I Just Want to Scream
By Cindy Hale
Friday, September 4, 2009
We’re all horse lovers, right? Good. So, do you ever see something that is so offensive or so lacking in common sense that you just want to scream? I have. Either I’m trail riding or cruising in my truck from the feed store to the tack store when I witness some cringe-inducing scenario. The first few times it happened, I held my tongue. Far be it for me to become the uptight crazy horsewoman in town. But lately I’ve become emboldened. Now I open my mouth and say something. Usually I’m fairly diplomatic. Other times… not so much. Just so you understand that I’m not nitpicking about mundane matters, here are three situations where I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and a recollection of what I actually said:
1. “You really shouldn’t gallop your horse on the asphalt.” The first time I said this was when I was sitting in my truck at a stoplight, just past the brand new shopping center that’s home to a boot store and a used tack shop. All of the crosswalks in town are designed specifically for riders; there’s no need to rush across the four lanes of traffic. Honest. The signals are plenty long enough. Yet every so often I’ll see someone who apparently thinks it looks really cool for their horse to sprint across the road in front of the cars’ headlights. Needless to say, it’s not cool. Perhaps these riders have never heard of road founder or ringbone.
2. “Did you not notice that your horse is head-bobbing lame?” Okay, I realize that there are plenty of older, arthritic horses that still need their daily exercise. And lord knows Wally has a few days a month where his creaky hocks bother him. But I’m not referring to these types of horses. What makes me want to scream are riders who either are clueless or unsympathetic about the fact that their horse is three-legged lame. It’s as if they made the decision to ride, gosh darn it, and they’re going to ride their horse, no matter what. Ugh!
3. “Excuse me, but I really don’t want to listen to your cell phone chatter for the next 4 miles.” I’ve come to accept that cell phones are ubiquitous. And for safety reasons I believe that trail riders should carry one along in their saddle bag or clipped on to their belt. But seriously, is any conversation so important that a rider has to yammer away non-stop while they’re out on the trails? When I trailer Joey or Wally out to a park or recreation area for a ride, it’s to commune with nature. It also gives me a chance to unwind, to relax, and to bond with my horse. I want to hear the clip-clop of my horse’s hooves, the gentle squeak of leather and the sound of birds chirping in the leafy canopy overhead. I do not want to be entertained by some stranger up ahead who is chattering on her cell phone while her horse picks its way down the trail. Neck reining was not invented for the purpose of holding a phone with the free hand. Rather than forcing me to shift my horse into high gear and pass, or selecting a less desirable fork in the trail to end the auditory torture, could you PLEASE JUST HANG UP AND CALL BACK LATER? Sheesh!
Wow, I feel so much better, venting like this. And I didn’t even have to raise my voice.
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I Just Want to Scream