Tag Archives: Ponies

How to Explain Horseback Riding to Anyone

We all have friends, and friends are awesome.

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Some of our friends are horse people, and totally get what we are talking about all the time. For instance, you can say your horse “was a little up today, but only bucked a few times and was otherwise fine” and these horsey friends will nod in understanding..because that’s not jargon to them.

But we also have non-horsey friends…and to them that is pretty much a foreign language. Your non-horse friends are also awesome, but sometimes they try to ‘get hip with your lingo’ and stumble…and sometimes they just stare blankly and pray you talk about boys, or ice cream, or the latest episode of The Bachelor so they won’t have to listen to you talk about your horse again. And this can be tricky to manage, but here are some things you might hear, and how to address them nicely:

  1. “How was your race?” – Because mainstream media touts racing as the ‘horse sport’ of choice, this tends to cause many people to wrongfully assume that all riders are racers (kind of like how everyone assumes that anyone who lives in Texas must be a Country music fan). It’s ok to correct them a few times, but be nice. As a hobbyist group, we tend to not realize how defensive we are about our beloved sport…and can come off as jerks. So don’t be a jerk. If your friend feels the need to always ask ‘how fast’ you went, or if you raced anyone today…just smile and re-explain that your discipline has nothing to do with going fast (unless you actually do race horses, or are a jumper).
  2. “But doesn’t your horse do all the work?” – Don’t flip out, this is a common misconception. Because most actions that involve sitting are commonly misconstrued as ‘easy’, horseback riding is an easy target. For the same reason that Nascar is belittled for just being about going fast and turning left (see Talladega Nights), many people assume that things you do whilst sitting on your butt require little to no effort. Just calmly explain that what you do is a challenging physical activity, and that no, riding a horse is not like driving a car. If you still have difficulty letting this concept sink in, find a good ‘thrills and spills’ video on Youtube, and try having them watch that.
  3. “You horse is brown, so it’s a clydesdale, right?” – This one probably will only happen once, as once you’ve established that not all brown horses pull beer carts you should be good to go. Because Budweiser uses clydesdale horses in their ads, its only natural that most people assume horses that are big and brown must be clydesdales (your average person might have caught wind of the Romney horse and be aware that warmbloods exist, but it isn’t likely). If you ride a warmblood, feel free to explain what that means…and if you have a thoroughbred, be prepared for a renewed believe that you race and go fast. See 1. again.

For the most part, these are the only 3 annoyances you will probably experience. The exception to any of these, is the person that firmly swears by what they find in a Google search or from ‘sources’ like Yahoo answers and comments in YouTube videos. In the case of these, just don’t bother trying to explain to them that:

  • Spirit Stallion of the Cimarron is just a movie, and your horse is fine with being ridden
  • The Parelli method is not the only effective method out there
  • No, they cannot ride your horse without permission
  • Yes, even if they have been taking notes from old western movies
  • No, rearing and kicking out is the opposite of what should happen (those were stunt horses)
  • No, you cannot ride your horse on the highway
  • Yes, you are sure you cannot ride your horse on the highway, its illegal

Hopefully this helps!

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Famous Last Words: Equestrian Style

I thought to cheer you all up (and after that thrillingly long hiatus) I’d share a few funny possible equestrian ‘famous last words’:

  • “Oh he doesn’t need ear puffies, he was fine yesterday”
  • “I don’t think I’m going to lunge him today, I’m sure he’ll be fine after that month off!”
  • “It’s going to rain? Quick, open that umbrella!”
  • “Oh its fine, your boyfriend can ride him without a helmet, experience, or supervision. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
  • “Well I saw it work in this movie once, so I’m going to try it.”
  • “This guy at the dude ranch told me it worked with his horses, so I’m going to try it in my clinic with George Morris.”
  • “I’m sure you can text and ride, it’s not like that’s as unsafe as texting and driving.”

Got any great ‘last words’ to add? Tell me int the comments!

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The Name Game

Horses are named all kinds of things: some aim for the more classic names like “Spot” for an appaloosa, “Blaze” for a horse with a blaze, and so on. As times have changed, so have names. Like an opinionated horse woman, I have formed strong opinions about names use given to horses: some are cute, and some just aren’t. Here are kinds of names I adore, and three I truly hate:

Love:

  1. Famous People. Having ridden a ‘Anne Sullivan’, a ‘ Sammy David Jr.’, and a ‘Gandhi’, I will admit that there is something innately cute about horses named after famous people (given that they are not named after someone bad). Naming your horse after Barack Obama in my eyes is too cheesy, and naming your horse ‘OJ Simpson’ shows a lack of taste…but hearing horses named ‘Clark Kent’, ‘Jane Eyre’, and ‘John Wayne’ do make me smile. Naming your mare ‘Helen Keller’ isn’t recommended….just for superstitious reasons.
  2. Food. Admit it, when ponies are named after food, it can be hopelessly adorable. My own horse, Crackerjack fits his nam perfectly. I’ve sat on several horses named ‘Popcorn’, ‘Oreo’, ‘Spud’, and even a few ponies named ‘Hershey’. You can never really go wrong with food names: even ‘Figgy Pudding’ puts a smile on your face.
  3. Classic. When in doubt, the tried-and-true names are sometimes the best option. ‘Splash’, ‘Dancer’, and ‘Spot’ are all classic names that you can feel comfortable telling your kids. Especially with ponies, keeping it simple can be easier for kids to remember: try explaining to a 4-year-old that their pony’s name is ‘Corsair’ or ‘Chardonnay’ and see how that goes.
  4. Song titles / Lyrics. Admittedly, the most classic kid-friendly song titles and lyrics are the best to use. I’ve heard of a few very cute ‘Rocket Man’ ponies, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ jumpers, and ‘Sweet Carolina’ New England ponies. A good rule to go by, is if you can’t tell your grandmother your horse’s show name…don’t use it. An example? I’d steer clear of any song by ‘Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, 50 Cent, Steel Panther, or any song that involves the word ‘b-itches’ or ‘h-es’.

Hate:

  1. Rappers. Now before I go into this, I will concede that some names lend themselves well to horses: ‘Slim Shady’ is a good fit for a slim darker horse, and I would be impressed to compete against a horse named ‘Immortal Technique’ or ‘Idle Warship’….I might even take my hat off to a ‘Hopsin’ with two blue eyes. That being said, I cringe whenever I hear that someone has named their horse (showname, mind you) ‘Free Weezy’, ‘Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em’, or ‘Birdman’. I can understand devotion to these artists….but at least with equitation horses, I feel like seeing ‘Free Weezy’ or ‘Gucci Gucci’ on the scoreboard during a prestigious competition kills the mood somewhat. But like I said, I’m split on this: if the name fits the horse, I am willing to endorse it. I can see ‘Teach Me How To Dougie” taking off….or even “Gangnam Style” becoming the next hot pony showname.
  2. Branded Alcohol. I genuinely don’t enjoy when horses come in with brand name liquor names. It just doesn’t feel classy….even ‘Grey Goose’ feels a bit forced. Similarly, I don’t think its in any way classy to name a pony after liquor when the kid on him is well under 21. Somehow, types of wine never seem that bad: ‘Chablis’ actually sounds pretty classy, as does ‘Merlot’: Somehow ‘Gin and Juice’ and ‘Jose Cuervo’ don’t have the same ring to it.
  3. Drugs. I have rarely heard of any horses with drug-influenced names. Very rarely. But as a warning, I sincerely hope no one starts by naming their mare ‘Have You Found Molly?’, ‘Heroin’, or ‘Opium’. Just don’t.
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Old School vs. New School

The more classic look. Image courtesy of Equine Now.

As the sport of riding has evolved, so has its apparel. Once, riders wore helmets that were thin and offered little protection. At another time, they added clear plastic or elastic head straps to keep the helmets on their heads. Now, technology has enabled more advanced equipment that offers more protection and comfort. However, as these classics have evolved, are we losing some of the formal notes that made the sport so dignified?

Oh, now those are a tad bit loud. The hi-tech knee…ribbons…don’t really help..Image courtesy of Horse Zone.

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Work to Ride: Transcending Boundaries

Pictured: Most people's first impression of a 'polo player'. Image courtesy of CapMiller.com

When we traditionally think of polo as a sport, sometimes we conjure up images of the upper crust of society sipping flashy drinks whilst celebrity polo players charge across the field on expensive ponies, met with polite golf claps. Work to Ride, a program based out of the Chamounix Equestrian Center near Fairmount Park, focuses on making this traditionally bourgeois sport more accessible. Work to Ride program’s mission, as stated on the website, is to :”promote discipline, self-esteem, motivation, social development, life skills, academic achievement, and physical fitness through year round programs that encourage long term participation.” This ideology is better explained in the video below:

The Cowtown/Work to Ride team, which has been active at Chamounix Equestrian Center since 1994, is notable for being comprised of mostly black players. In a sport so dominated by mostly white teams, it is refreshing to see a diverse program successfully establish itself. When the team won the National Interscholastic Championship in 2011 against Baltimore, every member of the team was African-American, making interscholastic history as the first-ever all-black team to win.

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Goucher Equestrian Takes To The Airwaves!

On this past Sunday March 26th,my fellow tri-captain (Goucher’s Equestrian Team has 3 team captains!) Karli Postel ’13 and I joined in the evening broadcast of INSIGHT ON disABILITY at the WCBM AM 680 radio station in Pikesville, MD. We pitched the Goucher Equestrian Team‘s Healing Hooves 2012 event alongside host Michael Gerlach, and charismatic co-hosts Brent Tarring and Harry Cook. Having never been on the radio before, we were naturally incredibly nervous, but anxious to get started.

Image courtesy of Michael Gerlach.

I have never tuned into AM 680 before, as I tend to habitually listen to CDs and mixtapes instead of the radio when I drive, but after this experience I think I have found a new station to tune into! Michael, Brent, and Harry as well as the entire staff at WCBM were incredibly respectful and Karli and I were honored to get a chance to join the show!

Image courtesy of Michael Gerlach

To hear the full program, click the link below!

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Save The Date!

Hello! Anyone following this blog might remember me mentioning that there there is a major fundraiser coming up in April. Well, Goucher Unbridled would like to encourage all of its Maryland-based readers to save to date! Click the following image below for more information! Thanks!Image

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Its A Rough Week To Be A Horse: HBO’s Luck and History Channel’s Full Metal Jousting

Still shot from HBO's 'Luck'. Image courtesy of The Atlantic.

HBO’s horse racing series ‘Luck’ faces an unprecedented number of horse deaths on set, raising questions about the treatment and well-being of animals being used in filming. In previous productions, even one horse death was extremely rare, the last known horse to be euthanized during a productionwas in “3:10 to Yuma” from 2007: Luck has lost three horses.As a result, Luck will end its first season abruptly on March 25 after HBO has decided to pull the show entirely. Whether this was due solely to the loss of life, or in combination with its low ratings is still unclear.

Full Metal Jousting competitor,Landon Morris, having just struck the black horse pictured in the face. Image courtest of Warming Glow.

CLICK ‘CONTINUE READING’ TO READ ABOUT A HORSE GETTING PUNCHED IN THE FACE

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Givenchy ‘Tisci’: A ‘Sexy Take’, But Not On Horseback Riding

As Givenchy launches its new line ‘Tisci’, equestrians like myself struggle to understand how this new collection could possibly claim to be ‘equestrian’. In a recent article, the collection claimed to reference ‘sporting polos’, ‘horse blinders’, and ‘jodphurs’. In my previous article about equestrian fashion, I laid out my opinions regarding the mindless ‘equestrian fashion’ parade of unrealistic and dysfunctional fashion being produced as ‘equestrian’ garments.This new ‘Tisci’ line is no exception. Here are some ‘looks’ from Tisci’s latest runway show.

The only reference I can see in this 'Tisci' line garment are the dizzingly obvious 'riding boot' riff that seems to be abysmally popular for brands that wish to wave the 'equestrian flag' and distinguish themselves from other fashion brands. A boot, is a boot, is a boot...is not uniquely 'equestrian'. Image courtesy of Idaho Statesman.

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Equestrian Fashion: What It Is And What It Isn’t.

As an equestrian, and a very stylish one at that, I would like to preface this entire post by saying that this article is not aimed at any of my close friends, colleagues, peers, or anyone I know well enough that could be offended by this posting. That being said, here is my most humble opinion of ‘equestrian fashion’.

Equestrian fashion is at its core a fashion perpetuated by mainstream equestrian culture. This encompasses everything from cowboy-looking apparel to equitation stylings, and every musing in between. Major brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, and Antonio Melani have become successful marketing the equitation-based styling as ‘equestrian fashion’, leading major magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Vogue to dub this look as ‘equestrian’. But what is equestrian clothing? What makes an article of clothing ‘equestrian’? At this point in the conversation, it is only fair for me to say that society’s fashion gurus and I begin to disagree.

Because clearly, sticking a giant horse next to a random chick in heels, automatically makes those heels 'equestrian'. Image courtesy of The Equinest

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