Sunday, June 10, 2012

How to Piss Off a Mugwump

Kathy was holding my bridle in her hands, studying the reins with a worried look on her face.

I transitioned Madonna down to a stop and waited.

"Uh oh," she said.

After thirty-five years of friendship and countless hours at the barn, I know this is not a statement I want to hear.

"What's up?" I asked.

"I borrowed your halter to tie Rosie, it looks like she chewed your reins."

Sigh. "Is it bad?"

"Well, they're chewed pretty good on a couple of places. I'll buy you a new pair."

"You don't want to do that Kath, those are my good reins.Let me see how bad it is."

I studied my reins, they weren't chewed through, just scarred.

"A little oil and they'll be, well chewed up, but they'll just be ugly, not useless.." I told her. "I have to admit, I'm a little surprised you left my bridle hanging where she could get at it."

"Well, I figured you wouldn't leave your bridle there if a horse could reach them."

"I didn't have a horse tied there, just my empty halter. You've had Rosie her entire life and watched her chew her way through thousands of dollars of equipment, I'm thinking you might have figured she'd go for my bridle if you used my halter."

"Really, I'll replace them," Kathy said again.

"Serious, you don't want to do that. I paid $90 for these about 15 years ago. They're broke in about perfect."

There was a long pause.

"Now, why would anybody in their right mind pay $90 for a pair of reins?" Kathy was truly irritated with me.


Punks Kid Rock said...

...wrong thing to say on Kathy's end. Ouch! My horse broke my mom's new, pretty tooled headstall that I was borrowing by stepping on the reins. One side of the headstall just broke, not fixable. So that was a good chunk of change I repaid my mom. Did I mention it was Circle Y, leather, and brand new? Yeah, I feel your pain.

CT said...

Oh dear. I know of one friendship at least that has been spoiled by exactly this scenario...

mugwump said...

Kathy's safe, she's my cohort.

Reddunappy said...

At least you have a friend you can talk straight too!!

LOL you made me laugh with that last sentance!!!

Joyce Reynolds-Ward said...

Um, yeah, absolutely wrong thing to say on Kathy's end.

Says the girl who owns a Chavez romal. Um, kangaroo leather romal.

Um, replacing that would be much more expensive than your reins...tell Kathy she got off easy.

Mary said...

That was funny! Neither one of you could just leave it alone. Funny stuff. Sorry about the reins though...

Trackside tales said...

My first week at a new racing stable, I had a colt eat through his crupper and most of a set of hobble hangers. The trainer didn't fire me, but replacing them took a big hunk of my pay. I learned! I understand about being worn in just right too, those are not replaceable.

To Carrot, I can't imagine a real friendship being ruined over equipment. A real friend would pay for damages, and on the flip side forgive. I would feel terrible myself though.

Anonymous said...

Great title, and I totally understand. Even though it won't ruin your friendship with Kathy, you need to let her replace those reins, and maybe break them in for you.

mugwump said...

Redhorse- I really like those reins, she can't replace the feel of them.

Becky said...

That's why you should never buy nice things. If you only use cheap stuff, you'll never now what you're missing!

I have saddles that cost less than those reins.

mugwump said...

Becky - I don't have a lot of stuff, but I like it to be nice.

Lori said...

This is a hard one. Mourn for your reins so you don’t have to mourn for your friendship. It is OK to mourn for them and miss them and think about them when you don’t have them but it would be so much worse to miss both your reins and your friendship.

Anonymous said...


I was thinking more for Kathy's sake than yours, it must be miserable having a pissed off Mugwump.

Anonymous said...

At least she was honest. I've opened my locker at the barn and found broken reins and broken stirrup leathers. I would have happily forgiven whichever barn rat that did it, but only if they fessed up. Now I just put a lock on the door.

Heila said...

If it was me I would have given my friend a nice big gift voucher for her favourite tack shop. But probably not $90 worth of gift voucher... ;-) Sorry about your reins. 2 Years ago a friend of mine's truck was stolen. A lot of the of the horsey stuff she had accumulated over 30 years were in it, but luckily not her saddle. You can never replace it, doesn't matter how much money the insurance pay you.

horsegenes said...

I love nice tack, I covet it. I am totally addicted. I used to loan it out once in a while but not so much anymore. You either get how important it is to someone or you don't. And more often than not, they don't get what a nice piece of equipment means to me. It is like a fine piece of jewelry.

It isn't about the money. It is about the craftsmanship. It is about the "patina" and the feel of it in your hands.

mugwump said...

horsegenes - thank you, you get it.

Heidi the Hick said...

I grew up with all hand-me-down tack. I like old stuff. It feels right.

But cheap tack won't feel right no matter how broken in it is.

I'm so fussy about my tack. Most people would look and figure it's just old stuff but it's not - it's MY old stuff and it's how I like it and I want it treated with respect! Even if I splurged and got it new, I hang onto things long enough that it's eventually all my old comfortable stuff!

(has she figured out to keep things out of the range of toothy horses?)

Bif said...

Bahhh! I hate when good tack you really like gets dinged up or destroyed, especially when it seemed so preventable. My friend's mare reached my bridle (I didn't think she would/could, and she was in the other corner of her stall eating hay)and chewed up the laced reins something awful in the minute it took me to put my horse's saddle in the tackroom and throw the cover on it.

Lesson learned.

Gee, Kathy after how many years and HOW MUCH STUFF did Mug's say the mare's chewed through?? ;-)

But giving Mugs' readers another funny story? Priceless.

mugwump said...

Heidi - She will never figure it out...but we've been friends so long it's like a marriage.
The reality is, I should have known Rosie would eat my reins and said..."Hey Kath, move my bridle willya?"

mugwump said...

Bif - Kathy will bet me with a stick when she reads this.

Bif said...

Price she pays for being friends with famous people ;-)

Half Dozen Farm said...

A good quality, broken-in piece of tack is priceless.

All the hours of using, cleaning, and conditioning that makes it butter soft makes it worth much more than the original $90 paid (and with inflation $90 15 years ago is probably more like $150 today!).

Think how much labor Mugs put into those reins over the 15 years!

I feel your pain Mugs. At least they're still functional...small condolence.

Half Dozen Farm said...

A good quality, broken-in piece of tack is priceless.

All the hours of using, cleaning, and conditioning that makes it butter soft makes it worth much more than the original $90 paid (and with inflation $90 15 years ago is probably more like $150 today!).

Think how much labor Mugs put into those reins over the 15 years!

I feel your pain Mugs. At least they're still functional...small condolence.

QLH said...

A good pair of reins that match your hands and have your 'feel' are impossible to replace. I have had a relationship with several pairs of reins longer than my husband. Can you replace a significant other that easily?
I think not.

Barbara said...

My favorite pair of reins were $80 less then 10 years ago! Since I don't have a good place to store them there hanging in my friends house.

She borrowed them and is in love with them to!!!


Anonymous said...

Hey at least she offered to replace them. The woman I worked for would use my tack (no big deal) and I would watch the horse chew it up (not cool). And she would just shrug. After all it wasn't hers. But if it was her tack, watch out!

Anonymous said...

Once, I put my saddle on a fence and, unbeknownst to me, the horse whose paddock the fence surrounded was let out of his stall to graze for the afternoon.

I came back from hanging up my bridle in the tackroom to this pain-in-the-ass appaloosa absent-mindedly worrying at the cantle and staring at his feed bucket, like a kid in school chewing a pencil eraser.

Luckily it was nothing some oil and a trip to the leather repairman's couldn't fix. But I had some choice words for that horse I do not regret saying.


Anonymous said...

Isn't Kathy the rider who got injured on Captain? If so, I think she deserves a pass on the reins. I sure the $90 reins were much cheaper than her hospital bills.

mugwump said...

Anon- That was a really weird thing to say.

caitlanc said...

Sigh. A gal at the barn's horse was out of commission for a bit and asked to ride mine. I said absolutely since my mare's not getting much use these days. The tack didn't even occur to me until she busted up my good English bridle. She offered to replace it but I told her don't worry about it. The quality wouldn't come close and I don't need another crappy bridle.

I initially blamed it on my horse because she can be a witch. Then I saw her swap the bridle for the halter on her new horse and totally saw how it happened. Reins down on the withers, bridle off, 5 ft back from the hitching post and didn't even have the halter in hand. Lesson learned.

Silver lining is that the reins are still intact! I'd much rather replace the headstall than the reins.

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