Thursday 15 February 2018

Girl, look at my horse (He's turned out!) - I'm clueless and I don't know it

Ok, I am not proud to admit it, but sometimes I watch Family Feud.

I know, I know.  It is not high-brow TV.  But it is something good to have on in the background while you are making dinner or lying around in the bathtub, or whatever else it is you are doing that only uses half or less of your brain.

That said - I did actually enjoy an episode the other night.  It was "Celebrity Family Feud" (where the word "Celebrity" is used very generously).  In this instance, the Celebrities were NBA versus MLB All Stars.  So they really were relatively famous and talented people (versus Bachelors versus Bachelorettes.  Or Paula Deen's family versus some other alt-right Celebrity family all vying for a chance to redeem themselves by doing something light hearted and charming with Steve Harvey on TV).

The channel caught my eye because one of the NBA players was Muggsy Bogues.  Why would I care about this?  Well, he was a point guard for the Toronto Raptors, which is somewhat interesting to me, however the real story here is that he is the "Arab / Appaloosa pulling off a 70%+ Grand Prix Freestyle" of the NBA.

See if you can guess which guy he is in the Family Feud lineup.

The answer to your question is... 5'3"

Now I could just spend some time writing about how, although Muggsy made it to the big leagues - literally - you are an idiot to think that he is living proof that there is no genetic advantage to being tall in the NBA, or some other obvious story line that ties into the fact that yes, Arab/Appaloosas can sometimes do dressage but picking a purpose bred animal is a much better bet. However - the more interesting part is - although it was Muggsy who got me watching in the first place- it was Pedro Martinez who got me to stay with the game right through to Fast Money.

Poor Pedro. He did everything wrong.

"Pedro!  100 average Joe Americans surveyed... their top answers are on the board!"

"Name a word that rhymes with Mommy!"
He proudly announced his answer was... MY-YUMMY!  (as in, the CSI infested city in Florida, said with a thick Dominican accent)

"100 men surveyed - how many fist fights have you been in!"
Pedro's answer - said with conviction - "15!"

Here is Pedro taking down the 72 year old manager of the Yankees
"Name someone who you have to negotiate with"
A-HA! - he had a great answer for this one too... "My Manager!"

I don't need to tell you the total count for his answers were 0 - 0 - 0

But even though he was possibly the shittiest Family Feud player I have ever watched and he fucked up the chances for his team to win the Fast Money for charity - he did it honestly.  With a smile and charming demeanor.

The problem wasn't Pedro - it was that he was oblivious to the fact that he lives in a different universe than the rest of us..  who have never punched anyone (even during times we have really, really wanted to), and have no one to manage anything in our lives (if I did, I wouldn't be wasting my time blogging, I would be working on something constructive).   He lives in a World where understanding the nuances of English literacy is not a must and having a crazy strong Dominican accent has no bearing whatsoever on your success in life. If you are a MLB All-Star, you can rhyme your favourite US Cities with whatever you would like, and no one cares.  Until you go on Family Feud.

It isn't that Martinez didn't work hard to get where he is today.  He came from very humble roots. And had to play for the Expos.

It is just that if you take him out of his world where he is a phenomenal success, and put him into an arena where we know more than he does, he comes off as a little out of touch and quirky.  You might possibly think he is an idiot.  Or, if you are less generous, a cocky asshole (really - who would assume anyone else has a Manager, let alone 100 people surveyed at a Mall in Springfield anywhere, USA?).  And sure, we could blame it on the fact that he made more money in a season than I will in a lifetime.  But really, he is just using a different frame of reference for the world.

And this, my friends, is how I found the Category 1, director's chair riding horse ladies to be.

They were a little quirky. And more than a little out of touch with what I was up against, as a Category 2, subset 2 rider.

But not once was one of them anything but over the top nice to me during my time spent coming and going from full training barns.

And why would they have any reason to NOT be nice?  We were not in any sort of competition whatsoever for - well - anything.

They got all of the trainer's attention - whenever they wanted it.  (I was once told that weekday morning lessons were out of the question for me, because the morning was dedicated to this type of client.  Oh well, I told myself - just one more reason to trundle off to the office - Day Care is not open to the plebes between nine and noon).

They had the most beautiful horses - so there was no need to put Ms. V down in sly, passive aggressive ways to make sure I knew that their horse was nicer, further along, better moving etc.  It was obvious.

And they had no desire to become great riders.  So the fact that I could actually sit the trot after months and months of trying, or do a canter transition without drama, or any of the other things that I had fought for and won - mattered not a whit to them.  They had no jealousy of anything I had or would ever accomplish with Ms. V.

What they were, was irritating and sometimes clueless.  Just like Pedro. It wasn't that they wanted to be this way - they just were, because of their point of reference to the whole situation.

If the trainer dropped me like a hot stone to help them with - well - absolutely everything they needed to have done - leaving me with an excuse disgused as a directive to "finish up with some free walk work" or something else that you knew meant "finish up with something you can't possibly mess up even if you are all on your own" - they didn't hear this.  They heard "oh great, Curmudgeon is just finishing up her lesson!  What great timing I have!  That means the trainer is ready to dedicate their attention to Me ME ME!"

It isn't their fault that net neutrality doesn't exist in the barnyard. Or probably, in many arenas of their life.  If everyone always hustles to help you out, you assume it's normal.

They also were not cognizant of the impact of the cost of things on my ability to pay for them.  "Great news Curmudgeon!  Clarice and I had a pow-wow and decided that we really need TWO tack stalls and a grooming bay at the next show!  And one stall to put our wicker furniture in so we have a dry place to drink wine when it rains (because it will. It always will)".  What do you say when you are on a budget and your cut of the cost of the "great" things others have agreed to as a committee without you show up on your invoice?

(Question - is there a politically correct way to say "if I keep my tack in the trunk of my car, and braid in my stall - do I still have to pay for all of this extraneous stuff?"  Answer - no).

Beyond the perks which money can buy - they were irritating in other ways too.  Not because they wanted to be.  It just couldn't be helped.  If someone has not tried to do difficult things on horseback - they have no appreciation for what difficult things on horseback are.  Or what might make it even more difficult for someone to do them.

So, as they pop in and out of the arena without warning trailing saddle pads or blankets, or up and down out of their director's chairs like targets at a redneck shooting range - they do not relate the fact that your horse is spooking to the fact that they are wandering around willy nilly in an unpredictable fashion.  "Oh, I guess Ms. V is just feeling HOT today!  Is she like this all the time?"  (No. Not when your ass stays in the chair. Or you are not here).

And so on.  But, none of this was done with malice or jealousy or any other intention that was in any way directed at me personally.  Or meant to make anyone feel badly, or anything else I could possibly feel catty about.

Sorry to disappoint.

So, as much as I am sure there are a lot of you out there that would like to hear that I hated these well to do bitches in their little Pikeur suits (really, who the Hell struggles into sweaty tall boots with no intention of ever riding?  That's just weird), really I didn't.  Because for the most part, they were good at heart.

It was no different than spending time with my friends with kids who don't understand that watching impromptu ballet performances, or being interrupted every three words by your darling child any time I try to speak, or being cajoled into buying yet another box of shitty frozen steaks for the latest hockey tournament or whatever just isn't my thing, but because you are generally nice people, and I enjoy your company more than any alternatives I have at my disposal - I will look past it, smile, and let it slide.

But make no mistake.  The minute one of these ladies decides to belly on up to the mounting block and become a "rider" - uh..well, things seem to change a little.


  1. Can't wait for the next bit!

  2. It warms my heart that you are back, please never leave again!

  3. You are SO on point with your observations, writing and humor. I have to filter all of it through the lens of not ever owning my own horse, and barely riding dressage (been H/J until last year), but I still get what you're saying. A lot of this is applicable to ANY barn. I also know the whole scene is distilled to purity at a dressage barn! :D
    SOOOO glad to have you back on the scene.