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.




Disaster of the Month Club: The Secret Society?

For back story, see Emergency Room Camping.  (in which we discover hospitals have disaster calendars: every month has a huge, full color picture of an impending medical disaster. Photo proof!)

I thought Disaster of the Month Club calendars must be limited to hospitals.  Makes sense.  The Medivac helicopter is advertising their services, and well, it’s a calendar. Graphic depictions of dire situations just on the verge of implosion, with Medivac helicopter  hovering helpfully in the background, will definitely advertise how much the hospital needs them.

That their presence could cause the accident waiting to happen seems not to have crossed anyone’s mind.  Clearly not put together by people familiar with horses.

I took Shaun and her expertly bandaged  hand to the orthopedic surgeon on Friday. It’s easy to determine his usual clientele.  Let’s just say my general practitioner has battered copies of geriatric Ladies Home Journal’s lying around, not glossy editions of Forbes, travel magazines on exotic destinations, and a current copy of The New York Times.

We waited.  Shaun read the NYT. I glanced at the real artwork on the walls, the live plants, huge waiting room, glass atrium, and alcove housing water, tea, coffee and china cups, thinking: “Why didn’t I listen to my mother? I could be a doctor now. Or a Vet.”

The receptionists wore scrubs that were tailored to fit. Is it just me, or does this defeat the purpose of wearing pajamas to work?

I prepared myself for a) homophobia (No idea why? Random paranoia?) and b) dismissively cool doctor with the warmth of a guppy.

Luckily, I was wrong on all counts.

An actual nurse walked Shaun into the exam room, chatting and being quite friendly.  She said, “I’ll need to cut that off”, nodding to the bandage, and then did a double take.

(Yes, I am going to brag.)

“Wow. We don’t usually see a bandage of this caliber from the ER. This is the best wrap job I’ve ever seen, and I’m good. I’ve never seen one better than mine.” She adds: “The ones from the ER are always a complete mess, twisted and uneven. The last one had Scotch Tape holding it on!”

I immediately wanted to slide the bandage, intact, off Shaun’s arm, frame it, and hang it in the living room. Jane’s artistic legacy.

It was hard not to cry when she brought out the scissors.

“This is excellent!  You don’t happen to remember the name of the nurse, do you?”, she says, cutting carefully.

I’m SO idiotically proud.  Maybe I could have a second career as a bandage wrapper in Emergency Rooms?  Daydreams begin. Jane: the most esteemed professional bandage wrapper. If the President sprained an ankle, I would be quietly flown in on Air Force One. I begin giving paid lectures in my head.

Shaun tilts her head at me. “My wife wrapped it.”

“You did a nice job”, the nurse says to me, smiling, unknowingly puncturing my $100,000-a-pop daydream of the bandaging-lecture circuit. “The doctor will be right with you”, she adds, tossing my expert bandage in the trash, on her way out the door.  I sit on my hands, so I won’t snatch my work of genius out of the trash. It’s ruined!

Shaun and I look around. The exam room is huge.  You could host a small dinner party. There’s a medical-quality laminated drawing of a deconstructed foot. Something the doc can point to when explaining what’s wrong.

Shaun says, “Look! On that wall!”

There’s a framed art photo of a bare foot running across a desert. The foot is mid-stride, having just touched down.

“It’s just about to break!”, Shaun adds, cocking her head at the foot’s angle, and the rocks it will soon trip over. She’s right.  That foot is going down.

We. Lose. It.

“Oh. Oh. Oh”, I gasp, choking with laughter, “Next to it, LOOK!”

We look at each other.  They really have them. Doctors and hospitals belong to Disasters of the Month Clubs!


I couldn’t let the chance slip through my fingers. I needed to see what was scheduled for July.  I owed it to the readers of TLH, heck I owed it to the entire sector of unknowing lay people, who might inadvertently show up in the wrong place at the wrong time. I get up.

Shaun furiously whisperes: SIT THE HECK DOWN, as I slide past the open exam door, and lift the page. Ta Da.


All of you!  Back away from the glacier. Something is about to go wrong with your ice axe, or your crampons. For heaven’s sake, do not LEAD the expedition! This guy falls, there’s no one to dally him. Carabiners are for keys or hair-elastic storage, not life or death attachment to a rope.

Unless you live near K2, you should be okay in July.

My apologies for the blur. I knew the second I lifted the page while holding a camera, the doctor would walk in. So I tried to do it quickly.

He walked in while the page was fluttering down. Frowned at my cell phone etiquette.  I should not be making calls!

Of course this would be in an orthopedic office.  Frostbite, ice axes (whoops…did I just miss and stab my leg?) limbs smashing in free fall…it’s…the Ortho version of Disaster of the Month Club calendar.

In Which Hudson Saves Jane From a Drive By Shooting, and Jane Wants to Kill Him – Part 2


Why TLH was in Radio Silence for four days (sorry);

  1. Hudson is fine.
  2. I’m fine.
  3. We need some backstory. Bear with me?

One of the best things my mother ever told me:

A person’s worst qualities are usually their best qualities, magnified.

She said, “It’ll help you understand people. And forgive them.” Pause. She couldn’t resist adding: “And Jane? It’ll help you figure out your own annoying qualities.”

Thanks, Mom.

(i.e.   You might appreciate a person’s expression of gratitude for showing her how to use a button on her cell phone, but want to strangle her the next day when you receive your third thank you call, thank you text, and thank you note shoved through the mail slot.  It might make you wonder: “Geeze, is THIS what she expects ME to do if I ask her to move a blanket for me when my arms are full??” FYI: No. Wouldn’t even cross my mind.)

Drive-by Day was one of Hudson’s best qualities magnified.

Continue reading “In Which Hudson Saves Jane From a Drive By Shooting, and Jane Wants to Kill Him – Part 2”

In Which Hudson Saves Jane From a Drive By Shooting, and Jane Wants to Kill Him


It was a very quiet morning.

Jane was climbing up the hill to my paddock in the warm rain. We both like this. Rain means fewer people around. No one, in fact.

We walk down to the barn, where Jane hooks me to a cross tie, and throws a fleece over my back to warm me up. Out come the clippers.

Oh. Yeah.

I like where this is going. Barber Shop! Chicks find a little stubble attractive. Long whiskers? Not so much.

Between the halter around my neck, the warm fleece blanket, and the wwwwrrrrrr of the clippers, my eyes drooped, and, well, I nodded off. Life is good: a grooming thing I can get into, quiet rain, quiet mom, I just sort of…..ZZZzzzzzzzzz….

I woke up when Jane dusted off my face with a warm towel. Damn.  I realize I’ve fallen asleep with my head over her shoulder. I look at Jane. Are you sure  you got them all?

“Sorry, buddy”, she says, and lifts my head off, “I did it twice.”

She massages some dude moisturizer into my skin. Some herbal crap.  At least it doesn’t smell fruity. Halter goes back on, and she clips one side to the cross tie again.

I notice two things:

  1. It’s stopped raining.  The sun is out. Nice.
  2. Humans have let the grass destroyers out of their cages, and are letting themselves be dragged toward the barn.

I loathe grass destroyers.

  1. They destroy the green nectar of life.
  2. They are obviously horribly dangerous.  Humans use metal rods to  hold them back. Humans use leashes on tigers. The metal rod can only be present to keep the destroyer from whipping around and tearing the human apart.

They keep these things on the same property as horses. If I can get out, a grass destroyer can get out. Humans are not very bright.

Jane disappeared into the tack room. Really? She’s going to leisurely put a saddle on me while the GD’s close in?

What part of Dodge: Get the HECK Out Of, did she miss in The Pony Club Handbook?

I follow her into the tack room as far as my tether will allow, and knock over the 50 gallon trash can (full of trash) to let her know what a bad idea this is.

“Hudson!”,  Jane scolded, frowning. But she stops, and hears the VVvvvvrrrrrr, Vrrrrrr, VRRRRrrrrrrr coming closer.

I back out of the tack room.  Mission accomplished.  Hellloooooo.

What happened to asking animals questions?

“What is it, Lassie? Where’s Timmy? Oh no!  He fell down the old well in the north pasture?!?  I’ll get some rope. Go back to Timmy, tell him we’re coming, and to stay calm!”

Jane comes out to check. “Hudson, it’s fine. It’s just…..”

That’s when the shooting started.

Continue reading “In Which Hudson Saves Jane From a Drive By Shooting, and Jane Wants to Kill Him”

Jane Almost Lands in Jail, Again…

It’s that time of year, when all of us barn folks need to pay special attention to our appearance.

Hudson has had a big muscle spasm in  his shoulder.  I haven’t been able to get it to release. Massage, heat, stretching, Sore No More.  The spasm would give up, then come back the next day.  Odd.  Time to up the ante.

Enter exhibit A:

Continue reading “Jane Almost Lands in Jail, Again…”

How I Learned Answering a Cell Phone While Schooling a Horse Was Very Bad

Wild Horses (The Rolling Stones song)
Image via Wikipedia

My ringtone for all barn friends (and vet) is Wild Horses, by The Rolling Stones.  My own private joke.  Wild horses?  Couldn’t drag me away?  From the barn?  Maybe you had to be there.

Tiny was a lovely lower level dressage horse, a giant pony: draft cross.  You could do nearly anything on Tiny.  I stood on his butt once, to illustrate this point.  Big Name Dressage instructor yelled: “Get down!! You’re going to get yourself killed!!” while Tiny cocked a hoof and sighed.

He was also incredibly smart.  Smart enough to hide how smart he was.  He was the only horse I felt safe enough to answer the phone on while actually schooling.  Since my horse friends were usually at the barn at the same time as I was, it would only ring under dire circumstances.

We’d be schooling, and Mick Jagger would suddenly wail Wiiiiiiild horses, couldn’t drag me awaaaaay…

Responsibly, I’d pull Tiny over, (arena etiquette for the non-horsey: you go to the center of the ring.)  Park. Answer phone.  Listen.  Talk.  Hang up.  Go back to schooling.  I ignored all other ring tones.  Over a 3 month time span, it happened three times.

The fourth time we were cantering: Mick managed to get out “Wiiiiiiild horses….”.

Before I could cue him, Tiny stopped dead, put himself on the buckle, walked to the center of the arena, hung his head, and cocked a hoof, so I could answer the phone.

Whoops.  While humorous, there was a snag.  Tiny was not my horse.  Bad Jane.  Bad bad Jane!  I stopped answering the phone, and when it rang, I was ready and kept him going.

Another 3 months go by.

I was on a catch ride in the same arena with Lily, who was schooling Tiny. We were having fun, riding around each other, calling out jokes and helping each other.

Tiny fussed about departing round and forward into the canter, Lily corrected him politely and asked again. He powered into a round and forward canter.  Lily cheerfully patted him, calling out: good job Tiny!  Good boy!

Atta boy, Tiny!, I yell.

Then, um, my phone rang.

Continue reading “How I Learned Answering a Cell Phone While Schooling a Horse Was Very Bad”

Jane at 12, with Her First Horse

My first-horse photos don’t involve spiffy riding outfits, ribbons, helmets and smiling judges. Dang it.  That is the planet on which I wanted to live. I resided on the “I Want to Still Be Alive at 5 pm, Please” planet.

In my box of old photos, I found a picture of my first horse: Spitz ‘Em Out, daughter of Chews ‘Em Up.  Or “Chewy”, as he was known, on the Pro Rodeo circuit.  If you check out her confirmation, you’ll see it lines up perfectly with what she was bred to do.

My parents didn’t know there’s a certain amount of hinting that goes on in registered names.  Not horse people. They also came from a generation of  “Learn By Doing”.   Which I dutifully followed until the hospital bills started rolling in.

Photo #1: Jane is 12, and has finally managed to scrub all the green, yellow and brown out of her white, roaned-out and unspotted, but purebred, Appaloosa.  Spitz is four, with 90 days training.  By the 16-year-old son of the ranch owner.  I’m guessing he invented the bicycle chain mechanical hackamore.

When not hanging out at the above lovely boarding barn, getting thrown on the way to the arena, thrown in the arena, thrown coming out of the arena, or thrown in the pasture, we took advantage of the barn’s natural trail geography…

Continue reading “Jane at 12, with Her First Horse”

The Outside of a Horse…

…is good for the inside of a man.  Yadda yadda. Whatever.

Murphy’s hidden corollary:

The Outside of a Horse is Bad for the Outside of a Woman in La-La Land

I caught a shod rear hoof full-on, luckily on the large muscle mass on the outside of my thigh. It was a full force kick: if it had hit a bone I would have a broken leg.

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: THANK YOU thighs, for having saddle bags I can’t get rid of, no matter how hard I work out.  I ate a piece of cake in to support them in their protective efforts!

Normal barn feeding was late, the boys were cranky and restless. I walked right into the middle of the scuffle, in an enclosure, to get a bucket.  I KNOW better than this.  I saw all the signs, and didn’t put them together (getting over migraine).  Lesson learned: a horse can go without grain when you are unable to think clearly, for whatever reason.

These are two good hearted, well-trained, safe horses.  No one can believe it.

On the flip side, it’s yet another eating accident.  Which seems to be my accident of choice.  How ridiculous is that?  Alice came running with a frozen dinner, having grabbed the first thing out of her freezer.  My first thought?  Ooooooo…Chinese stir fry! Yum.

Sigh.  My relationship with food is hopeless.  My second thought was “thank you!”

Greta was riding, I yelled for help, she galloped up the road, Paul Revere style, to catch Lily, who was leaving. Lily checked my leg (she’s a doc), looked up, and said, “You are so lucky” and “It’s going to hurt really really bad, when your adrenaline drops.”

I learned this from Lily a long time ago: no matter what doctors say about ice on, ice off, pack the dang thing in ice for 24 hours, minimum.  I did 48 hours, with only a few minutes between.  It saved me.  Hematoma the size and shape of a half a basketball sticking out of my thigh Sunday night.  Today: totally flat, spreading out nicely, preeeeeetty colors.

Naturally I had to send Daisy 3 separate photographs, so she could see it from all angles. Please feel free to console her.  I’m disappointed I didn’t think to get Shaun to photograph it when it was still in a perfect horseshoe shape.

My trainer sent me a 1941 reminder video on horsemanship:

I Need Airbags

I emailed Daisy, Bella, Molly and Grace about the fractured rib.

Daisy wants Jane Gets Impaled: The Video.

Bella was shocked and concerned.  (Her experience with cracked ribs has more to do with major crashes: 2 ton bulls, an ornery steer, or a bad rotational in Eventing.)  When I told her how it happened, she was no longer shocked (typical Jane accident) but still concerned.  Very politely said she will not laugh.  She will NOT laugh.  She WILL NOT laugh! I AM NOT LAUGHING NOW.

I’m pretty sure she’s regretting loaning me her extra Gitmo roping knife until I can get one of my own.

Molly wants to know if I’m okay, can she do anything, and says not to worry, that Melody will be waiting.

Grace wants to know if I’m okay, AND she knows exactly what I need for my new sport, which she promptly helps name.

What new sport?  The one I plan on lobbying to Olympic levels: Hurling At Horses (HAH, for short).  I figure it will fall somewhere in the Eventing category.

What do we need?

Continue reading “I Need Airbags”

The Girl Scout Motto: Part 1

Be Prepared.

I was a Girl Scout.   We earned badges in different subjects, to be well-rounded in our preparedness.

For those of you outside the US, the Girl Scouts is a kind of girls adventure club where you learn useful stuff  like how to make footstools out of tomato juice cans.

We were prepared for any extreme footstool emergency.

The Cold War was on.  If the Russians pushed the big red button first, you could count on US Girl Scouts to rush into a massive civilian relief effort to replace all the annihilated footstools.

For those of you who are instantly up in arms at my mildly sarcastic tone, please realize I’m speaking only from my personal experience as a G.S. in the 1960’s.  I had to learn the proper way to cut a sandwich, so the bread didn’t condense at the point of impact.  For the benefit of (cough cough) my future husband.

The Girl Scouts have come a long way into modernization, and I seriously doubt there is still an award for making a good white sauce.   Or that you can earn points for vacuuming the Scout Leader’s home.  I think you have to know CPR now.  Much more useful for nuclear emergencies.

That motto though, it sticks with you.

A case in point:

Bella, Daisy and I got all dressed up and went out to dinner to celebrate our birthdays, which are reasonably close together.  Makeup, dresses, glitz and glamour.  (We love not recognizing each other.)  There were beautifully wrapped gifts topped with that lovely chiffon wire ribbon.  Mine was knotted, with a bow over it.  I couldn’t get the dang ribbon off to save my life.  There was a pause, then we all simultaneously start rummaging in our elegant handbags.


For our knives, of course.

Continue reading “The Girl Scout Motto: Part 1”