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Getting a Leg Up on Summer

By Cindy Hale

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

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Spring doesn’t last long out here. The season’s mild weather and cool mornings stick around for just a brief visit. In fact, spring always seems in a hurry to go someplace else, like a party guest who grabs a snack, sips half a drink, says a few hellos and then splits. Then the door opens and summer makes a grand entrance, complete with balmy nights, dry winds and oven-fresh heat that makes riding before noon a necessity.

I make other adjustments, too. For example, this is the time of year when I attempt to prepare my legs for public viewing. Like most horsewomen, my legs are not fit for shorts. First of all, they’re dotted with an assortment of battle scars. The abrasions came from riding huntseat in jeans instead of stretchy britches. The bruises on my shins, which are a lovely orchid color, have other origins. One is from getting tangled up in the wheelbarrow. The other is the result of getting whacked with a stirrup as I flung my western saddle into the back of my truck.

Besides doctoring my blemishes—my legs do indeed resemble those of a cheap claimer at the racetrack—I also have to break down and shave my legs with some attention to detail. I’m not quite to the point of grabbing my Wahl clippers out of my tack box, but the thought did cross my mind.

Finally, I have to introduce sunlight and its effects to the mayonnaise hue of my legs. Fortunately, my friend and fellow horsewoman Debbie introduced me to the wonders of self-tanning lotions. Although I have yet to perfect the application (I often end up looking like a red dun with dark “barred” markings on my knees) it does work. Sure, the color from the tanning lotion might not be an exact match to that of my real skin. Usually my legs end up palomino while my arms are liver chestnut. But at least I don’t look like Wally: deep reddish brown with stark white lower legs. That’s definitely the type of flashiness I’d like to avoid.

Eventually you’ll be greeting the warmer weather, too, and exposing your legs to the light of day. Just be prepared for snarky comments from non-horsey folks. They’ll make jokes about the pasty color of your legs, the cluster of saddle rubs and any nicks from your razor. Ignore them. As horsewomen, we surrender our vanity long ago.

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Reader Comments

Kaylee    Zeeland, MI

6/28/2012 2:07:14 PM

So True!! And I love the way you explained the female equestiran's plight.

CINDY HALE    HORSE CHANNEL, CA

6/14/2012 11:20:05 AM

AT LEAST I'M AROUND OTHER HORSEY PEOPLE OUT HERE. WE ALL HAVE PALE LEGS! BUT MY FAMILY MEMBERS & FRIENDS WHO LIVE CLOSER TO THE BEACH JUST LAUGH AT MY TWO-TONED BODY EVERY SUMMER.

WE'LL SEE HOW MY 'TAN IN A TUBE' WORKS. THERE'S ONLY A LITTLE BIT LEFT FROM LAST YEAR; LOOKS A LOT LIKE COTTAGE CHEESE! HOPEFULLY MY LEGS WON'T LOOK LIKE AN APPALOOSA TOMORROW...

turnandburn    Ft. Wayne, IN

6/11/2012 8:41:45 AM

haha My family makes fun of my pale legs. :) But who would wear shorts around horses?

kygal    rural, KY

6/8/2012 6:41:41 PM

how true

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