…that suffers can pass without merit in the eyes of God.
The Three Musketeers
…that suffers can pass without merit in the eyes of God.
The Three Musketeers
Featured Image: Jeanne Manford marching with her son during the 1972 New York City Pride Parade.
I can’t say I feel proud that progress has finally been made in my country this week, though, admittedly, i am overjoyed. The fact that the federal decision to legalize gay marriage was not a landslide, that it passed by 1 measly vote, leaves me slightly bitter too. It is in bad tone though I suppose to harp on the circumstances of a clear win.
I’ve been super sick, so i don’t aim to organize this well and my point is liable to get lost here or there. But, as per my usual, I promise to get wherever it is that I am going.
It is hard to describe what love of a horse is to those who do not have/ride their own horses (pats self on back). One of the most common misconceptions is that the relationships equestrians have with their horses are akin to those people have with their pets. Ages ago, when I didn’t know better and made the occasional error of gushing or worrying out loud about Ryllin to non-riders, I found, much to my chagrin, that they tended to relate my feelings to their experiences with their dogs. It became clear to me then that non-horse people really are not able to understand what I am talking about. Horses are nothing like dogs, keeping them is nothing like keeping dogs, loving them is nothing like loving dogs, they offer more, they take more, they make you a million times more crazy. The real distinction between the relationships arises when it comes to horses that are really being used, the more rigorous the riding/sport the more involved and complicated the relationship tends to be. But I’ll espouse on that in Part 2.
The financial investment alone is a hundredfold. Combined with the time investment, which is so significant that for most of us it leaves little to no room for any other hobbies, horse ownership/equestrianism is elevated to the classification of a full on lifestyle. This is also one of the chief reasons many horse people are completely off their rocker. What horses offer their riders is also markedly different from the offerings of dogs, but that portion of the lesson will be delivered in careful detail come Part 2.
For now, and with all that being said, I want to focus strictly on physiological issues which separate horses from everything else pet-like, and how those issues affect the hapless humans endeavoring to manage them. Unlike dogs, horses are dishearteningly fragile. Most people don’t realize that horses can drop dead on a dime. It would seem that these animals had never quite acclimated, evolutionarily speaking, to domestication, and, despite their imposing dimensions, are utterly frail. Their bodies can be potentially riddled with a slew of debilitating conditions, many of which, if gone unnoticed or not properly addressed, easily turn deadly. The two most common sources of horse fatality are their guts and their feet. Horse feet are complex structures, somewhat poorly designed to withstand the rigors of supporting over 1000 lbs, especially when that 1000 pounds is hurling itself over obstacles or performing complex aerial maneuvers. The saying goes “No foot, no horse”, and it is quite literal, a bad foot means at best, a lame horse, and at worst, a dead horse. Lots of care goes into maintaining healthy feet on a horse, from shoeings and trimmings, to supplements, dressings and careful selection of footing. A foot can go bad in a day, dietary issues, bad shoeing, genetic issues, weather issues, ground conditions, stall conditions, etc. all can cause deadly foot disorders and diseases. You might say, what’s the big deal, one foot goes bad, there are three more. Be assured, a horse needs all four of its tiny feet to equally distribute its enormous weight, one foot gone, means the other three will go shortly thereafter, as they cannot take the horse’s weight in perpetuity. And no, horses can’t just lie around while it gets better, like dogs. A horse’s weight and intricate circulation/nervous systems prevent it from being able to lie down for long without dying. I kid you not, a laid up horse will basically crush itself from the inside, its organs will go out one after another under its own weight causing permanent damage to its nervous system and eventual death. So not only can a horse with a compromised foot not be ridden but often, the degeneration of the hoof structures is so severe that it has to be put down. A sport horse, who becomes too lame to be ridden, is a tragedy in itself, as the amount of work, time and feeling that goes into creating an effective riding partnership between horse and rider is massive, but when said horse has to also be put down, the dimension of loss is on another level.
Second most common and sudden horse killer, that all horse people live in constant fear off, is colic. Again, seems innocuous enough right? I mean who hasn’t had a little colic, a bit of constipation here and there, some gas? Well, if you’re a horse, the word colic carries with it weight equal to that of words like cancer or apocalypse. In short, due to the unique anatomy of equine stomachs and intestines, indigestion kills. Kills suddenly and mercilessly. So there is that. It’s definitely nothing like when a dog gets upset stomach and barfs all over your favorite duvet. Not only is a horse physically unable to regurgitate its food btw, i.e. throw up, but as I had mentioned earlier, it can’t even rest it off on its back, since even laying down for too long is deadly to horses.
Another thing to mention is that unlike dogs, horses cannot breathe through their mouths, so when they have a cold, or an allergy, they can easily suffocate and, again, die. For the same reason horses often croak from simple choking.
With these few example, I am trying to illustrate why dog owners have no comprehension of what goes into horse ownership. No one really understands what it’s like to be dealing with a horse health problem, how all consuming and exhausting it can be, except for horse people of course. And this is just one dimension of horse ownership, the highly redacted physiological one. It is also why horse love is nothing like dog love. The more attention and worry something requires, never you mind money, the more significant the place it occupies in our worlds. Just from the perspective of wellness, horses are infinitely more complex and demanding than dogs. After spending years worrying and obsessing about every cough and every limp, the feeling we develop for our equine partners is infinitely deeper and more involved than the fuzzy uncomplicated affections we feel towards our sweet canine companions. It’s just simple math. Involvement and investment is commonly proportionate to attachment and meaning. The harder we work at something, the more we value the product of our labor. In the case of horse ownership and equestrianism, a live, sound horse is the product.
—–>Part 2// Why Horse love is nothing like dog love // The partnership, the sweat, the guts, the glory.
Though I have many easy enough days volunteering at the shelter, there are hard ones as well.
Luckily for me, I am not the kind of person who greatly loves all dogs. I feel deep compassion for all of them, but otherwise I am almost as dog selective as I am people selective. Furthermore in an effort to steel myself against attachments I do my best not to get to know the animals. I have to remain stoic in order to be able to help them, the alternative would be completely falling apart. I fully expect that at some point in my life I will crack and dabble in animal hoarding, there will be an intervention of some kind, it’ll probably make it onto the news. Local woman on the run from authorities with her 100+ dogs in tow, armed with biscuits and not at all dangerous. Anyways….
During my volunteer hours I usually concentrate on getting out as many dogs as possible, I am all about efficiency. Once in a while though, it can’t be helped, I get caught inside a quiet moment in the shade of a tree with an animal who puts its head in my lap as if it belongs there, as if we are the oldest of friends.
He lays there quietly, listening to the earth like he speaks her language. He stares up at the sky, takes deep breaths of the grass, he is young, but he won’t waste his energy on spastic antics, no, he wants to take the world in best he can, while he can, he knows he might not be long for it. He leans into my hands, but does not coax their movement, my fingers press gently into his coat. He seems calm, but his heart is beating fast, I think from joy. I have to bring him back to his cage. Eyes close then open slowly to look at mine, then close again. By the next time he opens his eyes I am completely wrecked. That dog destroyed me for the duration of this entire day. I cried over him, I cried after him, I cried during dinner and I am crying now, as I write.
First night in Vegas, after the very tardy females (described in Part1) finally made their way down to us, we took the party to Tryst (gag), it was only the first spot on our nightlife itinerary. Once there I started jumping around to awesome jams in my usual overly bounding fashion which caused my tiny clutch to pop open, over And over, scattering its contents all over the floor. When i was finally sick of it, I proceeded to take it off of myself and placed it 3 inched away from my leg on a small white couch next to which my group was congregating. A couple of girls sat on the couch across my little couch and I paid them no attention. Between them and my couch there was a glass coffee table, on the other side of the couch was a tall glass railing, it was essentially a cul-de-sac situation. I never moved from where I was, but I did get enthralled in some gratuitous posing and voguing with my friends in a group picture kind of scenario, the photo shoot lasted no more than 2 minutes, when it was over I reached down to grab my purse but all I found was the couch, empty.
My heart sank, it was gone. What struck me most in that moment was that I knew it to have been deliberately taken, stolen, right from under my nose, all within a single minute. It seemed hard to believe that just a minute ago it was there and all was right with my little world, but now it was gone, likely beyond recovery, and with it were gone my precious phone, my id, cc’s, all sources of money, my favorite eye liner and any chance of salvaging the trip…..The bag was a bit of a favorite too, a vintage thing I picked up in Paris many years ago, by a designer whose name rhymes with Janelle. Thankfully my car key was not in the bag, if it were, not only would I have no way of driving myself home, but it would cost a whopping 600$ to replace it and I would have been stuck in a Vegas hotel with no ID waiting for a backup key to be overnighted, it would have been an injury on top of injury kind of situation! The two girls from across the table were gone also. It all went down so quickly that I knew it was quite possible my eyes were still on the thieves, but I would have never been able to discern them from the crowd, so many people around us were buzzing and moving, music was loud, lights low, and I didn’t know what the two girls who sat across from us looked like at all.
The futility of the situation, the utter helplessness and lack of recourse were most disturbing. I just wanted to rewind to 3 minutes ago and NOT put my things down. The fact that I got preyed on in a careful and calculated way was another strange consideration, as I don’t believe I had ever experienced being targeted like that before. Victimhood left an instant oppressive kind of bitterness in my mouth. The problem too with such a small clutch is that it can easily be hidden from sight inside clothing or even a slightly larger bag. There was no hope. My friend though didn’t panic, knowing that it had just happened she immediately mounted an organized pursuit. I could expect no less from her as she is certifiably a genius and as good an egg as one can hope to be. In her infinite wisdom she instantly popped on the Find My Iphone tracker app and started tracking my phone with her phone. To our amazement it worked, they did not turn off my phone, probably because we were close behind them and they were too focused on exiting the club rather than going through the bag. There it was, the tiny dot, a beacon indicating my phone’s movements on a map; as it traveled across her phone screen we raced after it. The chase took us out of the club and through the casino, then around it. I’ll be honest I had no hope, I felt that even if for a while we were close to whomever was in possession of it, there was no possible way that we could know exactly who it was, as the tracker is not that precise, so gaining on the thieves was essentially useless. But she did believe, she was certain that somehow we would catch them. She ran through that casino in her high heels as if her feet weren’t killing her, threatening to beat the bitches up, and that was enough to distract me from my hopelessness, to make me at least remember that of all the things I suddenly did not have, I still had an amazing, true, self sacrificing friend. At one point we found ourselves amongst scattered people in the heart of the casino floor, the phone had stopped moving, two girls seated at some slot machines stared at me from a handful of feet away, I stared back trying to scan them for any sign of my bag or anything else otherwise suspicious. I was not able though to be thorough as I had to be mindful of the apparent rudeness. One of them, having realized that they were staring at us and we were staring back, told me that she liked my dress. I muttered that we were tracking a stolen bag and that the phone tracker took us to that area and this was why we stared at them also. I don’t know why or where we moved to after this but we ended up running again and tracking again and never laid eyes on anyone else specifically.
My friend alerted every casino employee, called the police, a couple of frazzled floor guards ran around with us. The attending officer was obliging but entirely useless, he kept repeating that I needed to fill out a police report, which was distracting if not downright obstructing to our search. I kept refusing to do so and telling him that it was a useless proposition and an exercise in futility, we were stuck in a kind of struggle between staunch procedure and dogged contumacy. Shortly thereafter and rather surprisingly the phone had appeared to stop moving. Its location was pinged on the map as somewhere right outside the front door of the casino, where an abundant landscape of planters, trees, bushes and shrubbery was overwhelmingly lush, expansive and completely impenetrable to eyes. We suspected that as the thieves ran out the front door they hurled it into the shrubbery or one of many dozens of trashcans around the perimeter. It definitely wasn’t moving anymore. We looked and looked and looked, for hours, we climbed through everything we could, scoped out the trashcans, peered into manicured hedges, my friend even tried to sneak into the valet area, she was convinced that it was stashed away inside a parked car. All to no avail. Hours later I finally just couldn’t do it anymore. Although my friend was searching with no less enthusiasm than before, I told her that I was done, I was freezing, she was freezing, we had wasted the night. I had wasted her night and I felt terrible about it, as she is a full time student with a full time job for whom getting out of town for a few days is a seldom, well deserved and much needed respite. It was hard to give up, because we knew that my phone at least was somewhere within feet of us, and with it maybe even my bag, but it was time to give up. I went back to our hotel, asked for a courtesy reservation cancellation and started packing to leave first thing in the morning. For me the trip was over. I cancelled all my cards too. I turned on the phone tracking app on my computer and watched the same blinking beacon indicating my phone’s presence somewhere in that same area outside the Wynn, as stationary as it had been for the past few hours. It was possible too that it was in one of the rooms above the front awning, as the locator does not indicate latitude. Still, I imagined it laying somewhere in a bush or in a trashcan and for a moment wanted to go back and resume the search. But I was exhausted, upset and soon thereafter fast asleep. A phone call to my room startled me back into consciousness. I looked at the clock, it was only 40 minutes after I had last looked at it, 5:30 am. I don’t usually pick up hotel room calls, but I did this time. It was a floor worker from the Wynn, she was informing me that they had found my bag! WHAT?!?! How did she even know where to reach me?! It was completely unbelievable. She said my phone was in it. WHAT??!?!?! I ran out of the room, jumped in a cab and rushed over there. Minutes later she was handing me my bag, my phone was inside! so was my ID and my now useless debit cards. The eyeliner was dubiously gone. Where did she find it? Stuffed in the wastebasket of one of the many stalls in the ladies bathroom next to that exit where we searched. It must have been there all night. A bathroom attendant found it. I had checked that bathroom earlier and even looked into a few wastebaskets, but it seemed so unlikely and there were so many that I wasn’t at all thorough.
Unbelievable. This poor bathroom attendant lady found it and turned it in, just when my faith in humanity had completely dissipated she single handedly renewed it. Elated, incredible, amazing- are just some of the words to describe my feelings. It seemed unbelievable that they didn’t steal my Iphone 6 or even the clutch itself.
I didn’t have to go home after all. I just had to borrow money and reconfirm my reservation! Later that night I thought about how or why someone would hastily dump such a profitable score and theorized that the two girls staring at us were likely the culprits. If not them, then it was someone else who saw our energetic, pointed search through the casino and got scared. Although we never locked onto the thieves specifically, they must have panicked at the notion that we might shortly do so, and that they might get stopped or searched before making their way outside, so they bolted for the bathroom and dumped their bounty, as not to be found with it on their persons.
The fact that my things were returned to me is a kind of miracle really. An Iphone 6, a Chanel clutch…….nothing short of a miracle. The hotel worker located me because the bag still had my hotel key in it, she called the hotel and got them to put her through to my room, as she had my ID. An utter Vegas miracle. If it wasn’t for my friend I doubt it would have been possible, as it was her unrelentingly energetic pursuit that likely spooked the thieves and led them to abandon their scheme along with my property.
Ladies, never ever ever put your things down in Vegas, or carry a big ass bag with some bright, preferably neon! coloring so it can’t be easily snatched and concealed. The rest of the trip went swimmingly. We had a truly indulgent dinner at Delmonico’s, then watched the Britney show from seats so close I swear I could smell her. Although Britney herself is a bit anemic these days, her dancers are an utterly mesmerizing lot. The show itself definitely represents something vital from all our childhoods, it is nostalgia of the best kind, so we were beyond thrilled, singing along enthusiastically when not completely overtaken by uncontrollable shrieking and giggling. Etc. Etc. Etc.
We’re off to Vegas again in April, this outing will be exceedingly cool as the lot of us is converging from all over, 1/3 of the party is arriving from Miami, the other 1/3 from CA and I, of course roll in from Arizona, it’s a triad of gurlzzz, a trifecta, a triumvirate, triptych. Then I think there will finally be some legit travel in the official summer and into far away lands, right now Thailand and Spain are on the itinerary in the upcoming few months. There is also NYC as I will be ushering my baby brother off to college! I am definitely psyched. After all that I am finally relocating back to California TO LIVE, which is most exciting of all, because I miss my mommy and daddy something awful. Anyways…blah blah blah. This is me & my dad, just because. 😀