Does This Horse Make My Butt Look Big?
Nov. 14, 2009 2:27 pm
Updated: Mar. 14, 2010 11:53 pm
I spent most of my life at the barn, working horses, cleaning stalls and all the rest of the perks that go with that line of work. My typical "uniform' was a t-shirt or sweatshirt (depending on the weather), a pair of jeans and hair wadded up inside a ballcap. Occasionally, that might include a pair of sneakers or boots, if spurs were required that day, otherwise my feet preferred to go 'au natural'.
Makeup wasn't part of the get-up for the most part, as wrestling unbroke colts, being midwife to mares, assisting in the...'procreation' or honeymoon supervision... between stallions and mares, and hosing off colts in the washrack did not do nice things for mascara and the like.
During show season, however, there were mandatory shopping excursions, as the latest requirements for Showring wear changes every year. Two hundred dollar shirts and five hundred dollar hats are common and must color coordinate with the ever present custom made shotgun chaps, which alternate between fringed and scalloped edges on the leggin's. (I am fairly certain the west coast Paint and Quarter Horse associations are in cahoots with the designers of said outfits). This was only necessary for Halter and Western competition classes, however. Riding jumping horses was a lot less complicated, as skin tight breeches and custom knee boots are pretty much the staple. It was my class of choice until I gained some weight and my boots got so tight I had to lay under a horse trailer and grab an axle while 2 cowboys attempted to pull off the boot which was cutting off the blood supply to my brain. God bless the person who invented the elastic gusset.
During a show, makeup becomes an absolute necessity. It is considered very poor form to sport less makeup than your horse, unless you are a man. We spend tedious hours applying blueing to white markings, and if allowed, white legs are packed with cornstarch and carefully wrapped in leg bandages, to keep them that way until show time. An application of expensive hair gloss is spread over the entire coat of the animal, paying particular attention to the back area, so your saddle is able to slip sideways during the most tense and critical moment as the judges scrutinize you and your equine partner, seeking the slightest muscle twitch to disqualify you, and oil is applied to eyes, ears and muzzles, with various other products to beautify the mane and tail in order to present an eye catching first impression.
Meals at these events (this is my mandatory food element, since it wasn't in the title) consist of what tastes like month old coffee for breakfast, enjoyed hours after rising, as a normal day begins around 4 am, since horses have to have their breakfast finished, stalls cleaned, water changed, grooming and spot washing completed, and warm ups done, before a trainer is allowed to squeeze into whatever fashion disaster the industry has cooked up for the season. Then clients and students must be prepped, pepped up, and suffered. If lucky, you might get a dry, tasteless and overpriced hamburger, courtesy of the local saddle club, unless you need to school an animal thru the entire lunch break, due to poor morning performance, a politically correct term for the 'untraining' performed by a horse's owner during their amateur or youth class, which is most often the case.
With a good clientele, all this is followed by a huge Mexican dinner at the best local restaurant, along with generous Margaritas to calm the days nerves as triumphs are re-lived and competition you beat gets tougher, or worst case scenerio a cursory nod is given to a horse's fine performance, in spite of unremarkable scores by blind and partisan judges.
These ensembles are sufficiently expensive that they are required by most not-very-wealthy trainers like myself, to do double duty. On one of the rare occasions my husband and I actually went out for an evening together, I donned my best looking jeans, my tux shirt and a lovely periwinkle bolero jacket. On the way to the truck, much to my chagrin, a neighbor stopped me to ask "Where's the horse show at tonite?"
Not many years later, the fads had changed numerous times and settled on an outfit composed of a very tight, body hugging lycra 'slinky', worn with a piece of jewelry, chaps and hat. It was at this point in my career, I felt it was best to retire from public competition, as gravity had already begun an all out assault on my body, and I had to actually ask Randyman,
"Does this horse make my butt look big?"
His subsequent "deer in the headlight" silence sufficed as an answer. Today I ride only well broke, kid tested, fully matured and heavy muscled Quarter horses and leave the little 2 yr old colts with their underdeveloped legs and lithe bodies to younger, less experienced trainers who are not nearly as "rearwardly" endowed. Those critters are a lot like wearing horizontal stripes.
I realize that my career allowed me to develop powerful muscles, which enable me to sit for long periods of time without fatigue. If I could just flex `em, I'd really look buff.
Thomas mare "BearPawsRose" CA State CH Green Hunter/Working Hunter
Hildreth colt "Quest for Freedom" CA State CH 2 yo Trail, WP, Color
Hildreth gelding "MrImpressiveII" CA State CH Hunter Under Saddle