Part 1//Why having horses is nothing like having dogs

writing

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.

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The many things I wish for today.

miscellaneous

“I wish finding likable people with whom I could socialize and build history wasn’t such a Cyclopean feat. That’s right, I said Cyclopean.”

You might be thinking, what does that horse picture have to do with this post? Nothing. It’s just a cheap ploy to get your attention, as often my illustrations are in fact.

Some days, amazingly, I don’t really feel like externalizing my vibrant inner monologue. On these days I just want to blend into the desert scenery, become a part of the landscape, disappear into a gerbil hole. But I am not a cactus or a gerbil, so I resign myself to eating tons of candy (has anyone seen those giant M&M’s called Megas? Incredible) and making lists. Here goes.

I wish my hair would quit growing, cutting it really puts me out.

I wish I could understand the attraction of Twitter & Instagram, but I fear I am falling behind and modernity is no longer in my purview.

I wish I could write plot as well as I can write emotion and dialogue, then I could identify myself as a writer & not just a writer type. But no such luck.

I wish I could mourn less those moments passing or passed, and celebrate more the moments yet to come.

I wish the hint of sadness which resides perennially in my heart would vacate its chambers, and move, preferably out of the country. I hear France is nice this time of year.

I wish people didn’t assume my boobs were fake, it really bothers me, because I really can’t stand breast implants and women who get them. Sorry women, not sorry.

I wish pointed words made themselves readily available when I need them, and not 3 hours later when I don’t.

I wish memory was a trustier, less precarious component of my intellect.

I wish Santa Clause was real and cancer wasn’t. I know that’s a bit reductionist. The heart wants what it wants.

I wish desiring and possessing weren’t mutually exclusive.

I wish finding likable people with whom I could socialize and build history wasn’t such a Cyclopean feat. That’s right, I said Cyclopean.

I wish syrup was a constant table side accompaniment like salt or pepper.

I wish once a month my uterus didn’t have to undergo such tremendous discomfort.

On the culture shock of Wharton, Texas & some of its subsequent charms

writing

At first arrival, I’ll confess I thought I might not be able to enjoy myself in Wharton. However over the last couple of days Wharton has grown on me just a little bit. It has its dubious charm. In Wharton, Texas I am looked upon as skinny. Repeatedly and much to my jubilation people have asked if I am a model. Whilst I battle the bulge in Scottsdale and Los Angeles, here I could stand to gain a few. This has definitely played a part in my recently improved opinion of the town. 😀

Disclaimer: It is always hard to speak critically or even just observationally about anything from the vantage point of privilege. Automatically shadows of snobbishness, conceit or arrogance are cast on the narrative. I do not think that I am better than anyone because of the advantages afforded to me in life. The place from which my opinions stem is not one of disparagement or disregard, I am aware of the difficulties faced by these areas, aware of why things are as they are, I do not discount the individuals when I speak in generalities, or underestimate the value of their characters and souls.

Although I realize that many areas in the U.S are much like Wharton, and it is by far not the worst or the most rural; to me, it presents with a real culture shock. This experience is akin to that of a person from a developed country visiting a third world country. I cannot help but be slapped in the face by first hand awareness of how different people can be, how varied their priorities, their tastes, their standards of living and ambitions.

Lululemon and Starbucks do not govern the lives of people in Wharton, but neither does what could be conventionally described as “good taste”, moderation, aesthetics, nutrition, fitness, health, education or dental care…etc. To me the lifestyle led by most here is starkly different from what I know. But admittedly, I had lived a somewhat insulated life, without having much need to ever leave my primary comfort zones. Where I thought there was an economic gap between south and north Scottsdale, I think there is a planet gap between Scottsdale and Wharton. Everything from the pace to the motivations of life here is different. In Wharton people seem to either work very hard or barely at all. Farming and fracking are the things putting bread on the tables of a vast majority, as is every fast food franchise known to man. Few here have heard of such luxuries as Trader Joes, Wholefoods,Tofu…. Organic, yoga or Crossfit are not terms widely used or understood. Ordering coffee at the single coffee shop in town is a strange and somewhat frustrating experience, it’s almost as if although we speak the same language we cannot reach an understanding. I realize this is because people here do not alter their orders and do not express arbitrary preparation preferences, like people in LA are accustomed to doing. It is not a realm for the pampered or the particular. I have done my part thus far in giving LA girls a decidedly bad name.

There is no shortage of plump cows, languidly parked under shady trees and in fields, living their lives beneath the Texas sky on God’s green earth. As all animals should. Such sights feel to my heart like hugs. People are extremely nice, kind, polite, they appear to be quite united in their communal humanity. This is the advantage of a small town, without a great socio economic discrepancy. Considerations of wealth, ambition, vanity, competition, city stress, do not afflict these people or divide them in the ways that they do in other areas. It is a simpler world that I think breeds a kinder folk. As far as I can tell racial tensions don’t prevail here, people seem to live on equal footing, healthily intermixed. I can’t be sure, but from my limited observations, humans are less divided by race in this small town than in many other liberal, more cosmopolitan areas on the west coast, which is ironic. On the west coast although equality is a highly esteemed and hailed aspiration, it is not necessarily as much of a reality as it appears to me to be in Wharton. Again I think this is because socio economically everyone is in a somewhat same boat here. They occupy their small world together, they farm the same land, frack the same ground and drink the same beer in the only bar in town.

P.S. Lena, is the little Polo pony I got to ride on the 30000 acre ranch which is home to the Polo farm, and it was a truly beautiful thing. Not only is the scenery expansive and robust, but I have arrived at the conclusion that Polo ponies are perhaps the most fun to ride of all equine athletes. They are alert, very forward, have excellent endurance and listen very closely to their riders.

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I am in the middle of NOWHERE…Starbucks is 28 miles away :O

writing

I have a few things worthy of reporting. Right this moment I am perched uncomfortably in an aisle seat of a US Airways plane. I paid 37$ extra dollars to change into this seat while checking in, as the seat that had been assigned to me was in the very tail of the plane. Tails of planes don’t bode well for me, uncontrollable nausea leads to rampant vomiting which leads to awkwardness between me and those hapless few seated near me. But now, in my +37$ seat in the very front of the plane, I am pissed, because the plane is half empty. I could have used my will and my legs to move into it free of charge. This is bullshit, Us Airways. I am done with you. *Shakes fist in air.

So where am I going? I am going to Houston, or rather Wharton, Texas! I had never been to Texas, but I just read that Houston is something like the first major U.S. city to have an openly gay & female mayor. A double whammy. That’s darn amazing to my thinking, and in Texas? Who could have imagined such a thing was possible? Progressive, inclusive thinking and a democratic election process based on merit, free from bigotry and sexism is like my catnip. So even though I have also been told that Houston is an utter shithole filled to the brim with pollution and strip clubs, I am very excited to visit this shining example of the modern age. First thing I discovered while peeing, that Houstoneans are quite a wordy bunch, where paper is lacking they see not an obstacle, but an opportunity. photo 3 copy

I love airports. I love them for a few reasons, but mostly because the people watching is superb. A complete spectrum of humanity is dished up in all of its glorious variety. If ever Aliens needed a good sampling of the human species they could just abduct the contents of one airport and be done with it.

I take airporting very seriously, I spend a dubious amount of time trying to figure out what to wear to the airport and doing something to my hair so that it falls just so atop my head. Most of the times allI can come up with are pajamas and unkempt pixie buns, but whatever I decide on has to fit the mood just right. It’s not so much a vanity thing, as an exercise in disguise. Alas, I am not at all happy with my outfit today. The airplane is very chilly, at least I am glad to be wearing long sleeves, as is my custom. One important rule of airport fashion is to wear things that offer full coverage to skin, as you simply don’t want to be touching anything here. Trust me.

Now for a little racism. 😛 Originally, before everyone dispersed evenly across the half empty plane, I sat in a row with two gentlemen. One very Asian and elderly, quite like Mr. Miyagi, the other very Mexican and somewhat surly.photo 2

The Mexican man is wearing a slightly ornate, pinstriped dress shirt; extra tight, dark navy jeans and a hand tooled brown belt to match his brown, alligator skin, sharp nosed shoes. He has on Prada sunglasses and a Louis Vuitton carry on, the checkered kind not the monogram. He keeps looking at me slyly but obviously, it’s not the slickest operation I’d ever been subjected to. I imagine in Mexico he is quite the stud, the ladies must get slayed by the barrel full.

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Both have some appearance of FOBishness, and I am not saying this derogatorily, it’s just an observation. To my surprise and thorough amusement, when the Asian man finally spoke to me, I discovered that his is the tongue exactly like that of my Californian compatriots, every bit of his diction and cadence smacked of a Malibu surfer dude. It made my brain giggle uncontrollably. A few minutes later the Mexican man had occasion to utter a few words as well, he needed to use the lavatory, and once again I blinked confusedly as he sounded like my college English lit professor. Perhaps I should quit racially profiling….naaah that’d be no fun. I love surprises. America, the land of so many and so varying, I love thee.

I am ready for this plane to land, I am almost entirely out of sustenance. So far I had eaten 2 bags of chips, a rather hearty sandwich, a bag of M&Ms,one of those hummus snack packs, some grapes and some pretzels. I have Bugles left and Sprees. I am starting to get weird looks from everyone who has me in their sights. I am a bored plane eater. Sorry. Jeesh. Shameful plane behavior, like gratuitous overeating is part of the airporting experience. A part I love.

Back to where I am going. I am going to Wharton to hang out & ride ponies with my friend Radikah at a Polo farm which is currently employing her. Wharton is a very small town as far as I understand, and now that I am driving my little rental car over to it, I have realized that it is 1.5 hours away from Houston and literally in the middle of nowhere! First thing I did was I Googled the nearest Starbucks. T’is 28 miles away, ladies and gents. That noise you just heard piercing the atmosphere, was my screaming. Although Raddy has extended her hospitality to me, I can’t stay with people ever, I can’t even share a hotel room due to my social issues, of which I have plenty. So I booked a motel room in Wharton 2 miles away from the Polo club. It’s one of the fancier options, as far as I could tell, from the overwhelming list of 3 in total. And walking into the lobby, I am not disappointed. Splendor, thy name is Country Hearth Inn.photo 4 copy

I have no plans except to enjoy some nature, to ride crazy Polo ponies to my heart’s content, embarrass myself trying to play Polo, partake in various tomfoolery with Raddy, on and off horse back, & of course try not to melt from excessive humidity that everyone talks about….excessively. I will be reporting every bit of my impressions on here. It’s going to be AWESOME. 😀

P.S. Right as I arrived a foal was born. It was equal part beautiful and disgusting.

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On Hell & other people…

humor, miscellaneous

…in heaven’s clothing. It’s 100 F.

Riding out and amongst people is not exactly a private or modest endeavor. I always shelf my misanthropy for the Greenbelt park, because I am not an asshole. I realize that a giant horse galloping through a people park is a glorious sight, I wave at gawkers, slow down for children and say hello to everyone who says hello, with a big smile.

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But even at this, my most social, most pleasant, I am reminded of how icky people are.

1) There was the requisite dumbass who honked his truck horn, just for the shits and giggles of startling me & spooking my horse. Little did he know we’ve seen it all & are well acquainted with his special & commonly inbred subspecies of human.

2) Whilst quietly walking along the narrow area of the park where only a bikepath offers passage, a jogging prune ran past us & uttered “this is a jogging path”, giving me a decidedly dirty look. To which I said “then keep on jogging”. She stopped whipped around and glared at us intending to make a scene “what was that?”… There was no reason for me to engage further, so we walked on and away, I heard her squawk a few more words at my back. How do you instruct a middle aged woman in the ways of amiability. It’s a losing proposition, can’t force a soul into an old hag. What’s especially ironic is that it’s more a bike path than a jogging path. In short, she can eat horse poo and die. Let’s hope she hadn’t had occasion to procreate, lest my future children have to live amongst her children. 😛 😀

3) Then of course there are these people, shockingly always adults, who will both chase me on foot and pull over in their cars to take video with their phones?! This one is tough, a part of me wonders if, like a celebrity, I have forfeited the right to privacy by climbing on a wildebeest and riding her in civilian areas? Obviously I am not the subject of their awe, she is, and i can’t blame them. Still, we are not a public circus, I am a human being, albeit attached to a horse…and i have the same reaction to people disregarding my humanity & privacy as i would were i on foot. Imagine, you’re jogging, and some guy starts pacing next to you with his camera phone unabashedly extended into your face. It’s kind of infuriating. Thank the god i am not a movie star or a rock star, as i would surely be serving a life sentence behind bars for assaulting some hapless paparazzo. 😛 Conflicted as this situation makes me, I direct all my energy into not letting my middle finger pop up in profane indignation...I don’t want to ruin their video. That’s the kind of person I am. A NICE person, a beacon of hope in a rude, cold world. 😛

Just to clarify when people ask if they can take a picture I usually say yes, but turn away. Like members of some native american tribes, i subscribe to the notion that a poorly angled or otherwise unflattering photograph can steal my soul. 😛

Alas, can I really complain about anything when kisses are so readily received & tolerated.

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On Tattoos

advice, art, miscellaneous

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I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that 99.99% of tattoos I see make my eyes hurt. People, overwhelmingly, have terrible taste and a real nonchalant attitude about getting inked. Having taste and aesthetic standards in a tasteless world is almost a burden I tell ya. A daily struggle really, especially when you live in the white trash capital of all the places you’d ever been to, Arizona.
Here are some basic tips on getting a tattoo that doesn’t assault my aesthetic sensibilities. Please read carefully and commit to memory. Together we’ll make the world a better place!

1) Don’t just plop by the first parlor and pick shit out of a book, have some self respect, dig down for something with some real meaning, even if butterflies & sunshine are just your fave thing ever.
2) Not all tattooists are created equal, real tattoo artists specialize in different genres and have different strengths, they do not take in every and any Job, they refer.
2.5) You get what you pay for! A skilled professional charges 100$-200$ an hour and comes with a wait list. Sure it’s steep, but getting a tattoo is like growing a new limb, it will be a part of you forever, or at least until you come to your senses and leave Billy Bob for greener pastures.
3) Dark solid colored designs with lots of red WILL make you look like you have syphilis or a flesh eating disease, so think twice, for reference see Jenna Jameson circa 2014.
4) Please NOT the face, one day you might not want to be a gangster.
5) NOT the belly button, that’s just gross
6) Tribal tats..really? Still?! Gag
7) Mostly leg and calf tattoos on women just look bad.
8) This one might be too obvious, but worth the mention, no symbols in foreign languages, unless of course said symbol is in your mother tongue, still this might be a forever ruined proposition.

Tattoos are serious business. They can endow you with beauty; make you interesting; make you a banality & a cliche; completely misdirect people from who you really are; or just make you ugly. Much like clothes, except you cant just take them off.

On getting had

humor, miscellaneous

Right this moment, I am getting had.

Right this moment I am taking this picture, of my most noble beast stuffing her face with consolation grass. Why consolation? Today is the first day we ventured back out to the amazing Greenbelt, a jogging/biking park in the middle of the city! The journey to it, through town, is an easy 1.6 miles. We had made this journey a hundred times last year. I was pumped! Got up early, on a SATURDAY!

The second we stepped on it, she starts faking injury. Her favorite fake out is “Oy Mom, my butt hurts, oy, I must walk funny, not so funny that you make me eat yucky bute(anti-inflammatory) but funny enough so you worry.” I know this trick well, she knows me well too, however onto her I am, however eagerly I want to tear up that perfect, green grass, I am always doting Mama first. I always dismount, then she gives me that look “Oy, me so hungry, just one bite? just a taste?” and just like that, my best laid plans had gone to grass. She starts breakfasting, and I am relegated to  taking pictures and blogging about it from 10 feet away…like a fan.
Well played, mare. You win this time, but once I confirm your fakery is just that, you sly artista you, your ass will be flying up and down that grass like it’s on fire!

Update: The trickery has been confirmed! And the oscar goes to the the big bay cow, who has shown no signs of injury what so ever upon her return to the stable and during any of the following days. Sigh. Like I said, I got had!

 

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