "Take your drugs and use the leg. Get back to normal". Normal for her, of course, includes riding, so that is exactly what she did.

I could literally feel her smile over the phone.

So, I guess now is as good a time as any to tell you a bit more about Mom. I mentioned in a previous post that she, too, is weird. And not just because she is a horse person, but that is a whole other post. But the story of how she partnered with her current equine companion, Miss Mary, just proves how crazy we all are.

Now in her 60s, Mom is technically retired from the horse biz. But when a friend of hers who breeds Morgans asked for some help breaking a young filly, Mom was all too happy to help out. Her Thoroughbred T-Bird was getting up there in years and she welcomed a new challenge.

Weird side note: here is Mom, T-Bird and I having a bit of fun. He was a great soul who passed peacefully just this past year, and we miss him terribly.

But I digress. Mom and her friend took Mary through the ropes: round pen, ground driving, bomb proofing, and eventually got on her and began ring work before ultimately introducing her to Mom's discipline of choice: trail riding. Though she was raised on Saddlebreds and Hackneys, and came into Hunters when I took an interest in jumping, Mom liked the spunk and intelligence of this young Morgan mare. And, at 15.1 hands, she was a better "fit" for an "old lady" (Mom's words, not mine. Truthfully, if you knew Miss Mary you would agree with me that she is more of a mid-life crisis sports car than an old lady mount!).

Time passed. With T-Bird ready to retire, it only stood to reason that Mom spent more and more time on Mary and less and less on T-Bird. Though she still took him out for short hacks a few times a week, Mary was her mount of choice for longer rides. And Mary's owner was only too happy to oblige as it gave her someone else to ride with. A win-win situation all around.

Early October, 2004: Mom and her buddies planned a ride out in Dawson Forest, a favorite spot just an hour or so from where they live in North Georgia. The weather had been crappy; Hurricane Ivan had just passed through a few weeks before. That weekend's forecast looked beautiful, and the group was ready to get out and RIDE!

An hour or so down the trail they came upon a large tree across the path, obviously a victim of the recent storm. It was too high to jump, and too low to go under, but upon investigation there appeared to be a path about 4' wide between the upturned roots of the tree and a drainage ditch. Hooray! A way around. The first few riders passed through single file with no problem.

Mary was still pretty green at this point, but generally had a lot of faith in Mom's judgement. Still, as they passed the root ball something struck her as funny and she took a few steps back. Towards the ditch, whose lip suddenly gave way.

Mary slid backward down the embankment, and in trying to regain her footing managed to push herself over backward. On top of Mom. They came to a stop upside down in the bottom of the ditch, which was much narrower than the top. In a blink Mom was pinned under Mary, one leg trapped between the horse and the side of the ditch, with only a few inches of space between her back and the ground. Mary was stuck, legs in the air, unable to right herself. And there they stayed - for three hours.

Two of Mom's buddies rode off looking for help, which they found in - ironically - an off duty mounted patrol unit running drills in the forest. One of the ladies who stayed was a yoga instructor, who took Mom through some breathing and calming exercises. When the mounted patrol unit finally got to her, they were baffled as well. But persistence pays off, and they were able to - finally, using just brute strength - pull Mary over and free Mom.

Both Mom and Mary were sore and bruised, but miraculously escaped serious injury. Mom bought Mary the next week.

The non-horsey set in Mom's life - including my Dad - were surprised at her decision. Those of us who know horses understand better.

Throughout their ordeal, Mary - despite being young and green - never panicked. Had she freaked out and struggled, as horses usually do in situations where escape is impossible, Mom surely would have been crushed. There was just something about this little, spunky, level-headed mare that you don't find in every horse.

Us weirdos get that.

Happy trails, Mom and Mary.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

To the Lady Who Inched Further Away From Me In Line At The Store

I can't say that I blame you. I must have been a sight, especially considering the perfection of your appearance.

From your impeccable coif to your manicured nails to your (I'm assuming) designer suit and shoes, you were a vision of businesswoman loveliness. Even your cart screamed class. Did I see goat cheese in there?

And then there was me.

I have to admit that I was looking a bit rough. A recent warm front had melted off a lot of the snow we got in December and brought rain too, making the barn particularly mucky. I guess I could have at least scraped my boots off better, though there really was not much I could have done about the splatter across my jeans. Legs sometimes likes to splash on his way into the barn. He's a big, playful boy and can't help it.

I did actually wash my hands before I headed out. Well, I rinsed them in the water trough. And then dried them on my muddy jeans. The dirt under my nails I had planned to take care of once I got home.

Although I couldn't see it, I'm quite certain there was hay in my hair. Probably not any more than usual. And that green stain on my shirt...just a bit of horse slobber.

So I was looking a little less than perfect, and I may have smelled a like a barn (though I've never really understood why people find that offensive). However, I would like to point out that dirt is not contagious; short of me hugging you there was little danger of my filth contaminating your person.

I wasn't exactly offended that you moved away. Still, you could have been a bit less obvious about it.

I hope you enjoy your goat cheese.


Sunday, January 17, 2010


One of the best things about horse people coming together is that it gives us an opportunity to discuss topics near and dear to our hearts. Like baling twine. Face it, non-horse people just do not get how wonderful baling twine can be. Most of those poor souls probably have no idea what baling twine is or understand how incomplete their lives are with out it.

If you're anything like me (and if you're reading this blog you probably are) baling twine has come to your rescue on more than one occasion. I myself have often been tempted to yell out for all the world to hear just how grateful I am that baling twine exists. But how to sing its praises in a way that even non-horse people could relate to?

Of course. An infomercial!

Introducing....TwineWow! The most versatile product in the world!!
Are you tired of paying hardware store prices for rope? Is there never a bungee cord when you need one? TwineWow! solves all your barn, household and-yes-even beauty issues!

Need to hang a bucket in a place where traditional bucket hooks won't work? TwineWow! instantly adjusts to suit any fence, post, or rail!

Oh No! Your horse broke his halter and the tack store just closed! Don't panic...wrap TwineWow! around the broken piece and it will hold it together safely for as long as you need it! It's that simple!

TwineWow! makes an easy to use and decorative door pull for sticky feed room doors!

Not just for the barn, you will find literally hundreds of uses for TwineWow! in and around your home!

Worried about kids and pets getting into cabinets? Why pay more for complicated locking devices that are impossible to install? Just a few twists of TwineWow! and your cabinets are secure!

Long hair can be a pain, always getting in your face. And who has time to look for a clip or hair tie? TwineWow! is right there for you when you need it most. Just like that!

We are so convinced that TwineWow! will change your life that we are offering it
absolutely FREE with purchase of any standard square hay bale!

But wait...there's MORE!

Order your hay now and we will include not one, but TWO strands of TwineWow! at no additional cost!

Now available in "Traditional Twine" ...

...or "Hunter Green"!

See what I'm telling ya? TwineWow! You'll be saying Wow every time!

PG (told you I was weird)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Read My Legs, or Why This Weirdo Doesn't Ride...Much

Newsflash...I love horses. And I love to ride. For many, many years, riding was the sole intent and purpose of my existence. Now, although horses still figure into my life, riding is not so important.

In my previous post, I gave you a brief overview of my childhood as a "barn brat". But (and I really hope this does not harm our new friendship) I was not completely honest with you.

Don't freak out. It's not what you think.

Remember the picture of the cute kid and her equally cute gray pony? Well, that is me, and that is Daisy, but she wasn't exactly my "first" pony. Until a few years ago, she was my ONLY pony. The only one I could truly call my own. In 30 some odd years.

It's true that with Mom in the horse biz I rode a lot, but I rode "Other People's Horses". Boarders' horses, trainers' horses, and of course, the sale horses. Lots and lots of sale horses. Technically, a significant number of these belonged to Mom, or whatever farm she was working for, but the thing about sale horses is they generally come and go so quickly it hardly matters who "owns" them; these horses were not mine to keep.

Don't get me wrong. For a long time I was OK with this arrangement. I got to hang out at the barn all day and ride as much as I wanted, and several of these temporary horses still hold a very special place in my heart. For many years after I went out on my own, I had every intention of keeping things this way.

And then, as sometimes happens, things change.

That's when I met Legs. I'd like you to meet him too.

Read My Legs
a.k.a. "Legs",or sometimes "Leg Man"

Eventually I will get around to telling you about how I got from there to here, but it's my blog and I'm not ready yet. Besides, the rest of this story will take a while. Bear with me.

When my husband and I moved to a very small community in Western North Carolina seven years ago, I immediately memorized the equine population inhabiting numerous small farms lining our road. (Weird Alert: It took me weeks to remember the name of that road, still longer to learn my new phone number, but those horses I knew on sight within days.) A very pretty little barn on the river really caught my eye, and one day when I was driving past I saw a truck parked out front and did what any weirdo would do: I stopped and introduced myself. That's how I met my good friend V, who ultimately would lead me to Legs.

Turns out V was the postmaster in our town, and a very handy person to know when you were new to the area. I took to talking with her often, stopping by her barn more and more. This was during a strange period in my life that I think of as "The Void"; for the first time in my memory, I was completely horseless. More on that later - promise.

One day I was at the post office and V mentioned that she had a "sorta new boarder", a 13 year old off-track thoroughbred that had lived with her before his owner moved to Florida, but now was back. Apparently, Florida did not agree with him. His owner, however, was newly married and had to stay, so V agreed to look after him.

At this point, V and I had known each other for a while. She knew a bit of my history and that I had experience with OTTBs. She told me about Legs and said she thought Florida Owner would be OK with me riding him some in exchange for helping to take care of him. Had I known then what all that would wouldn't have changed a thing.

Legs has a long and somewhat sordid past which, again, I promise I will get to.

V quietly let me know as I was tacking up for that first ride that he had a history of bolting, both with Florida and his previous-previous owner, whom V also knew. We stayed in the ring that day, kept it low and slow. Despite the brevity of that first ride, a few things were immediately apparent:

  1. At 13, Legs did not know much; he was track-broke at best.
  2. Despite not always knowing what I was asking for, he was incredibly receptive and attentive to me.
  3. He had some pep in his step.
  4. He was just my type (Note: one of the many benefits of riding a lot of different horses is that you know right away when you are going to really click with one).

Plus, he was just so darn sweet! I guess it was the equine equivalent of people locking eyes across a crowded at first ride. I believe in it, and all you true weirdos know what I am talking about. It was life altering - in one short ride I went from "The Void" to once again having a horse in my life. And at that time, boy did I need it.

As with any budding relationship, there were some concerns. First of all, his feet. Cursed by breeding, Legs' feet were not in great shape to begin with. And, from the look of those feet when we first met, he had not had any help with that issue in a while. To a non-horse person, they probably looked fine. But the poor thing was so saucer-footed he was basically walking on his frogs. Inadequate shoeing will do that. He would get footsore after just a short hack. I was lucky that V knew a very good farrier who had track experience; he knew well how to deal with those feet, although we both knew it would be a process.

Then there was the eye issue.

It seems that the proverbial straw that sent Legs back to NC was an injury to his eye that went untreated. It wasn't Florida's fault; she traveled quite a bit for work and trusted the people she boarded him with to take care of things. They didn't, and Florida packed him off to her trusted friend V. A visit from our vet confirmed that while the eye was currently healthy, he was losing vision in it and it was only a matter of time before it would shut down completely and have to be removed.

Did I really need to take on a half lame, half broke, half sighted horse?

The answer, ultimately, was YES!

You see, I really did need him. At the time I was working a high energy, high stress job. Although time-wise I could not ride much, Legs couldn't take much riding anyway. And, because of that job, sometimes I just really needed to pet a horse; Legs was always willing. Just being with him made all the stress and issues melt away. Plus, for only the second time in 30-some odd years, I had a horse of my own. I felt like that cute kid in the picture again and I really, really liked it.

Legs and I have been through a lot. He saw me through a number of those crises that pop up from time to time in life; working through his issues gave me a Zen-like release from that other void-world. On his end there was a colic scare, a few major floods requiring evacuation(that pretty farm on the river is not so pretty under 8 feet of water), stitches, an abscess or two. Oh, and that eye has been removed.

Seven years later, Legs is 21. His feet are in much better shape, but his long track career has taken its toll. He's sound to hack around some and we take an occasional trail ride, but not much else. Sometimes I just hop on him bareback and take a stroll by the river. Those are my favorite days.

The truth is he's given me so much more than a few good rides.

When people find out that I have a horse, the first question is usually "Do you ride much?". And when I answer "No" I smile, because I'm OK with that.

And if a smiling response makes me weird to them, I'm OK with that too.

I love you, Leg Man.


Friday, January 15, 2010


Greetings and welcome to Horse People Are Weird, a blog for all of us who embrace that weirdness! You know who you are. My name is Bonnie, but you can call me Pony Girl.

No, seriously. I want you to. Here's why:

  1. I'm new to this blogging thing and a little apprehensive about it.
  2. I am a 30-something female. When The Outsiders first came out I was absolutely convinced I should have been named Pony Girl, and this may be my only chance at that.
  3. See picture below. That's me at age 7 with my first pony, Daisy. I really was a pony girl!

Agreed? Pony Girl it is. We're going to get along just fine.

Let me tell you a little about why I started this blog. As you probably guessed, I am a horse person; I have been told that makes me weird. More on that in a minute, but after 30 some odd years of being a horse person, I'm inclined to agree.

I come by it honestly. My mom is a horse person. She too is weird, although I'm not sure that it is necessarily because of her horsieness. (Note: one of the many benefits of following this blog will be an increase in your vocabulary. "Horsieness" may not be found in any traditional dictionary, but it should be.)

Growing up in South Carolina, Mom worked on a Saddlebred farm to pay for lessons: mucking stalls, feeding, and even breaking Hackney ponies to drive. Eventually she was able to half-lease a pleasure mare, Tar Baby. Here is Mom and Tar Baby at the SC equitation finals:

I'm trying to find the picture of her in her pedal pushers and beehive sitting in a sulky. I think she may have hidden that one from me.

Anyway, Mom grew up, got married, had me, and kind of got out of the horse thing. For a little while. Then when I was about 4 the bug bit me.

Mom got a job at a local farm, and the rest as they say is history. Over the years she had many horsey jobs - riding instructor, barn manager, summer camp counselor. For a while she bought thoroughbreds off the track and retrained them. She even leased her own place when I was in high school, though she gave that up once her primary stall mucker (me) went off to college. She was a tough broad to work for, but it was worth every minute.

Basically I had the greatest childhood ever. I rode every day while Mom taught. Because most of the farms she worked at were large riding academies, I had a great group of horsey friends. And yes, every one of them was weird like me. At the time, perhaps because we were all so like-minded, I had no idea that we were weird. That realization first came to me in college.

I set about applying to colleges with my priorities in order - first criteria was a good riding program. I spent one horrifying semester in the dorms(NOTE: horse people rarely co-habitate well with non-horse people, who have odd hang ups about dirty saddle pads and muddy boots being brought inside, 5 AM alarm clocks, and bits hanging in the shower).

That experiment having failed, I moved into an apartment with two of my equestrian teammates where saddle pads and boots were embraced no matter how filthy they may have been. The apartment was the lower half of a duplex whose upper floor was occupied by three guys, all non-horsey. Although we got along well, these three had a habit of periodically rolling their eyes and proclaiming:

"Horse people are weird."

Any number of very normal activities would produce this response. I could list them here,but that's kind of the point of this blog and I want to leave something for future posts. Let's just say not everyone appreciates the ability to clean tack on the kitchen table while cooking dinner.

Horse people may be weird, but we can multitask.

A few weeks ago I came across a box of photos that I probably meant to scrapbook at some point, meaning I probably went to the barn instead. One of the pictures was the (admit it) insanely cute image of me and Daisy, which got me thinking about how long horses have been in my life and how that has affected me in sometimes strange and profound ways.

Another picture was of me, my two roommates, and the boys upstairs(I would post that one but I would like this to be a family blog and those were some crazy college days). Anyway, that photo got me thinking too and with all those thoughts swirling around at once it hit me.

The boys upstairs were right.

Horse people are weird.

So here I am, a baby blogger trying to connect with other weirdos in this world. Along the way I'll share some stories...hopefully you will share some too..and together we can find comfort and laughter in our perceived weirdness.

I can't really make any promises as to the consistency of this blog; just look what became of the scrapbook. I may not be able to write because I'm at the barn. But if you're weird like me you'll understand that.

Stay Gold!