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Dear Horse,

January 18, 2010

(from my inbox)

I love you very much, and I truly cherish your presence in my life. I would
never wish to criticize you in any way. However, there are a few trivial
details regarding our relationship that I think might bear your

First of all, I am already aware that horses can run faster than I can. I do
not need you to demonstrate that fact each time I come to get you in the
pasture. Please remember that I work long and hard to earn the money to keep
you in the style to which you have become accustomed. In return, I think you
should at least pretend to be glad to see me, even when I'm carrying a
bridle instead of a bucket of oats.

It should be fairly obvious to you that I am a human being who walks on only
two legs. I do not resemble a scratching post. Do not think that, when you
rub your head against me with 1,000 pounds of force behind it, I believe
that it wasn't your intention to send me flying. I am also aware that
stomping on my toes while you are pushing me around is nothing but adding
injury to insult.

I understand I cannot expect you to cover your nose when you sneeze, but it
would be appreciated if you did not inhale large amounts of dirt and manure
prior to aiming your sneezes at my face and shirt. Also, if you have
recently filled your mouth with water you do not intend to drink, please let
it all dribble from your mouth BEFORE you put your head on my shoulder. In
addition, while I know you despise your deworming medication, my intentions
in giving it to you are good, and I really do not think I should be rewarded
by having you spit half of it back out onto my shirt.

Sometimes, I get the feeling that you are confused about the appropriate
roles you should play in various situations. One small bit of advice: Your
stone-wall imitation should be used when I am mounting and your speed-walker
imitation when I suggest that we proceed on our way, not vice versa. Please
also understand that jumping is meant to be a mutual endeavor. By "mutual",
I mean that we are supposed to go over the jump together. You were purchased
to be a mount, not a catapult.

I know the world is a scary place when your eyes are on the sides of your
head, but I did spend a significant amount of money to buy you, and I have
every intention of protecting that investment. Therefore, please consider
the following when you are choosing the appropriate behavior for a
particular situation:

- When I put your halter on you, attach one end of a lead rope to the
halter, and tie the other end of the lead rope to a post or rail or
whatever, I am indicating a desire for you to remain in that locale. I would
also like the halter, lead rope, post, etc., to remain intact. While I admit
that things like sudden loud noises can be startling, I do not consider them
to be acceptable excuses for repeatedly snapping expensive new lead ropes
(or halters or posts) so that you can run madly around the barn area
creating havoc in your wake. Such behavior is not conducive to achieving
that important goal that I know we both share --- decreasing the number of
times the veterinarian comes out to visit you.

- By the same token, the barn aisle was not designed for the running of the
Kentucky Derby and is not meant to serve as a racetrack. Dragging me down
the aisle in leaps and bounds is not how "leading" is supposed to work, even
if someone happens to drop a saddle on the floor as we're passing. Pulling
loose and running off is also discouraged (although I admit it does allow
you to run faster).

- I assure you that blowing pieces of paper do not eat horses. While I
realize you are very athletic, I do not need a demonstration of your ability
to jump 25 feet sideways from a standing start while swapping ends in
midair, nor am I interested in your ability to emulate both a racehorse and
a bucking bronco while escaping said piece of paper. Also, if the paper were
truly a danger, it would be the height of unkindness to dump me on the
ground in front of it as a sacrificial offering to expedite your escape.

- When I ask you to cross a small stream, you may safely assume that said
stream does not contain crocodiles, sharks, or piranhas, nor will it be
likely to drown you. (I have actually seen horses swimming, so I know it can
be done.) I expect you to be prepared to comply with the occasional request
to wade across some small body of water. Since I would like to be dry when
we reach the other side of the stream, deciding to roll when we're halfway
across is not encouraged behavior.

- I give you my solemn oath that the trailer is nothing but an alternate
means of transportation for distances too long for walking. It is not a
lion's den or a dragon's maw, nor will it magically transform into such. It
is made for horses, and I promise you that you will indeed fit into your
assigned space. Please also bear in mind that I generally operate on a
schedule, and wherever we're going, I would really like to get there today.

For the last time, I do not intend to abandon you to a barren, friendless
existence. If I put you in a turn-out pen, I promise that no predators will
eat you, and I will come back in due time to return you to your stall. It is
not necessary to run in circles, whinny pathetically, threaten to jump the
fence, or paw at the gate. Neither your stall mates nor I will have left the
premises. The other horses standing peacefully in adjacent pens amply
demonstrate that it is possible to enjoy being turned out for exercise.

In order to reassure you, my dear horse, I have posted the following message
on your stall door:

"Notice to People Who Complain About My Horse"

1. I like my horse a lot better than I like people who complain about her.

2. To you, she's an animal; to me, she's a big, hairy, four-legged daughter
--- and you know what they say about coming between a mother and her

3. This stall is her castle, and you are expected to treat her as the queen
she thinks she is.

4. If you don't want her to steal your carrots, don't walk by her with the
carrots sticking out of your pockets.

5. Horses are better than husbands or kids. They eat grass, don't smoke or
drink, don't expect an allowance, don't voluntarily get their body parts
pierced, don't hog the remote, don't waste the whole weekend watching
football with their friends, don't talk back to you, don't compare you
unfavorably with their friends' owners, don't keep you awake with their
snoring --- and no horse ever left the toilet seat up after going to the

Finally, in closing, my strong and gentle companion, I would like to point
out that, whatever might happen between horses and their people, we humans
will always love you. In fact, our bonds with you help create new bonds
among ourselves, even with total strangers. Wherever there are horses, there
will be "horse people", and for the blessings you bestow upon us, we thank

Most sincerely yours,

Your Owner


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