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You Might Be A Horse Person If...
  • You get frequent flyer miles without ever being on a plane
  • Hay twine is your solution to EVERYTHING
  • The only hats you own are a cowboy hat and a helmet
  • Your horseís family tree is more complete than your own
  • You are the one stealing all the socks for tail bags
  • You cluck to people and other animals to make them move
  • You own more bobby pins than the beautician m
  • Your dad is concerned about you checking out the body of and flirting with a horse instead of a guy
  • You have favorite wheelbarrows, shovels and pitchforks
  • Your nice clothes are the ones without horse hair on them
  • Every paper you write has to do with horses
  • You are more interested in the trailer than the cute guy standing next to it
  • Your horseís stall is cleaner than your room
  • Your plan your entire social life around horse shows and practice
  • The centerfold of your magazine is a horseÖ. And there is NO swimsuit edition
  • You say whoa to the dog
  • Your motto is "if you have to ask you canít afford it"
  • Youíd pay $200 + for a show shirt but refuse to pay more than $20 for jeans
  • Your horse has more shoes than you do
  • Your boots and hat are not a fashion statement
  • You spend hundreds of dollars on a show for a 95 cent ribbon
  • Your horses legs are shaved better than your own
  • You are not ashamed to wear a hairnet and enough makeup for twenty people

Submitted by Shannon, Minneapolis, MN  
 

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A Horse's View of Natural Horsemanship

Hello my name is Flicka and my Owner's a clinic junky. Yes, it's true. She went thru her mid life crisis and came to the sale barn and bought me.

I spent my whole life misbehaving and being passed from greenhorn to greenhorn till someone finally got smart and sent me to the sale barn.

I was seriously hoping to be picked up by one of those show horse fella's so I could live in a fancy barn and stand around and look pretty, but they told me my butt's too small, my heads too big, and the crest on my neck from a bout with grass founder (thanks to owner number 2) is not desirable, and in general I was just not that capable of looking pretty, so I went home with Phyllis instead.

She pets me and loves me, and in general I had a pretty good life at first. Then she heard about those guys who whisper to horses. Life has never been the same.

First there was Pat. At Pat's clinic Phyllis learned to twirl a big stick and chase me around a round pen till I was ringing wet with sweat.

Once I had quote "calmed down" (I was never really fired up in the first place till that guy came at me with the stick like an idiot) she began learning to ride me with no bridle. Talk about giving an old spoiled horse an opportunity to have some fun! Initially I went along with it. I'd lope around the pen real nice like, and everyone would oooh and cooo over my "natural horse" abilities.

Then, just when everyone had gathered around to watch, I would see the SCARIEST!! (tehehehe) Shadow in the history of scary shadows and switch directions and take off with my rider clinging terrified to my back. Every other horse on the place was envious of me because their owners would take them out back and beat them with that overpriced stick when no one was watching, but I knew my Phyllis would not.

Eventually Philly (as I like to call her) gave up on the whole natural horse idea when Pat tried to talk her into jumping me without a bridle over some barrels.

Off we went in search of another guru. In our search we found Monty. He threw a string at a horse and talked to the horse with winks and stares. I spent some time with his clinic horses. I saw the demonstration where an unbroken 2 year old became an overnight Reiner.

Later I talked to the 2 year old. He was actually 5 and had been doing this same routine for about 5 clinics now. The first time Phyllis broke out the string I again, went along with it. Well, until she got tired of me stopping and looking at her like she was stupid. When she went to get herself a glass of water and refer to that chapter in Monty's book, I grabbed the string and chewed it to pieces.

And this is how I got my Jolly ball!

Then there was the Indian fella with a name I can't pronounce. To get the full effect of his clinic Philly painted stuff on my body and put feathers in my hair. I looked like I was in a Costume class, but hey whatever floats your boat. I thought maybe at least with this guy we might get to play Indian pony games and have mock battles or something but no. More round pen work and gimmicks. This time there was a fire in the middle of the round pen and they danced around it while praying that I would become a good horse and always mind my owner. He only took her for a couple thousand pelts and a bottle of firewater.

There's been the Australian guy. Training with a Boomerang while he hopped around like a kangaroo and called me his mate... "Sorry fella, your cute and all but my mate has 4 legs. I Just don't' swing interspecies."

A horse psychic who told Phyllis my momma didn't lick me enough when I was born.

A guy who used his hands like ears to talk to me and of course the touchy feely lady.

I can't complain though I've got an owner who loves me and has devoted her time to trying to make me a better horse. I really should behave, really I should, but I think I am contributing to her youth by giving her a reason to take me to all these clinics. Maybe the next clinic will involve turning me out with the mustangs so I find my inner wild stallion.

Sincerely, Flicka

Submitted by Gary, Emmitsburg, Md.
 

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Living with O.C.E.A.N. Syndrome By Scooter Grubb

Just recently, after years of research, I have finally been able to give a name to what my wife and I have been living with for years.

It's an affliction, for sure, which when undiagnosed and misunderstood can devastate and literally tear a family apart. Very little is known about O.C.E.A.N. Syndrome. But it is my hope this article will generate interest from researchers involved in the equine and psychological sciences. You will, no doubt, begin to identify similar symptoms in your own family and hopefully now be able to cope.

Obsessive Compulsive Equine Attachment Neurosis Syndrome (O.C.E.A.N.S) is usually found in the female and can manifest itself anytime from birth to the golden years. Symptoms may appear any time and may even go dormant in the late teens, but the syndrome frequently re-emerges in later years.

Symptoms vary widely in both number and degree of severity. Allow me to share some examples which are most prominent in our home.

The afflicted individual:

  1. Can smell moldy hay at ten paces, but can't tell whether milk has gone bad until it turns chunky.
  2. Finds the occasional "Buck and Toot" session hugely entertaining, but severely chastises her husband for similar antics.
  3. Will spend hours cleaning and conditioning her tack, but wants to eat on paper plates so there are no dishes.
  4. Considers equine gaseous excretions a fragrance.
  5. Enjoys mucking out four stalls twice a day, but insists on having a housekeeper mop the kitchen floor once a week.
  6. Will spend an hour combing and trimming an equine mane, but wears a baseball cap so she doesn't waste time brushing her own hair.
  7. Will dig through manure piles daily looking for worms, but does not fish.
  8. Will not hesitate to administer a rectal exam up to her shoulder, but finds cleaning out the Thanksgiving turkey cavity for dressing quite repulsive.
  9. By memory can mix eight different supplements in the correct proportions, but can't make macaroni and cheese that isn't soupy.
  10. Twice a week will spend an hour scrubbing algae from the water tanks, but has a problem cleaning lasagna out of the casserole dish.
  11. Will pick a horse/DONKEY's nose, and call it cleaning, but becomes verbally violent when her husband picks his.
  12. Can sit through a four-hour session of a ground work clinic, but unable to make it through a half-hour episode of Cops.

The spouse of an afflicted victim:

  1. Must come to terms with the fact there is no cure, and only slightly effective treatments. The syndrome may be genetic or caused by the inhaling of manure particles which, I propose, have an adverse effect on female hormones.
  2. Must adjust the family budget to include equine items - hay, veterinarian services, farrier services, riding boots and clothes, supplements, tack, CARTS, HARNESS, DRIVING CLINICS, SHOWS, equine masseuse and acupuncturist - as well as the (mandatory) equine spiritual guide, etc. Once you have identified a monthly figure, never look at it again. Doing so will cause tightness in your chest, nausea and occasional diarrhea.
  3. Must realize that your spouse has no control over this affliction. More often than not, she will deny a problem even exists as denial is common.
  4. Must form a support group. You need to know you're not alone - and there's no shame in admitting your wife has a problem. My support group, for instance, involves men who truly enjoy Harley Davidsons, four-day weekends and lots of scotch. SKIING, SNOWMOBILING, HUNTING, FARMING, FISHING ALSO WORK. Most times, she is unaware that I am even gone, until the precise moment she needs help getting a 50-pound bag of grain out of the truck.

Now you can better see how O.C.E.A.N.S. affects countless households in this country and abroad. It knows no racial, ethnic or religious boundaries. It is a syndrome that will be difficult to treat because those most affected are in denial and therefore, not interested in a cure.

So, I am taking it upon myself to be constantly diligent in my research in order to pass along information to make it easier for caretakers to cope on a day to day basis.

Submitted by Dick, Williamsport, Md.
 

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New Year's Resolutions for Horses
  • I will NOT roll in streams or try to roll when my human is on my back.
  • I will NOT leap over large nonexistent obstacles when the whim strikes.
  • I will NOT walk faster on the way home than I did on the way out.
  • I promise NOT to swish my tail while my human is cleaning my back feet.
  • I promise also NOT to choose that particular time to answer nature's call.
  • I will NOT bite my farrier's butt just because it is there.
  • I will NOT confuse my human's blond hair for really soft hay.
  • I will NOT wipe green slime down the back of my human's white shirt.
  • I will NOT blow my nose on my human.
  • I CAN walk and potty at the same time. I can, I can, I can.
  • I will NOT stop and potty every time I pass the same spot in the arena.
  • I will NOT leave when my rider falls off.
  • My stall is NOT my litter box. When I have free access to my paddock, I will NOT go back inside to potty.
  • I will NOT try to mooch goodies off every human within a 1 mile radius.
  • I will NOT lay totally flat out in my stall with my eyes glazed over and my legs straight out and pretend I can't hear my human frantically screaming "Are you asleep?"
  • I will NOT chase the ponies into the electric fence to see if it is on.
  • I will promise NEVER to dump the wheelbarrow of manure over while a human is mucking my stall.
  • I will NOT grab my lead rope in my mouth and attempt to lead myself.
  • I will NOT have an attitude problem. I won't, I won't, I won't!
  • I will NOT pull my new shoes off the very next day just to prove that I can.
  • I am neither a beaver nor a carpenter. I promise I won't eat or remodel the barn or the new fences.
  • I WILL forgive my human for the very bad haircut, even though I look like a freak.
  • I accept that not every carrot is for me.
  • I will NOT do the Arab Teleport Trick when a bad/naughty/awful Horsasaurus Monster breathes at me.
  • I will NOT jump in the air and turn 180 degrees every time I see a bicycle.
  • I will understand that bicycles are NOT carnivorous.
  • I will NOT shy at familiar objects just for fun.
  • I will NOT bite the butt of the horse in front of me during the trail ride just to say "Hi".
  • I WILL put my ears forward and cooperate when it comes to photos.

Submitted by Natalie, Mt. Airy, Md.
 

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Thinking of dating or marrying a horsewoman? Please read the following carefully: 
  • Easy to Locate: She's either off on the horse or out in the barn.
  • Upholds the double standard: Smooches with the most bewhiskered beast, but recoils when a man needs a shave.
  • Owns one vacuum cleaner - and operates it exclusively in the barn.
  • A social butterfly: Provided another horsey woman gives the party. Falls asleep in her soup at all other functions.
  • Economy minded: Won't waste money on permanents, facials, or manicures.
  • A culinary perfectionist: Checks every section of hay for mold but doesn't blink when she petrifies dinner in the microwave.
  • Occasionally amorous: But never leaves lipstick on your collar, at worst, slight trace of chapstick.
  • Easy to outfit: No need for embarrassing visits to uncomfortable little boutiques. She can find all she wears at the local tack store.
  • Features a selective sense of smell: Bitterly complains about the sticky-sweet cigar smoke of others while remaining totally oblivious to the almost visible aroma of her barn boots drying next to the heater.
  • Unmistakable in a bathing suit: She's the one whose tan starts at the nose, ends at the neck, and picks up again at the wrists
  • A dedicated club woman: as long as the words "horse" or "riding" appear in its name.
  • Has your leisure at heart: Eliminates grass cutting by turning every square inch of lawn into pasture which, in turn, converts itself into mud.
  • A master at multiplication: She starts with one horse, adds a companion, and if it's a mare, she breeds it.
  • Keeps an eagle eye on the budget: Easily justifies spending six hundred dollars on tack, but croaks when you blow ten on bowling.
  • An engaging conversationalist: Can rattle on endlessly about training or breeding.
  • Socially aware: Knows that formal occasions call for clean boots.
  • A moving force in the family: House by house, she'll get you to move closer to horse country (and farther away from your job.)
  • Easy to please: A new wheelbarrow, custom boots, or even a folding hoof pick will win her heart forever.
  • Sentimental fool: Displays a minimum of six 8x10 color photos of the horse in the house and carries a crumpled snapshot of you (taken before you were married) somewhere in the bottom of her purse.
  • Shows her affection in unusual ways: If she pats you on the neck and says, "You're a good boy," believe it or not, she loves you.

Submitted by Ferrier Dick, Williamsport, Md.
 

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Horse Reality TV Shows
  • Joanne Millionaire: Rich young women are first introduced to the exciting world of horses. They become completely hooked on the finest purebreds, the best trainers, fabulous stabling and expert instruction. In the last episode...they discover they're penniless.
  • Survivor-the Endurance Ride: Ten elite show riders leave their oak tack trunks, their minimum wage grooms, their canopies and gooseneck living quarters behind to spend 2 days in Death Valley. They have to perform heinous acts such as cleaning their own tack, grooming and caring for their own horse, and getting along with other riders. As we sit back and watch riders succumb to torture, the strongest break away from camp to search for cell phone, golf cart and roach coach.
  • American Show Idol: Thousands of equestrians must audition in front of exacting judges who pick apart their ride using colorful evaluations such as "try tennis!" and "clucking to your horse makes you sound like a chicken". George Morris guest stars.
  • I'm a Dressage Queen, Get Me out of Here: A Prix St. Georges rider and her Hanoverian stallion are shipped to a working cattle ranch. In Episode 3, she ruins her full seat Eurostar breeches while closing the cattle gate. Unable to ride until her new attire is shipped, the local wrangler round pens her horse and starts roping off his back.
  • Matched by America: Contestants who are tired of looking for Mr. or MS Equine Perfection allow the studio audience to vote on which horse is truly the best partner for them. Tossing breed and color preferences to the wind, contestants discover that: 1) a good horse can be any size, age, color; 2) when you find the right match, there can be happy endings... watch for more.

And a new sitcom:

  • Studs in the City: Two young, hip, good-looking round pen trainers share a New York apartment as they learn about life, work, & love in the city. In the pilot episode, Pat gets arrested after slapping his chaps at a girl who won't turn & face him (she turns out to be an undercover cop), and Roger ends up in the emergency room after trying to round-pen his new girlfriend's Siamese cat.

Submitted by Julie, Middleburg, Va.
 

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A Letter from Your Horse

(original version)

  • When you are tense, let me teach you to relax. When you are short-tempered, let me teach you to be patient.
  • When you are short-sighted, let me teach you to see. When you are quick to react, let me teach you to be patient.
  • When you are angry, let me teach you to be serene. When you feel superior, let me teach you to be respectful.
  • When you are self-absorbed, let me teach you to think of greater things. When you are arrogant, let me teach you humility.
  • When you are lonely, let me be your companion. When you are tired, let me carry the load.
  • When you need to learn, let me teach you. After all, I am your horse.

And now, the REAL DEAL....................

  • When you are tense, let me teach you that there are lions in them thar woods and we need to leave NOW!
  • When you are short-tempered, let me teach you to slog around the pasture for an hour before you can catch me.
  • When you are short-sighted, let me teach you to figure out where, exactly, in the 40 acres I am hiding.
  • When you are quick to react, let me teach you that herbivores kick much faster and harder than omnivores.
  • When you are angry, let me teach you how well I can stand on my hind feet because I don't feel like cantering on my right lead today.
  •  
  • When you are worried, let me entertain you with my mystery lameness.
  • When you feel superior, let me teach you that, mostly, you are the maid service.
  • When you are self-absorbed, let me teach you to PAY ATTENTION. Remember how I told you about those lions in them thar woods?
  • When you are arrogant, let me teach you what 1200 lbs of "YAHOO LETS GO!" can do when suitably inspired.
  • When you are lonely, let me be your companion. Let's do lunch. Also, breakfast, snack and dinner.
  • When you are tired, don't forget the 600 lbs of grain that needs to be unloaded.
  • When you are feeling financially secure, let me teach you the meaning of "Veterinary Services".
  • When you want to learn, hang around - I'll learn ya!

Submitted by Denise, Somewhere in Ohio
 

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Things not to say to your farrier ... take 2
  • All it takes to be a farrier is a strong back and a weak mind!
  • He wonít stand for me either, but your ad said you were a professional
  • Can you come back? We are home now.
  • Let me get my twitch before we get started.
  • These shoes have been on for only 12 weeks, and they are getting loose.
  • Sooo, when youíre finished, do I have to wait an hour before I can ride him/her?
  • My horse hates men.
  • Yep, I put that stuff on their feet right before you got here.
  • Every time we turn him out he throws a shoe.
  • That donít look that hard!
  • Isnít it great to be outside all day?
  • Let me call my neighbors and their 5 kids. They have never seen a horse shod before.
  • It sure is HOT!
  • I used to shoe, and I can tell right away if youíre doing a good job.
  • Do those nails hurt him?
  • Heís normally gentle as a kitten, but it is the first time I have had a halter on him.
  • Honestly, I DO clean his feet
  • I havenít ever picked up his feet, but he seems real gentle.
  • Can you put these shoes on good and tight so that they wonít come off?
  • My vet said for you to call him and he will tell you how to shoe my horse.
  • He kicked the last farrier just like he kicked you.
  • Heís never been that bad!! What did you do?
  • The last guy I had wonít come any more. Can you come today?
  • I left them out in the field because it was such a nice day.
  • So, how much does your chiropractor run you a month?
  • Sorry - thatís my cell phone. I wonít let it ring under this coltís nose again.
  • He never does that for me.
  • My horse doesnít kick. ...well he has never kicked before.
  • Are you busy TODAY?
  • Can you make his foot smaller?
  • This is the first time he has EVER lost a shoe.
  • Since heís a colt, will you charge me half price?
  • I used to shoe my own horses, but I could never get the angles right. Do you think you could take a little more off that back foot?
  • My horse is lame. You must have cut him too short.
  • Let me help you clear out a place to work, Iíve been meaning to get out here and straighten up this old barn...
  • Thatís not the way the farrier did it back where I come from.
  • Can you save all the hoof trimmings for my dog?
  • Boy, you must have a strong back to bend over all day like that.
  • Heís just trying to swat the flies off you.

Read things not to say to your farrier ... take 1

Submitted by 'Blacksmith' Dick, Williamsport, Md.
 

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If Horses Were in High School, What Cliques Would They Be In?
  • Quarter Horses: Definitely jocks. Strutting around flexing those muscles, showing off their butts...definitely jocks.
  • Thoroughbreds: Preppies. Sometimes athletes, never 'jocks'. Monogrammed blankets, leather halters, Nike eventer shoes, the latest custom trailer and tack. They are the "new money" rich.
  • Appaloosas: Could only be the stoners. They like to trip acid so they can watch their spots move.
  • Arabians: RAH! RAH! SIS BOOM BAH! GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TEAM!! (need I say more?)
  • Shetland Ponies: Frightening, spiky hairdos, snotty attitudes and any color of the rainbow .... gotta be PUNKS. Some even sport tattoos.
  • Friesians: Big, buff, and always in black, they are the biker clique. Cigs hanging out of the corner of their mouths, dangerous glint in the eyes, daring anyone to cross their path.
  • Morgans: They're the nerdy teacher's pets, running around doing everything from yearbook to decorating the gym and ratting out the bikers, stoners and jocks. They have perpetual wedgies.
  • Drafts (all breeds): No real clique, they're just the big guys who sit in the back of the room and fart a lot (and then laugh). Who's going to STOP them?
  • Icelandics and Paso Finos: They're the little squirrely geeks who flit around a dance trying to fit in and fail miserably. The kind who wear Toughskins jeans from Sears (or would that be ripoff WeathaBeetas??).
  • Ahkle Tekl (Akle Takl? Ackle Tackle....!! Akhal Teke!!): Foreign exchange student(s). And no one can spell their names either.
  • Hackney Ponies: A breed this manic would have to be a band geek. Marching along with their knees and heads held high.....even going to the bathroom.
  • Warmbloods: Old Money Preppies, as opposed to the TBs who are new money preppies. All their tack is imported from Europe, they drink Perrier water and eat only organically grown feed. They look down on everyone and talk amongst themselves about summer in Paris and skiing in Gstad and wasn't it dreadful how provincial Spruce Meadows has become?

Submitted by Dick, Williamsport, MD.
 

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