Monday, March 12, 2012

Mouthy Monday and "Best Of"

Greenie asked about the word "Horsaii."I'm so used to the term I forget it was invented on this blog. It's kind of an indie thing that describes the kind of people who like to hang out around here.

So for today's Mouthy Monday I'm reprinting the post that started the whole thing.

The best part of this post, for me anyway, was finding out how many of you are as horse crazy as me.


Reviews and Memories


I had a question a while back, sorry I can't credit you, but it was too long ago. Somebody was asking about what created a "horse person." How does the willingness to bankrupt yourself over a 1200 pound, hay-burning, patience taxing, high maintenance animal who needs more sets of shoes in a year than the Duggar family (http://www.macon.com/220/story/596170.html) come about?

Today is a good day to explore this, because my mind is still whirling from our collection and balance talks and I need to take a breath before we continue.

Horse crazy creeps up on us in more than one way. A lucky few get to grow up with horses. Be it a ranch kid, as how family, or the child of a breeder, some just grow into it. This explanation is a bit too simple, because I see too many horse oriented families with one or two kids sadly sitting at the side lines wishing desperately they were at the mall, a movie, digging trenches, drinking bleach, ANYTHING but spending one more day smelling, seeing and talking about horses.

I strongly believe most of us who follow the way of the horse, or "Horsaii" are born with a genetic pre-disposition to lose all sense of reality when around a horse.
I was born in Wisconsin to an upwardly mobile, born to live in suburbia, Catholic family with six kids. My father's job guaranteed we would move every few years. My family is, for the most part, bookish, intellectual, introspective and not particularly animal oriented. Not the kind of environment to create a horse maniac.

I showed up anyway.

I was dreaming of horses before I ever saw a real one. I galloped and whinnied, drew them , named them, planned for a stable in the garage. I talked horses day and night and rode them in my imagination everywhere I went.

My fascination with horses has never eased. I still burn with not just the need to be around them, but to understand them.

I am a huge believer in the benefit of horses for girls. Even today, young girls end up unsure of their place in the world. Statistically, beginning in junior high many girls experience a slump in their grades. They begin to withdraw from class participation and begin feeling less sure of their place in the world. For many reasons, right around puberty, girls begin to experience a gradual draining of self esteem and confidence.

We could debate all day on why this happens, but there does seem to be a general consensus that it does, indeed, happen.

Horse give a sense of power and strength to girls that I believe can't be equalled in any other way. (Of course, I'm a horsaii) This huge, powerful, complicated animal can not only be controlled, trained and competed on by a girl, but they return her affection, they are kind and gentle. They smell great. Without reserve a good horse willshare his power with a girl. His strength and speed will become hers, in a world where she often feels no control. A car can't compete. A car doesn't love you back.

I feel the best horsaii experience comes from total immersion, riding, feeding, cleaning, grooming. Some of my best days as a teenager were spent cleaning my pen, grooming my horse and making my next piece of designer tack.

Instinctively, I think most girls know this, even if they aren't bonified horsaii, even if they're destined to grow out of their horse insanity (poor things). Most girls go through at least a horse crazy phase, I think it's the desire to gain some control, mixed with unconditional affection that pulls them in. I wish all horse-crazy girls could get at least a taste.

My first meeting with a real horse was as a kindergartner. We lived in Florissant (thanks C.H.!) Missouri. I was sitting on a rock, outside a barb wire fence. I reached out and touched a barb on the fence. It was sharp and left a rust stain on my finger.

Leaning forward, my hands clenched tight in my lap I was mesmerized by the herd of horses grazing in the sun. I was determined to honor the rules which allowed me this wild, unexpected privilege. No touching. Don't crawl under the fence. Don't move off the rock.

The warm rock pushed into the back of my thighs. I scratched and wiggled, aching to run out in the field.

Slowly, slowly a black horse with a white face ambled over to my perch. I froze, willing him to come near. He grazed along the fence in front of me. With a quick look over my shoulder I picked a bunch of long grass and threw it under the wire.

He stood right in front of me and ate his grass. I drank in the intoxicating smell of him, held my hand out and felt his warm breath on my fingers. Clumps of dried mud hung from the tangled hair on his fetlocks. His giant hooves were inches from my face.
One side of his face was white, the look he gave me from his red-rimmed eye seemed friendly and kind. I fell absolutely in love.

When I got home I drew my black horse with the white face over and over, burning every detail into my dreams.

Whatever creates a true "horsaii" I think I am one. I know I wouldn't change a single moment, a single wish, a single dream.

23 comments:

Shadow Rider said...

I have to think it's a genetic quirk that shows up. That or I am a gypsy changeling! No one else in my family has any interest in horses, I grew up Air Force, traveling and living in suburbia or on bases. But as a kid, I would do anything just to see a horse. If we drove by some in a pasture, I wanted to stop and watch. Parades were only interesting if there were horses. Girl Scouts were only interesting because they had a horsemanship badge, so I could convince my parents I had to take lessons for the badge.

I'm almost 52 years old, and I think my parents still believe I will out grow this someday...

SweetPea said...

It's so funny. I also am one of six kids and had no access to one of my own until I was 26 years old. But up until then, I would ride anything that even *resembled* a horse. And I can neigh like you wouldn't believe
;)

Valerie said...

Hmm sounds familiar. Even though I know mine came from my horse crazy grandmother (even though out of 30 some grandkids there are TWO of us that are horse nuts). My mom let me care lease a horse when I was 8. Her idea was that I would see how hard it was and I wouldn't want to do it anymore. 17 years later... yup still going strong lol!

IndyApp said...

I'm fortunate that I grew up having a pony beginning at age 4 or 5. Lessons weren't in the picture until I started to show in some local shows and discovered how badly I rode. Mugs stories of showing Mort really hit a chord with me. I was also fortunate to grow up in a time when parents weren't paranoid about safety issues.Never wore a helmet until I had to have one for hunt classes and then it was the pretty velvet covered one with the elastic chin strap. Yup, that would have saved me. Today I won't get on my 16+ Thoroughbred without the ATSM requirements met. That ground is a LOT harder and farther away than it use to be.

Anyway, I think I am Horsaii, but don't know how to pronounce it.

Quail said...

suffered from various ailments as a very small child...Dr. told my Mom to let me enjoy whatever as I probably wouldn't be around long...they bought me a *Shetland*!!!! (joy joy bounce bounce!!!!!!!!!!) Ailment that was supposed to kill me is 60 years in the past...currently have 3 AQHA's and looking at a 4th

Quail

SquirrelGurl said...

It's gotta be a genetic thing, I come from a family of animal lovers but no one besides two of my great-grandfather's were as into horses as I was. One raced standardbreds and the other logged with his horses.

Horses just called to me, I begged my parents from the very beginning to get me my own horse (we had an ancient pony on the farm that I LOVED to play with but was unable to ride).

They hoped I would grow out of it but I didn't. They caved and got me lessons when I was in the 5th grade (maybe to make up for getting braces and glasses in the same week?!). They hoped I would grow bored with them and move on. NOPE! Three years later, Buttercup came into my life and we've been together every since. We'll celebrate our 16th 'anniversary' together this April.

It's genetic, can't get enough of it and probably never will.

mugwump said...

IndyApp - I don't know if any of us can pronounce it...made it up on the blog so it's never been said out loud.

I would guess Horse - Aye

Anonymous said...

I've been away from "home" for nearly four years now. My horses are still at my parents' farm.. about two hours away and with everything going on in my life right now it's become difficult to get down there regularly.
The longer I go without seeing my horses .. the edgier I get. The more frustrated, the more depressed. And it worsens with duration.

When I do make it down there.. there's peace. When I'm dealing with my horses everything stops and the shittiness of the world goes away for awhile.
I feel pretty damned good.

I guess I'm an equus junkie. It's been a pretty much life-long habit, too. Got my first pony at age three... and that was thirty years ago. So, I've been fortunate in that.

But, man, I miss them.

Val said...

I pronounce it so it rhymes with samurai. ;)

I could not agree more about horses being good for girls and their self esteem. I remember heading for some serious challenges in my life and thinking, I can ride the willful mare so I can handle this, too.

A love for horses is a burning that starts deep inside. If I cannot be around horses for some reason, I feel like a timer is counting down. I need my time with my horse or any of the horses that I loved before I finally got my own at 27 years old. I do not think that non-horse people can understand, but I do think that people who have strong interests or passions can. Finding that thing, whatever it may be for each of us, is a reason to be on this Earth.

1sthorse said...

Being horsaii may be genetic but then again may be not. In my case not one single person in my family for the last six generation was/is in the least bit interested in horses. Oh sure they have all ridden a string horse but they aren't completely in love with all things horse.

So you may be wondering how I became horsaii. Well the woman who shared a hospital room with my mom when each of them was about to give birth bred, owned, rode and showed Appaloosas and that is how I became horsaii--breathing the same air as Aunt Pat in the hospital and of course having her watch me while Mom worked. Loved the smell of horse manure from the beginning!

redhorse said...

I grew up in suburbia too, with 3 younger siblings and no horses in sight. My grandparents on both sides lived in the country, so I remember seeing horses when I was very young. I remember vividly the first time I saw someone ride a horse, I was between 3 and 4. I also remember my father putting me up on the saddle, and smelling the horse's sweat, and hearing it breath hard. That feeling hasn't left me.

I agree with everything you said about girls and horses. Nowadays, I feel the same way about boys, with so many drugs available in schools, and so many influences on them, I think we should stick them all in a saddle until they turn 18.

prettypinkprincess said...

Mugs! Lol! My mom introduced me to horses, very early on. She was a young mother, 20 yrs old and still had her horse from her teen yrs. My 1st time riding was in utero! I remember being 3-6 yrs old and yanked up by my arm and planted in front of my Dad on his Hidalgo paint, Sunday. Sadly, a few yes later my mom sold the horses without even telling me! I cried for days when I found out. ( I had been asking to go see them for weeks, and they'd already been sold. I was just learning to ride by myself)

Anyways

I drive horse carriages in downtown STL, and have owned my Arab mare for 10yrs. My mom and I are very close, and her and my dad have been searching for a "hobby farm" near Florrisant. Mom wants another horse (I'm pushing gaited cause she's older,she loves her stock horses though) and it's very comforting that Kai will have a retirement home. P

nagonmom said...

Quail- the Shetland toughened you up so you could survive anything!
Yeah, the only one in my family. Called "horse-crazy" and not as a good thing. I am pleased that my daughter and one niece have the same "problem".

Francis said...

"They" say I came from the womb asking for a pony and loving the color purple. All I know is I begged for a pony for every birthday and Christmas until I FINALLY got one when I was six :).. noone else in the family even likes animals.. just me.. have been lucky to have been able to keep at least one from that point on.. headed to 52 and have 8 at this point.. a few too many, but what do you do besides love the 30 plus year olds? The oldest, turning 34 this year, joined me when I turned 21. He knows more about me than any person could ever want ... I feel sorry for those who are not Horsaii.. and I pronounce it like the plural of words that shouldn't be, carcii for example !

scaequestrian said...

Hey Mugs, got a question for you. I am working with a colt that has a real problem with someone getting on him. He is ok once you are up there, but when you put weight in the stirrup, he bugs out. He will try to swing away, walk forward, back up or swing over on top of you to prevent it. We cannot figure out how to keep him from evading safely. Putting him against a fence works, but I am afraid someone is going to land face-first into a panel. He already broke my nose while I was getting on him. Any suggestions?

mugwump said...

scaequestrian - I'll put over on the mind meld. Yes - I do know how to fix this..but give me a few hours, I've got a lot going on today.

Whoa Baby said...

I was six years old when we visited my Dad's sister on her farm. My Uncle put me on the back of a 30 year old mule and led me around. Another Horsaii was born. From then on I drew horses, read about horses, pretended to be a horse, dreamed, slept, breathed,and drank in anything horse related. The World Book volume H fell apart it got so much use. After years of barn horses, friends horses, or any other way to be around them, phase 2 of horse-crazy started when I bought my very own beauty 5 years ago at 44 yrs old. Horsaii for life!

scsarah said...

I think being horsaii is more than just being horse crazy, or that you make a living with horses. Horsaii is deeper.

I was a horse crazed and starved, girl and young woman. I was also selfish, as are most young people. Just concerned about my daily life, having a good time, and conquering the world. I really thought back in those days I had the world by the cojones. Laughable isn't it?

My horsaii really developed after having babies and trying to understand my litle bundles when they could not speak. I watched their body lauguage, studied the different types of crying, and when speech was developing trying to understand that. I wanted to really, really know each child as an individual. And I hope that as they continue their journey into adulthood they will know that I hear, see and understand them as the unique beings they are. Maybe because I never had anyone really know me, listened to me, or heard me.

It dawned on me during the baby years I was not doing the same thing with horses.

Then I started to really study the horses. I watch them at play and during herd scuffles. I watched others as they handled their horse; watched how the horse responded to certain people differently. I became much more observant than ever before.

I think my growth as a person has made me a better horseperson. I still know so little, that if you put all that I know in a thimble you would still have room. But I know that and continue to strive to listen to my horse....and people for that matter.

To me that is horsaii. Thinking outside of yourself. Being passionate to want to do what we do with horses daily, and realizing we will never know all.

mugwump said...

scsarah - I think you nailed it.Being Horsaii is absorbing what we learn from them and having it effect all aspects of our life. Maybe recognizing the connection?

Ewwww WEEE it's getting deep in here. I'm starting to feel the urge to make a few inappropriate jokes!

scsarah said...

I have a few really great inappropriate jokes.......just let me know if y'all wish to hear!

Lola Smiles said...

As a young girl, I wanted so badly to go to horseback riding camp. My mom even brought me to the camp to visit but at that time it was unaffordable. End of my horsaii dreams.

Finally, at 45 yrs old, I made my horsaii dream a reality. Riding lessons and I now lease a horse - 1.5 yrs later. It is the best thing ever to have happened to me.

MichelleL said...

I'll go with the genetic anomaly that can skip generations and never lose its potency. My Maternal Great Grandmother had a passion for horses but she was the only one on either side of my family tree that I know of.

I can't ever remember not being Horsaii.

My very first horse was a wild beauty. Flowing mane, perfect form, and he would practically fly. Just about wore the springs right off that Spring Horse.

Books, Movies, Breyer models, playing Horses with my Horsaii friends all gave way to real ponies, green broke saints, sour barrel horses, and multiple other four legged teachers.

Sure didn't know that I didn't know what the heck I was doing.

Luckily for me being Horsaii has given me the chance, time and again, to learn lessons I didn't even know I needed to learn.

Neither of my sons are Horsaii, but maybe one of their kids will be. It skipped two generations to get to me, it would be really amazing if one of the grandkids were Horsaii. How fun would that be?!

mysanity said...

My mom swears my first word was horse. Didn't get my own till I was 30+ but was horse crazy!!!

I forgot my dad had a horse as a kid until I found his edition of Black Beauty. I was estranged from him most of my life and seeing his siggy inside the book written in kid handwriting was kinda sad. He died years ago and never really talked about horses the few times I saw him. We could have had a connection.

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