Whoa is Me!

This has been a “equine-centric” weekend around Chez Murphy. My dear wife was scheduled to assist at a horse “eventing” show on Saturday and through no fault of her own suddenly found herself sans vehicle. My suggestion that she take one of our horses and ride to the show was met with the withering contempt it no doubt deserved, and I ended up driving her off to some huge park somewhere in eastern Maryland, so huge in fact that we wandered around the place for almost an hour until we found the site.

My wife wasn’t riding at the show but several of her friends were. So she spent a few hours dressing and undressing the horses and the riders and I assisted.* Boy did they need all the help they could get. This horse biz is remarkably complex and filled with loads of costume and ritual. The horses’ manes are intricately braided and their feet polished. They are shampooed and conditioned and then sprayed with subtly sparkly substances that I’m pretty sure contain trace amounts of radium. Stray hairs are individually singed from their bodies.

We're not sure exactly what event Madonna is participating in here (or who is going to wear the saddle, for that matter).

Then the animals are adorned with a variety of weird and subtly-kinky gear, including bridles, saddles, and bits. Oh, the bits! There are a zillion of them – Pelham, loose ring elevator bit, Uxeter Kimberwicke bit, the full-cheek snaffle bit with Egram lozenge, pony double-twisted wire King Dee – (eat your heart out, Betty Page!) and the debates over which is best for a given animal can go on for an amount of time that a reasonable person might expend on more important topics like an impending organ transplant or the NFL draft.

Is this a Myler Ported Barrel Pelham bit in your mouth or are you just happy to see me?

The riders are clad in equally esoteric clothing: breeches, jackets, doofy hats, and boots. With spurs. They’re clutching riding crops (and not for sensible consensual entertainment purposes, either).

Since it was a zillion degrees out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the nice judges let them ride without their jackets and ties, no doubt saving the lives of roughly half of the riders there. Because if the judges had insisted, the contestants would have ridden in all of that heavy gear without question. These eventing guys are totally hard-core. If a horse were in peril they’d defend it with their teeth – but risk their own lives to win at one of these programs? Not a problem.

I think it has something to do with the really tight pants.

Before I get too far, I’d like to make it clear that horses are fairly nice creatures in general, and outside of their equipment fetish, horse people are among the nicest bunch of wackos you’d ever want to meet. Most truly love their animals and they’re really pretty good to each other too. My wife has a great time with her horse friends and when I’m along they make a serious effort to speak about non-horse topics which sometimes lasts almost six whole minutes. (Not that I’m bitching, since that’s about five minutes longer than me and my gaming pals will spend on non-nerd issues when my wife is around.)

Anyway, the day passed as all days must. My wife’s friends did fairly well in the ring and nobody fell over from personal global warming. The horses pooped and nickered and had a good time. We went home, my wife tired and well satisfied, me with a modest case of nap-head. It was a good day.

If you’re thinking of getting into horses, I have one piece of advice for you. Look deep into your soul: if you really, really, really love horses and are willing to expend the time, energy, effort, money and occasional heartbreak that they demand, then go for it. But if you just kinda like the bits and breeches and boots and riding crops, there are cheaper and less life-consuming ways to get your fix.

Though not necessarily for everybody: just ask Governor Sanford.


*By napping in the car with the a/c running most of the afternoon. 


2 Responses to “Whoa is Me!”

  1. sher Says:

    on the bright side, it would be tougher to accomplish all that with cats.

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