Between sales calls for the Chamber and getting my hair and toes attended to, I stopped by the barn. Heather had called to say she has a 63-year-old woman who reminded her a lot of me. The woman has always owned and ridden thoroughbreds and though she came to Heather for ‘lessons’ there was nothing she and her lovely, quiet, bomb-proof school horses could teach her. She wondered if I would be interested in a new partial share of Night. Since Night’s little most recent little girl has acquired her own horse, and I only get to ride one or two days a week, life has been dull for the Head Mare of the Pasture. I thought a new partner would keep her sharp and muscled.
Diane was sitting under the pear tree in the barnyard as I strode up. I was dressed for work in ballet flats, a billowy seersucker shirt and leggings. (Not appropriate barn attire in any circumstances.) She was my build and size, dressed in thin riding tights and boots. I gave her a quick background on Night as we walked to the pasture. “She started life as a barrel racer in Texas, saw some abuse along the way and my daughter fell in love with her at summer camp 12 years ago. She has since fox hunted, vented and the only thing I’ve never asked her to do is pull a cart.” As we strode down the hill I realized I could never reach Night gracefully amid the mud in ballet flats. Diane took the halter and headed into the herd to extract Night. We were all headed back up the hill when the other mares realized the Lead Mare was leaving and they came charging up behind us, herd-mentality when I was hoping for a calm and loving introduction.
Later I was almost giddy when I entered the salon. Three hours of total girly submersion AND my poor feet might finally be able to see the light of day in sandals! I eased into one of those thrones designed for a pedicure, you know the ones with the foot bathing tank and the stool for the person who will be servicing your tired feet? Yes, this particular chair design should be upgraded to a living room model in every home.
Then I looked at my feet. And my shoes. “I’m really embarrassed here. I had to make a stop at the barn and I’m afraid there’s a bit of dirt and dust.” And then it starts. Mention a horse and everyone has a story, usually the same story. The top three, starting at the low-end in popularity are:
3. “I was at a barn once and a horse bit me.”
2. “I was going to ride a horse but it stepped on my foot.”
and the #1 most popular tale of equine adventure – “I was put on old Jake who was supposed to be the slowest horse in the barn. First he ran me into a tree then he high-tailed it for the barn and I was taken off with!”
I listen, I commiserate and I dust off my shoes with pride.