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I love horses.  I’m sure this is shocking considering my first post included a picture of a horse wearing a hat but I wanted to say it out loud.  Horses are awesome and I love them.

That being said I sometimes wonder at how the equestrian lifestyle has a certain aura of glamor about it.  Mitt Romney didn’t help that during the last election.  And by the way, I really want to figure out how I can claim my horses as an expense on my taxes.  That would be super.

For me personally I often think that being a horse person means paying a premium for a consistent layer of dirt, horse drool and screaming muscles that you didn’t realize existed.  After a while the last one fades away, although God help you if you take a lengthy break from riding.  Riding utilizes muscles that you just don’t use in daily life.  And they secretly want to kill you.

Surely there exists barns where everything is spotless and the riders do not get so much as a flake of dust upon their pristine britches.  Maybe the Olympics.  Who knows?  I just know that I have never ever been to that barn.  The horse tribe is a grungy tribe but when you love something you forget about the dirt.  You also sort out the shirts that you don’t mind getting filthy on a regular basis.

Look, if I came back to horses after my precious baby Brego stepped on my spine then a little dirt is not going to deter me.  More on that story at a later date.

No day at the ranch with the horses is a day wasted, even if not all that much riding gets done.  Speaking of which, the day before I left for Atlanta I had just such a day.

The vet was coming out to the ranch for vaccines so it wasn’t going to be a particularly heavy day anyway because he prefers us to work the horses lightly after the injections, which, yeah, fair enough.  His day wasn’t great either as he ended up being an hour late because one of his tires got intimate with a nail.  That threw us a bit off schedule but you accept delays as a given when horses are involved.

My first ride of the day was Benny.  Sadly he’s no longer with us.

Not dead!  Sorry, that was seriously bad wording.  He’s been sold and has a new, happy home with a very nice lady.  I’ll miss working with him but he was my substitute horse and since Brego is no longer spine-stepping I’m okay with Benny moving on to new and better things.

ImageThat’s Benny.  Isn’t he handsome?

Anyway, first thing I’m on Benny for our usual workout.  He feels a little strange at first but Benny can get a little jiggly and stubborn.  Also he was recently ridden by a man who shouldn’t be allowed within five miles of horses, much less on top of them.  He’s gone now, apart from the semi-stalking, and Benny got better.  But that day something felt a little off.

We were making a twenty metre circle a few times at a trot when I looked down and noticed a shiny horseshoe in the dirt.  I hadn’t seen it before and I knew I would have  noticed.  You don’t want chunks of metal hanging about in the arena where horses do their work.  So I stopped Benny, had his hooves checked and sure enough he’d thrown a shoe. Well, that was the end of that ride.  We put Benny away and I waited to find out whether I would be put on Brego.  It hadn’t been decided whether Brego would need his sheathe cleaned with the other boys and the vet had the final word.

As it turned out the vet decided Brego needed a sheathe cleaning after all.  So there was no way I was riding Brego that day.  You see, to get the sheathe properly cleaned you have to administer a drug that makes the horses a wee bit… loopy.

Brego dopey

There’s the vet setting up the bucket and sorting out the elbow-length gloves.

Ah, possibly I should clarify about what I mean by ‘sheathe’.

Penis.  I mean penis.

Feelin’ the glamor, yet?

Brego dopey 2

This is the point where Brego was really feeling the drugs.  It was his second time experiencing this procedure so he wasn’t nearly as out of it.

I briefly thought about taking a few more pictures of him with my hat but Mom talked me out of it.  She was right.  It’s one thing when he’s a conscious participant but coercing him while he’s in a weakened state is wrong.

Brego dopey3

His bottom lip was so floppy!

Anyway, his sheathe got squeaky clean and I hung out with Brego until he was steady enough to walk back to his stall.  He only tripped twice on the way.  I was very proud.

Sadly he had to wait a while before having lunch because it isn’t safe for a horse to eat under the influence.  He was very happy once we finally deemed him adequately recovered.

Days like that are useful for life lessons.  See, some days you get sweaty and covered in dirt but on other days you sit back and watch your horse get his penis cleaned.

It’s all a part of being a horse person.