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« I'm mom and I get it. | Main
Saturday
Dec022006

Welcome to Pony Tail Club: I'm Dad & I don't get it.

jeffconnect.jpgI'm Dad and I don't get it.

I'm the Dad that got talked into buying a herd of manure producing beasts.

Every time I turn around I'm hearing stories about how someone died on a horse. I'll go with Kay Pope's saying, " Never get on something that's bigger and smarter than you are."

So now I'm stuck. My cars smell like horse. At times my house smells like horse. My wife and daughters hair smells like horse. Horse everywhere. It's obviously not a guy thing. Do you see guys at horse shows? Nope. Just little girls on horses and their moms who would like to be little girls on horses.

And what's up with the equine dress code? Surely any self respecting pony express rider wouldn't be caught dead prancing around in a circle while wearing a top hat and white breeches.

And since you've asked, yeah, I've ridden them dirty mules. Last time was when Maverick launched me off into some rocks. Great fun. Nothing like flying straight backwards while a 1800 pound animal tries his best to stomp the life out of you.

So... I don't get it. (I like soccer.) 

But of course, just looking at these pictures you can see how safe and fun it is.

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Reader Comments (17)

Yes, Gramsie gets it. I do not remember learning how to ride, but I was very young. I blame it all on my dad who learned how to trade horses when he was about seven or eight. His father was the foreman on a very large ranch called the Painter ranch in southwest Wyoming. My dad, Rulon Nixon, sat on the corral fence and watched as the ranch owner was trying to sell a horse to a prospective buyer. The prospective buyer asked the name of the horse. The owner said his name was Prince. My dad started to say his name was Old Jake, but was silenced by a finger to the mouth calling for silence. Prince sounds like a horse worth more money than a horse named Old Jake.

I have survived biting, being stepped upon, runaways that included jumping over gates (I did not fall off), being bucked off, bulls with no mercy, being shaken by the shoulder by an irritated bay horse who did not wish to be petted and bugged, and all the cool stuff, and I still love horses. My favorite childhood memories included having races while standing up on a bareback horse and going faster and faster to see who would fall off first -- my brother or me. Of course, we did not fall onto the ground, but only to the back of the horse. I have been knocked unconscious by a saddle (that had a broken cinch) and been awakened by a kind old horse trying to nudge me awake with his nose. His name was Popeye. The neighborhood thugs would pile on his back and Popeye would always buck them all off. When I was aboard and if I slid an inch off center from his broad back, Popeye would stop until I was once again squarely seated in the middle. I think he loved me, and I know I loved him.

My dad and I put Shelly on top of a horse in the middle of Christmas vacation when she was only fifteen months old. The horse was part of a team that he used to pull a sleigh full of hay for his cows. We were both very proud of ourselves, though I am confident my mother and his wife was probably wondering about our sanity.

However, one must put that into perspective. When she was about seven or eight, she looked at her father's prized quarter horse and decided it would look much more beautiful with a scalloped mane instead of a regular haircut. My Grandfather Cornia did not agree with her decision. So yes, I get it.
12.4 | Unregistered CommenterGramsie
Don't worry,
My dad is on the same page,along with my mom.She says, "I know how to hail a taxi cab, but as for horses I don't know." But she pays for my wonderful boy, and I am thankful for that!
Abby.
12.8 | Unregistered CommenterAbby
Hey didn't Maddy do this very thing like twice this year? I think she's got experience in this field!
To Dad:
You have my sincere sympathies but, that said, I'll also 'fess up. I have been horse-crazy since I was 2 and I'm now in my 40s. I have a little girl who shares my passion. And my husband is equally perplexed. But I'll say to you what I said to him -- boys cannot compare to the joy a girl finds in the warm brown eyes of a beloved pony or horse. Malls have no allure compared to the tickling whiskers of a beloved muzzle. And the cell phone chirping cannot compare to the deep-voiced whicker of a . . . well, you get the point. There's something very healthy and clean and vital about working with and caring for horses, bucketloads of manure aside. Being outdoors, in the company of equally passionate and enthusiastic people, the physical labor, and so on, are awfully good for anyone. But studies repeatedly show that they're amazingly beneficial for young girls. The self-confidence girls gain by working with horses cannot be duplicated in any place I know of -- tell me soccer or another sport and I'll retort that teammates cannot compare to the unconditional love a horse provides. If you have a zit or you're retaining water (horrors to a teen girl), the horse doesn't care and loves you all the same.
As for the terrifying photos you showed -- they're all eventing. And while I did event for the first part of my life, I discovered about halfway through that I don't like bouncing. So I switched to under-saddle classes and competition (i.e., no jumps). Dressage is a lovely discipline, but you need to find a barn that doesn't cater to DQs (otherwise known as Dressage Queens - temperamental, prima dona types). Yes, there's still risk, but find a trainer and instructor who can teach safety first (and above all else), with good horsemanship skills, and you're well ahead. Riding comes only AFTER learning how to safely and consistently handle a horse, anticipate its moods, anticipate its reaction to the environment, and so on. Basically, you earn the right to climb up.
It sounds like your daughter is well beyond this stage, but forgive me for a brief moment on my pedestal - so often, trainers/instructors hurry a child onto the horse's back, without any of the critical "ground learning."
Anyway, best wishes to you and your horse-crazy women. I feel for your perplexity, but applaud your support.
-- Elise
12.14 | Unregistered CommenterElise
Dear Dad,

When I was a little girl, my dad didn't understand, so I waited another 20 years to pursue, what I have discovered, is my life's true passion and purpose. Congrats to giving that to the women you love so they don't have to wait 20 years.
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