Horsepeople have particular quirks and tireless nuances that make us create chores like ride, clean, feed, water, repeat. It may not make sense to the outside world, but horse owners and enthusiasts just get it.

Those of us who enjoy horses, well, we’re just a little different from the rest. 

I suppose the same argument could be made about all multitudes of livestock, but for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to stick with what I know, and that’s horse-type people.

Neubert family on horses
Photo by Laurie Rubin

While others lament over normal pet peeves, such as chewing with one’s mouth open or walking in the house with dirty shoes, horse people lose their cool over, say, how their reins are hung up, if their trailer is parked just so, or strangely enough, if a horse’s mane is flipped over on one part of their neck so that it doesn’t lay with the rest of the hair properly (guilty).  

We are drawn to thankless responsibilities. We create work when others find time to rest. Feed, clean, water, repeat. Often these things take place before and after a whole day of working somewhere else.  We’ve got a tidy, organized room dedicated to syringes, needles, every type of healing goop imaginable and the five main food groups: Bute, Banamine, Ivermectin, Regimate and SMZs. And on the flip side, I’d be impressed to scrounge up a Band-Aid or remember to buy AA batteries for use in my own house.

I have a very specific set of skills. I can bring a near-dead bottle calf back to life and doctor a deep gash in a tricky spot on a wild colt’s leg, but if my nephew claims to have a tummyache, I don’t have a clue what to do. I know what color combinations a breeder will get when crossing a homozygous black stallion to a heterozygous tobiano palomino mare, but I can’t remember who won the Super Bowl.

Most of us have stacks of bridles in our tack rooms, with shanks and ports of all sizes and reins and snaffles and combos out our ears, (constantly adding something “necessary” to the collection), but we always end up using the same three bits. We’ve got chiropractor adjustments and dentist appointments, acupuncturists, new shoes every few weeks and water therapy… for our animals. 

And then of course, there’s the topic of vacation.

When summer rolls around, I longingly listen to the details of my non-riding friends’ travel plans. 

“Wow, Fiji? Sounds amazing. And what a value with airfare included.” 

Though my mouth is saying these things, my mind is thinking “That’s almost a truckload of three-string alfalfa bales delivered!” See, as many of you might understand, hay is a form of currency in my mind. Sometimes I have a lot, sometimes I have a little, but I always want more. Everything is the equivalent of a certain amount of alfalfa, and I convert accordingly. 

Anyway, I get away here and there, but it hasn’t been Fiji. Although I feel I should mention, even if I did make it to said tropical destination, the concept of relaxation would be lost in thoughts and concerns of stud gates being left open and the real possibility of colic. My mind would be appeased in 15-minute increments twice a day, only once the hired help called and told me that everything was fine.

We are drawn to our horses because of how they make us feel. They are calming, challenging, rewarding and incredible all in one little sorrel body. We are happy to spend our “extra” time with them, because they have helped us find our place in the world, and offer us a special seat in which to see the world. 

And yes, we’re strange, but we’re in this together. My suggestion, if we ever find ourselves a little blue about missing out on exotic trips, needing a band-aid, or not having enough money for an actual human chiropractic adjustment? 

Buy another horse, of course.

it's cool to be cowboy

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