The Girl Scout Motto: Part 2

Be Prepared.

Case in point #3:

Two If By Sea

90 % of the horsewomen I know keep an extra set of riding essentials in their vehicle: breeches or jeans, socks, shirt, jacket…occasionally an extra helmet and boots in the trunk. We’re ready for that riding emergency.

What riding emergency?

Helllooooo.   Sitting in Starbucks, sipping our lattes, minding our own business.  All of a sudden, Paul Revere gallops up, collapses, and says “I can’t go on, my  heart…”

That riding emergency.

We will snatch his lanterns, mount up (first checking his horse’s hydration and heart rate), and then RIDE to save the country from the British.  (Sorry UK, we really like you guys now.)  Fortunately, most of our cell phones have navigators in them, so we can thumb in “bell tower” and get directions to the nearest one while galloping.  You do all text and ride, right?  I thought so.

One If By Land

Shaun beat me to the gym after work. She asked me if I could drop my ipod off, so she’d have some music to sweat by.  (I was on my way home to change.) Rats. I have the iPod with me.  In Shaun’s world, the gym is on the way home.  In my world, I have to double back.  (I don’t know who is right.) I knew if I went to the gym and then home, my body would believe it had already worked out, and fall into a state of zombie-like inertia.  Gym?  What gym?


I run the ipod into the gym.  Shaun thanks me profusely.

On the way back to the car, my inner drill sergeant says: Jane!  In 15 minutes you’ll be on the couch in pajamas watching reruns of “The Ace of Cakes”. She flashes me the memory photo of Bella lifting half of Hudson’s body weight.  Dang it all!  What if I don’t WANT to be inspired?

I don’t care if you’re inspired.  You are going IN, she says.  Minimum: 30 minutes, elliptical.  Period.  Hut. Hut!  Slacks?  What rule says you can’t workout in slacks?

That would be: the I’d Like To Not Look Stupid rule.

I rummage through my riding emergency bag, whip out pull-on breeches and clean T-shirt, change in the car.  Ha!.  I look just like the spandex clad gym rats, except for the knee patches and orange/green stained T-shirt.  You know we are all just giant napkins for our horses.

When I walk back in 5 minutes later, Shaun says “Weren’t you just wearing…  I thought you were going…? “

“Nah”, I say, “I keep these in the car for…”

“…riding emergencies”, she says.

I think she’s getting the hang of this Be Prepared thing.

Case in point #4:

Thanks to Mr. Chips caused emergencies, I always kept an extra halter and lead behind the seat of my truck, should I ever be driving down the interstate and come across a horse haltering emergency.  What are the odds?  Right.  Zero.

We were on a leisurely afternoon drive up Highway 1, along the California coast.  Steep curves and switchbacks, with sheer cliff on the western side, no guard rails. I round a blind curve to find the road filled with 2-year-old steers, and 5 or 6 stopped cars. I look up at the incline next to the road. Downed barbed wire fence. Cars from the opposite direction are honking (not particularly helpful with bovines). The car behind us stopped. I opened my door. Shaun said, panicked, “What are you doing!?!”  She’s a city girl. To her, this was roughly equal to stepping into a lake full of piranha while bleeding.

I direct the driver behind us to flag down the following cars so none of us would get rear-ended. Back at the truck, I say to Shaun “Lean forward”. She gets out to help traffic guy. I flip the seat forward, and pull out the emergency lead rope and halter. Unclip the lead, buckle the halter. A young guy gets out of his car on the opposite side. He looks scared. There’s a pretty girl in the passenger seat. Thank god for guys who want to impress. The cows aren’t too far from the opening. A few have already become nervous and headed back toward the fence line. I hand him the halter. “We’re going to herd them back into the field.” He starts to raise his arm like he’s going to beat them to death with the halter.

“Wait!”, I say, “they’ll scare and scatter. We’re going to move slow…follow my lead, and whap the halter lightly on your thigh if a cow doesn’t move. “

I was counting on these steers having been herded before.  Lucky me: they had.  I double the lead rope and slowly hold out my arms as a visual block.  Halter guy does the same thing.  I whistle that peculiar whistle I heard cowboys use on the cattle ranch, and say firmly, “git on there, git on now.”  The closest steer stares at me indulgently, chewing and flicking his ears: amateur.  Fine.  I slap the rope on my thigh, whistle sharper, and brilliantly yell “SHOO” instead of Git. The steer comes to attention, turns around and walks toward the downed fence.  Halter guy picks up on this, and pretty soon we’re both whistling, yelling “Shoo!”, slapping ourselves, and using our body angles to tell the steers where to go. It works.  So much for git along little doggie.

As the last steers make their way to the break, a big beefy guy jogs up the highway, huffing, swearing, and winding through the stalled cars.   He’s carrying a roll of barbed wire and a come-along.  I see wire cutters in his back pocket.  Clearly the ranch owner.  He sees the last of the steers meandering up to the pasture, picks up a rock, emits a piercing whistle, throws the rock, hits the steer on the rump, and yells “Git along there, you God danged little !@#$%*&.  GIT. Git git git ON now!

The steers break into  a clumsy gallop, jump the downed wire, and zoom into the pasture like little rockets, as far as possible from the opening.

The owner looks disgusted. He spits and wipes the sweat off his forehead.  He saw us herding, and steps forward to thank the person obviously responsible. I open my mouth to say “it was no big deal”.

He slaps halter guy on the back, saying “You probably saved some lives, son.  And I don’t mean my @&*()@#!! cows.  That was quick thinking.”  He glances over at me.  “You too, missy.  Thanks for helping out.”

He trudged up to the fence line, assuming the truck belonged to the guy, and the convertible with waiting friend was mine.

Halter guy sheepishly hands over the halter and tries to apologize.  “You did great”, I say.  “Don’t worry about it.  They’re in, that’s all that matters.”

How much you want to bet that guy did NOT add a rope to his emergency travel kit?  I’m telling you, few people are more prepared than horse people.

I can tell from the comments on the last post, you are all in the Be Prepared category.  (BTW, now I want a knife like Bella’s to add to my emergency kit.  In case there’s a rope emergency.)

So what are YOUR Be Prepared emergency stories?  We want to know!

11 thoughts on “The Girl Scout Motto: Part 2

  1. Hmph. Well after reading all the wonderful entries for “most prepared reader” I feel that I fall miserably short. I mean, sure, my car is jammed with stuff that I could “use in an emergency.” But I’m not really sure what emergency would require one of my many bit selections, or a pair of splint boots, a bridle rack, or an old showmanship shirt that was supposed to go to Goodwill about 3 years ago. On the moderately more useful side, I have a billion plastic poop bags (for my dog, not me) and extra collar/leash, a dog bowl or two, and a halter/lead. And yes, I actually have run into more than a few haltering emergencies on the road (is it really THAT unusual or do I just live in the sticks?)

  2. Twice in my life I have been driving along and seen a horse galloping down a road toward me and have, of course, pulled over, rushed out of the truck and tried to catch the horse before it hurt itself. Once I caught the horse and held her until the bucked-off rider drove up and the second time the pony ducked into a driveway, where the people had obviously seen him before and waved me off with a “we know where he lives!” So I never leave home without a halter and leadrope (which also doubles as leash for wayward dogs.) Plus baling twine, vetwrap, boots and helmet, boot socks (don’t want to have to put the boots on with those little footie things!) Also have not one, but two, dressage whips. Hmmm…

  3. Aren’t we all prepared? I don’t know how many extra coats, vests, boots etc. I have in my car but I’m sure it’s impressive (if I could just find what I’m looking for half the time). I do keep a halter and lead in there too and some treats, (you never know). This was a great series of post and I’m pretty darned proud of you ‘missy’ for gettin’ those cows back for mr. macho rancher.

  4. My truck is an absolute disaster. But I have yet to be on the road somewhere and not been able to find whatever I need. Hungry? Granola bars. Tired? Blanket and travel pillow. Shoes don’t match your outfit? Plenty of other choices. Feet hurt? Slippers and socks. Cold? Plenty of fleece, gloves, scarves, etc. Wet? Towel, rain coat. Hair’s a mess? Hairbrush, headband, baseball hat. Loose horse? Halter and lead rope. Dirty horse? Bucket of brushes. Cold horse? Wool cooler. Horse that wants riding? Half chaps, helmet, jeans, and paddock boots. There are of course, plenty of other things back there that are of no use to anyone at all. But you never know. I don’t even know why I have an apartment, honestly. Other than the fact that the cats like my bed.

    1. Dang. Now why didn’t I think of a grooming emergency??

      Clearly I’m going to learn a lot from all of you, stock my vehicle accordingly, and drive Shaun completely around the “be prepared” bend. I hope the tips keep on coming!

  5. All kinds of friends laugh at me for all the crap in the back of my truck… shovel, axe, duct-tape, come-along, Hi-Lift jack, towel (!)… two first-aid kits. I did used to be on a SAR team back in Maine and so we’d end up in the middle of nowhere. I’ve never want to have to change a tire on my truck on a logging road without a Hi-Lift and a full-size tire wrench. And yes, I have slipped off the side of a gravel road and had to walk three miles to a phone to get a tow truck… which is why I have a come-along. (It’s also useful for re-setting our garage door if it comes off the rails [again].) Zip-ties and spare boot laces are something I wonder how I did without, too.

    Got to use some of this after a friend mounted his horse at a trial last weekend and blew the seam on his pants from knee to crotch. Between baling twine (from his horse’s hay) and duct tape, he managed to complete the day without a public indecency ticket.

    Love the Show-Sheen tip.


    1. Andrew, your comment has convinced me we need to have a “Be Prepared” series. I want to know what everyone carries *with* them (Great info to add to my stash!) just because, and then onto the one I have planned for being prepared in the barn.

      Zip ties have just been added to my buy list. Brilliant. Thanks!

      They’re terrific emergency breakaway ties for horse halters when safety halters or ties aren’t available, but I can think of a dozen other uses.

  6. I gotta halter + leadrope and a spare dog collar and leash and a ziplock baggie of horse cookies and a little box of dog biscuits in my truck.

    And I’ve used them all, several times each.

    I also have a large bowie knife, a small folding knife, a large flashlight, a teeny flashlight, a books of topo maps for the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Montana, a roll of duct tape, a campstove + fuel, a towel (cuz I knows where my towel is!) and TWO sets of riding gear (winter and summer) and (of course) my spare riding helmet.

    I was raised by Boy Scouts. If I ever have to capture a loose horse in the dark of Montana or Oregon, I will then be able to change into seasonally-appropriate apparel, use the knives to fashion a makeshift saddle out of the towel and duct tape, read the maps by flashlight, and use the campstove as a mounting block in order to ride the horse all the way to my home in Washington.

    1. I absolutely love it Aarene. You will be able to save that horse in fine fashion! 🙂 AND get back to Washington?!? I’m impressed.

  7. This is sort of a reverse “be prepared story” but I was looking through my truck the day before a clinic and saw a bottle of pink fingernail polish in there and thought “what the hell is this doing here? it can’t be mine?” I thought about throwing it away but then left it. This first day of the clinic the dirt in the zippers of my boots gave way (I guess cause I finally cleaned them) and kept unzipping while I was riding! Day two I used the otherwise useless polish to sticky up the zippers again and voila! No slipping!! (A little hard to get off though!)

    1. I love it! Off label creative use is the bomb.

      This is going to sound goofy, but after I clean my boots I squirt Show Sheen onto a Q-tip, and run it up and down the inside and outside of the plastic zippers on the teeth. (I’m afraid it will rot the cloth part of the zipper.) Instant easy-zip, nice and smooth once the Show Sheen dries.

      It’s also how my trainer managed to get into and out of show boots (without zippers) She sprayed the inside with a coupla coats of SS, and once dried she could slip right into and out of them. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s