Back to Reality…Oops There Goes Gravity (The Super Model, Part Two)

If only our horse lives could stay in a sort of rosy, carrot and alfalfa scented fog of perfect bliss and connection.

Really Jane? What is my photo doing on a horse blog?
Our Reality and Gravity expert: Eminem

While my ideal state for relationships is All Bliss, All the Time, there’s a problem. That rosy, foggy, carrot and alfalfa scented state is strictly imaginary.

As anyone in any relationship anywhere is well aware.

This is partly why those incredible moments of connection are so sweet. BECAUSE THEY GO AWAY.  

Sorry.  Didn’t realize I was shouting.

Stand still so I can Disney-fy our relationships, dang it!
Why, Walt, WHY…?

Back to Reality:

The Super Model went back to being an ordinary horse.

I’ve learned this at the training barn: a surprising number of mares have “Blanket Issues”.  Even if they like blankets.  

The Super Model is more or less decent about having her blankets removed.  She is more or less psycho about having them put back on.  Often, a stud chain has to be involved, to keep all four hooves on the ground, and so we don’t end up pinned beneath her.  She would like the blanket to be put on very, very fast.


She wants to charge me down and swan dive into the head opening, her ears pinned, her lips curled, her eyes small and glaring.

I was lucky.  I got a two-day “You’re back! You’re back!” grace period.  Soft eyes and sweetness while I gently pulled blankets off and on again. She’d been on the road.  I assumed she’d finally given in to trainers requirement that We Stand Still For Blankets.

Day three: she had a change of heart about many things: mowing me down seemed like a decent option when a butterfly gently fluttered down onto a pretty flower. 

Rats. My job is to make her more afraid of ME than random nunchuk-wielding butterflies.  

Seeking World Domination and Arch Nemesis status.  Horrifying.

That unfair, totally wrong thing that our mother said? This hurts me more than it hurts you? It’s that hard to wallop The Super Model. I want to sob because she had been so sweet, and now I’m beating the crap out of her. More or less.

The good thing about horses…as long as we are fair and not acting out of anger, it doesn’t change how they feel about us. Once past the evil butterfly and in the barn, she nuzzles my hair.  

Awwwww. She still loves me.  

Later, she’d like to kill me when I’m putting her blanket back on.  Nothing like being in a 12×12 box with a 16.3 hot horse that is trying to climb up your body because you are not blanketing her fast enough. Note: this is not fear. She is impatient, and wants me to hurry up, preferably by making the blankets magically appear on her body, without all the annoying buckling, tweaking, and head insertion. I’m somewhat familiar with Reality.  I have the chain ready.  We work on standing still, quiet, and relaxed for blanketing.  Four times.

Oops There Goes Gravity:

I started laughing: it’s love. We don’t get to cherry-pick the warm fuzzy stuff and avoid the random bitchiness. (Shaun would verify this.) Love is all-inclusive. 

Damn it.




Some People Call Me Maurice…

The Pompatus of Love.

This may or may not horrify you, but I watch TV.  I think of it as an exercise in marital understanding. We’re all different, right? For some of us, TV is entertainment. For others, it’s a tool we use to get through the flu without actually killing ourselves.

Shaun and I baffle each other. How did we ever get married? How has it lasted 16 years?

We stare at each other a lot. And then something unexpected happens.

I don’t understand you, but here: I bought you a horse.

I don’t understand you, but here: I bought you this ugly giant flat screen TV.

We try to bridge the divide.  Occasionally, Shaun volunteers to come to the barn.  Encased in a ton of metal with the doors locked.  What she’s thinking:  “Why would I want to be outside? In the dirt? With bugs? Is that…poop?  Ewwwwww. Didn’t you come home with a black eye recently?”

Shaun asks me to watch TV with her.  “Sure!” I say, stuffing my reluctance deep into an old, unused, neuron.

I stare at the TV. I stare at Shaun. What I’m thinking: “Why would I want to see Inside San Quentin? Blech. I also watch, through my fingers, relationship dramas acted out above anesthetized, bloody bodies.  Is that a LIVER? Ewwwwww.”

Enter American Idol: I love all music, Shaun loves all TV reality shows. It should be win-win.

Keith Urban had to screw it up. (Dang it all Keith, you’re my favorite judge.) This week he wore a T-shirt printed with “Some People Call Me Maurice”. I burst out laughing, and giggled every time the camera panned to the judges.

This looked a lot better on Keith.
It looked a lot better on Keith. I suspect this is probably true of clothing in general.

(I had to laugh at something. The contestants were instructed to sing a Beatles song. Beatles? Who are the Beatles?) 

“What’s so funny?”, Shaun asks, mystified.

“His shirt!”, I gasp, as disturbing memories, mostly involving a dorm room at UC Berkeley and Alex’s make-up from Clockwork Orange, un-spoll in my brain.

“What does it mean?”, she says.

“Space Cowboy?”, I say.

“Himalayan Dental Assistant?”, she says, trying to figure out this wacko game of bizarre careers.

“The Joker?”, I say, certain this will make my point crystal clear.

“The Green Lantern?” she says, baffled.

If only The Green Lantern were here to shine the light of justice and rock and roll...
Shining the light of truth, justice, and rock music. Also rocking the Abs. Why do superheros get the best abs?

We’re in trouble. We go back to the show.

I Play My Music in the Sun

The next day, I bring up video of The Steve Miller Band on YouTube.  Shaun listens with that look on her face.

“You like this?”, she says, stuffing her incredulity into a vacated synapse.

I’m so busy processing how innocuous this song seems in 2013, (it felt very counter-culture in 1974), that I have to make her repeat her question.

“Well, yeah, don’t you?”, I say.

“Not exactly?”, she says, searching for something that won’t hurt my feelings: “I was more in to Motown.”

I can work with this: I like Motown.

Problem: I also like Metallica. Led Zepplin. Janis Joplin. Bach. Jay-Z. Lady Gaga. Loretta Lynn. Mozart. Brooks and Dunn. Eminem. Itzhak Perlman. Barbara Streisand. The Village People.  (Did I say that last one out loud?)

Of course I like them. YMCA? I'm gay.  It's genetic.  Same with Abba.
I”m gay, therefore I’m genetically predisposed to liking the Village People and Abba. I am dance-spastic. But hand me a pink feather boa, and I’m definitely not sitting out Dancing Queen. Even though I should. Really.

Sure Don’t Want to Hurt No One

My dad used to say two things weren’t for sissies:

  1. Getting Old
  2. Love

Getting Old: I nearly had a heart attack listening to some really GOOD musicians say they’d never heard of the Beatles.  Not for sissies.

Love: I don’t think Dad meant actual love?  Love is easy.  Blammo. Love slams you, whether it’s your wife, husband, kid, or fur family.  It just flattens us. Getting up over and over, that’s the hard part.

I’m pretty sure Dad meant sticking to a relationship in which the other half doesn’t like rock and roll.

THAT is not for sissies.

Falling in Love With Our Horses: The First Valentine

First, thank you for sharing your experience, horses and hearts with us, it’s lovely to hear how you found each other.  A happy, horsey Valentine’s day to all.  And keep the love coming! (If I missed someone, please let me know, occasionally I am blinded by my inbox.)

Jen B’s story:

I too am lucky to have had several, and sometimes concurrent, horse loves in my life. Although I can also say I have ridden, and even owned, horses that I never really felt a close connection with. My current boy is probably my greatest love. As soon as I saw his cute face I knew I was in, but what happened after really clinched it.

He was 3 years old and unstarted. He had never been lunged but the current owner suggested I take him out to the yard and try to lunge him to see how he moved. This was a ridiculous idea but for some reason I went with it. Well it turned out as one would expect. He careened around like a crazy man in all directions BUT a circle. At one point he came galloping right at me (not aggressively, but in a confused kind of way). I finally gave up before someone got hurt and we took him into the barn. I figured this guy is going to hate this stranger who takes him from his herd, puts him on a rope and swings a whip at him. But no. The moment of love came when I stood at his should, after the debacle, and he turned his head toward me, nose to my belly, ears up, curious and sweet. That was it. If this guy was that forgiving of a complete stranger, he had to be mine.

I’ve now owned him for coming on four years and he still has that trusting, forgiving nature I fell in love with on that first day.

Tammy’s story:

First part at Horse Trail Riders

Fast forward 3 more years and my feelings haven’t changes.  I love my mare!  Although most of the time we are content just riding down the road or riding with friends, we have entered one horse show (didn’t win) and 3 competitive trail rides (she placed 6th in the first one and 2nd in the last one!)  I will never have that “finished horse” or the one that you can just get on after months of not riding and “she rides like she is ridden everyday!” No, that would be too easy.  She likes to push my buttons and then I push hers – she wins some, I win some.  Never fails to embarrass me when I’m riding with someone who has been around horses all their lives.  But has made me proud more time than not. So another compromise.

Sometime I need to take the time to update our story on my blog, but for now it still fits.

Funder’s experience at It Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time

Lisa’s experience at Gracie and Allie

For Valentine’s Day,Tell Us Why You Fell In Love With Your Horse

Sometimes it’s instant. Sometimes we feel nothing right away, and a horse begins to unfurl in our hearts, and suddenly we realize we know every line, recognize a singular vocalization, feel that jolt of connection.

Many of us have had the privilege of loving and being connected to more than one horse.

For Valentine’s day, I’d love to hear your experiences with horse-love.  When did you know?  What set off that “we’re connected” feeling?

Feel like sharing your stories?  I’d love to put them in a blog post (attributed to you, or anonymous).

Send your story to!

If that’s too complicated, there’s always the comments section.

Happy Valentines Day!

I’m going to go hug Hudson.  And Barbie.  And Sunshine.  And Ruby.  And Dinero.

I’m a lucky woman.