Monday 21 January 2013

Horses. The safer, less apathetic choice.

Curmudgeon!  Where the hell are you.  It has been days since you posted last!

Sorry about that.  I have been busy working on material for my next blog - "Sailing Curmudgeon".  Here, you can read about the adventures of a bitchy woman who spent a full week living on a 44' Catamaran with her in-laws.  Much to the amazement of most people who know her, she did not kill or maim anyone.

Cheap rum in the form of kickass Painkillers plays a big role in accomplishing this feat - should you ever want to try it yourself.

However, another thing that helps to keep people who might normally drive you a bit nutty on their best behaviour and under your control is a nice, low-grade dose of fear.

No, not scared shitless fear - but just enough to loosen up their turds and make the heads on board smell really, really bad. 

And - sailing is kind of scary.  This is the third time Motard and I have done a bareboat charter in the British Virgin Islands and I was still not entirely at ease.  Granted, I did much better than the first time, when we were unfortunate enough to head out into wild blue yonder only a day ahead of a tropical storm. 

(Note to all the men out there - when your terrified significant other asks you, in the middle of the night, as your sailboat thrashes around on its mooring ball during a tropical storm... "Honey...I am scared.  Are we going to be alright?"... the correct answer is NOT.."uhh...I don't know...".  For her sake, do your best to fake some level of competence.) 

And this week, as we cruised around watching a variety of sailing families screaming at each other as their boats effortlessly ripped ropes out of their hands while unsuccessfully trying to hook moorings (reverse!  Reverse you moron, REVERSE!!)...

Or while their dingies flailed around in the pounding surf trying to kill a Grandma from Newfoundland - (who, although she couldn't swim her way out of a bathtub, really wanted to visit the pretty desert island with the crashing waves -Yikes, Grandma, watch yourself there...lifejackets don't do much to prevent "crushed by dinghy" type injuries..)

Or hearing tales of $500,000 rental boats caught up in coral reefs ("we just don't have coral like that in Boston!" was the explanation given to Motard by the bewildered wife of the incompetent captain)

....I spent a lot of time thinking about how lucky we are that horses, for the most part, are so wonderfully forgiving when it comes to hobbies we may choose to participate in that could easily kill us.

I know, I know - you have probably had at least one friend or relative tell you otherwise.  I am still sometimes amazed to find that there are people out there who are genuinely afraid of horses. Or truly think they are all shifty-eyed killers - especially after watching the documentary "Buck".  The man is a miracle worker, Curmudgeon, you really have to see it. Horses are DANGEROUS creatures.  So unpredictable. 

(Those among us who have actually worked with horses do have to agree about the miracle part of "Buck".  How the man manages to fill clinic after clinic with total morons flummoxed by the challenging task of getting a horse to walk in a semi-obedient circle around them on a lead rope without getting their arms chewed off or something is really quite amazing).

But for the most part - our horses really and truly are saints.

Think of all of the other adventure sports there are out there - skiing, motocross, snowmobiling, suduko - there is not a single other one where you can be entirely and hopelessly incompetent - but if teamed with the right piece of equipment - your equipment will do its best to make sure it is not hurt or maimed, driven into a wall, lit on fire, sunk to the bottom of the sea, smashed into other pieces of equipment... etc. etc... allowing you to cling on like a tick and have an awesome time even in the total absence of any skill on your part (provided you don't fall off and get trampled). 

Case in point:  Just about any yahoo with an opposable thumb to run the throttle thinks they can hop aboard a snowmobile and have some fun. Many of the same yahoos are afraid of horses.

Yet...Mr Motard managed to go on a 4 day horseback riding tour of Ireland - mostly at an out of control gallop - without dying:

Many thanks to our leader Kiki for helping to keep Mr. Motard alive
While a co-worker of mine wound up here after 4 hours on a snowmobile:
As I ran through the trees to help him, he yelled out "Don't worry Curmudgeon! I hit this tree and it stopped me from driving over the cliff!" Silver lining - every cloud. 

When staring in the face of danger, a good horse will go to remarkable lengths to save its own ass, and your sorry one will benefit as well.  A mechanical vehicle, mountain bike, boat or kayak or other item at the mercy of the wind or water will rip off your arms and legs, sand your face off on the pavement, or drown you with total indifference, and without even slowing down to give you time to ponder your own imminent death. 

And horses - they really aren't that unpredictable now, are they.  They are just like people.  They don't want to do work they don't have to do. They don't like being around people who treat them unfairly, or act like wanks. They get scared sometimes and freak out.  If they found themselves on a sailboat, they would have bad diarrhea too.

Next time your horse does something annoying or disappointing, and acts like a total nutbar while passing a potted mum at C or similarly irritating thing, don't take it personally.  Your sailboat would probably have already killed you by now.


  1. lol that's fabulous. And funny. And completely and utterly true.

  2. So true LOL I hopped on a motocross bike way too big for me once and ended up in two trees, a ditch, and then a camping ten! lol

  3. Ermahgawd, I have to send this post to my father. He's a lifelong sailor who somehow had the misfortune to end up with a horse-loving daughter. And having done the bareboat charter in the BVIs with my parents (although we were not killed by the sailboat), I can totally relate to this post.

    Thanks for the laugh!

  4. This is so true. People who ride, for instance, motorcycles, and are afraid of horses? And I couldn't agree more about "Buck". Too funny.

  5. So true. My dad knew Christopher Reeve and thinks horses = broken backs. And yet he scuba dives - IMO the most dangerous sport there is. If something goes wrong on horseback, you get a broken bone. Something goes wrong 60 feet below, you DIE or get the bends. Two heads are better than one, so having a horse gives you the extra head!

    1. I gave up scuba diving when the kids were little because I felt it was too dangerous for a mother to do. I still ride every day, though. Definitely the safer option.

  6. Hey, I just got back from the British Virgin Islands too. I didn't do anything as masochistic as sailing with in-laws, though. Fuck that noise.

    1. Oh come on now. Seeing the look of uncomfortable horror on their faces as saggy boobed topless 50+ yr old women hung from the rafters and got crazy with the whipped cream at Willy T's made it almost worthwhile.

      (It is kind of like Daytona Beach Spring Break for baby boomers. *shudder*).

  7. Next time a friend complains about their horse, I am most definitely replying with "don't worry, your sailboat would probably have already killed you by now"

  8. Oh, boy... as a horsewoman AND a sailor I TOTALLY get this. Hilarious and 100% true!

    I'm heading off to read this aloud to my son and husband. Son likes horses and is a fellow sailor, Husband thinks they're "meh," and yes, dangerous (and doesn't sail). This is also the fellow who used to race motocross as a kid, who says he likes riding things "that can't think for themselves." Maybe he will reconsider after I recite your cogent points? :)

  9. Very amusing post until memories floated out of the deep. "We're on the rocks!" not the sweet nothings I hoped to hear in the dark of night. All confidence in husband's Captain-ness flew away on the wind. I really got sick of waking up miles from where we'd "anchored". I no longer sleep if we're out on a boat.

  10. As a horsewoman and a sailor I must suggest that seeking some level of competence BEFORE going on an equestian trek or chartering anywhere makes both sailing and riding not only safer, but also lots more fun!

    Dressage Queen and First Mate

    1. And I have heard taking lessons on a Grand Prix Schoolmaster makes dressage a breeze! I think I will try that, then write a blog. Oh wait a minute...