Monday, February 15, 2010

Mouthy Monday

I'm working on the next story with our anger, fear thing. We'll have a good respite with this poem from AKPonygirl. I love the poem....but I have to admit, I want both. I suppose in my men and my horses.

Here's another thought. I got an email from a reader who wonders if we're given an unreal expectation about horses from reading the books we did as children. Was the Black the reason so many people think they want stallions?

Personally, I feel I knew the difference. The Black was my pretend horse. Mort was my real horse. I bought a horse who was waaaaaay over my head, but he was a gelding. I think you guys are probably aware he became my dream horse.

I was covering a clinic for the paper yesterday. I watched a young woman ride in the clinic on a paint stud. She was a good rider. Her stud was almost socially acceptable. He was very, very pretty. He had pretty serous conformation faults. He not just pretty, he was pretty useless. She was very proud of herself. She was obviously riding her dream horse. Maybe she read too many of the Black stallion books.

But every other rider there was on a mare or a gelding, obviously were fond of their horses and had the same opinion of this young woman as I did.

"Whatever," we collectively thought and shrugged.

Nobody was impressed or envious. I didn't see a line of people getting ready to dump their nice horses to get a stud like hers. It seems the majority of us survived the Black.

It didn't matter, she was impressed enough with herself to cover all her bases.


I talked to a friend just the other day who’s got lots of opinions and plenty to say.

We discussed what we both like to see in a horse

His requirements and mine were different of course…

He likes a clean throatlatch and a long skinny neck, and prefers that their hocks are set close to the deck.

Short backs and hard feet and clean slopin’ shoulder, and a gaskin that looks like it swallered a boulder.

He likes a short face and a big ol’soft eye, and says these are the horses he’s likely to buy.

And when he’d completed his lengthy discourse, on all of the attributes of the quality horse.

He asked my opinion, and where do I start?

And I said that I….just want horses with heart.

I said I want heart above all the other.

I don’t care if he’s Smart Little Lena’s full brother.

Or just how much money that his grandmother won, or whether he’s roan, palomino or dun.

But give me a horse with some grit and some try, and some heart and some guts and that’s one that I’ll buy.

And I’ve found it’s the same with a woman or man…. the good ones won’t quit you when the poop hits the fan

by Monte Baker


  1. Great poem! I am riding my dream horse....but my dream is different from when I was a teenager with my first horse.

  2. That was a great poem - thanks!

    I agree that heart (or head) is the most important. But I would also like to have both.
    If you get that horse with a heart, a good conformation will not only make him pretty to look at, but also make him stay sound. And then you might enjoy his company longer.

    I get happy when I see horse owners that are visibly proud of their horses, whether it is a gorgeous stallion or a backyard mongrel.
    I get particulary happy if the horse is still the best horse in the world even after a meager result in the show.
    What makes me cranky are the owners that are misbehaving.

  3. Bling Bling had a gelding next door that was pretty fugly..just a paint. Nobody liked him. Kept saying how stupid and ugly he was, that no one would buy him.

    I kept telling them that someone would come along and think he was beautiful and smart. Sure enough, someone did, and had great plans for him.

    Each and every horse should have someone who thinks they are wonderful.

  4. I think the real problem with the Black Stallion is that it makes people think if they just have a horse that loves them enough, they don't need to know how to ride or really know diddly squat how to care for it, and everything will be marvelous and dreamlike...

    Add to that what they do to try to make their horses "love" them, aka treats, and you end up with a spoiled animal owned by a generally incompetent rider and incompetent caregiver that thought it would all be so easy because the horsie "loves them".

    Add stallion, and you can only hope no innocent people get killed.

    I was fortunate to have neighbors that took me under their wing when I was 9. They had a foal a year for 3 years, I had horses to brush on, and learn how to ground handle, but didn't get to ride until I was thirteen. That puts a fire in you, wanting. Honestly, I didn't learn to ride very well until my four years on the team in college.

    I handled yearling TBs at the sales. Some of those "boys were 16+ hands, had their hormones, and fillies peeing and squatting in the walking rings was always a source of fun. I worked with a few pretty well behaved stallions (and slightly more obnoxious young stallions) at a couple of breeding barns I worked at, and had a gelding that spent much of his suspensory rehab imitating a Macy's Day balloon, so by the time I had to handle stallions for breeding, I had a good background. Those people
    who get a stud for their first horse are often quite surprised it takes respect, not treats, to earn a horse's devotion and good behavior. And you still NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU"RE DOING!

  5. That was a great poem...
    While many of us dream of owning our Black I would like to give a shout out to the "projects" that have literally become dream horses. I bought a horse that was too weak physically to be ridden, 2 years later he hauls me around x-country courses, trailing in western saddles, mid level dressage and I am teaching him to drive.

    I have been able to put something in front of him that we could do.... he's not perfect and I will probably own prettier, more talented, and def. more conformational correct horses, but I will never own another horse that makes me feel the way he does.

    My SO teases that he is the "other man"...

  6. Gina,
    I swear I don't have Black Stallion syndrome... but I do have a castrated pretty late (at six and a half years old) horse named Boyfriend... I don't want to know what *that* says ;-)

    I am Boyfriend

  7. That poem pretty much says it all!

    I remember being very irritated at the ol' Black Stallion. I had been owned by a grouchy old Shetland mare and had a serious dose of reality very early on in life... I just friggin' well KNEW that having a horse doesn't go that way. But I wished it would, darnit!

    I see a lot of young girls who are very much caught up in the fantasy of the Black. I think the ones who can hang onto the magic and the love will accept the reality that horses are and love that too. Anybody who can't deal with a horse who'd rather eat than come running up to the fence to see you is probably better off enjoying fictional fantasy horses.

    Real horses can break your heart and your bones and they're worth all the sweat and shit and hay money.

    And speaking of reality... mine is a pretty messed up concept, because the majority of my horses have been my "dream horse".

  8. "Anybody who can't deal with a horse who'd rather eat than come running up to the fence to see you is probably better off enjoying fictional fantasy horses.

    Real horses can break your heart and your bones and they're worth all the sweat and shit and hay money."

    This is so true! My TB is my "dream horse" although he bears NO resemblance whatsoever to the silly things I dreamed of as a child. I adore his silly self & learned pretty quickly that the best thing I could do for his 17hh goofy self was to make sure he respected ME and all other people. And the more we work on those things, the more he seems to adore me. Funny how that works ;)

  9. Some days I would like to have a stud... theres somthing about them...

    However I have enough brains to realize that I dont have the facilities, or the strength to handle a stud again, let alone the desire to try to show one on a regular basis. I say that and what did I buy.... a near black bay gelding, who was a stud untill he was 3 1/2. *sigh* Just enough of the black to keep me dreaming??

    Ive handled a fair amount of showjumping studs. Some were so dirty that I didnt go into there stalls unless I had a stick. There were three of us at the barn that summer and one of us was always with either one of the two... we didnt dare let any of the younger grooms get near them. The scariest moment was when one of them ran in from the lunge circle at me.

    And then there was Bo-Bo. A big gray (although he was almost pur white) german warmblood stud. Although we never forgot he was a stud, he had always had proper handling and was a great horse. The owner would give his kids 'pony' rides on him because he was the most even-tempered one.

    Then again he never produced anything as good as himself. Shame really.