Seems me and my horse have something in common: naturally thick hair. At the farm where she lives the horses that are ridden English have their manes pulled or cut to between 4 and 5 inches, ostensibly to keep them above the rein line. Because Missy’s mane is so thick, having it this short causes some problems (in my view). First, I think it looks terrible, all choppy and uneven. Second, you can brush it all you want but the moment she shakes her head it naturally parts half-way down her neck, the upper part laying on the left and the bottom part laying on the right. Did I mention I think it looks terrible? I kept meaning to tell my trainer not to pull it again, so last week when I went down and saw that it had been pulled, I finally told her that I wanted her to leave it alone so I could see what it looked like a little bit longer, maybe it would all sit on the right like it’s supposed to that way. After an awkward moment of silence during which she physically stiffened, she said quietly, but with emphasis, “English horses don’t have long manes!” As I was walking away with Miss I said over my shoulder, with good humor, but with emphasis, “Well, she’s not an English horse, she’s MY horse, and for now we’re going to leave her mane alone.” She followed me for a bit, explaining that you don’t want the mane long enough to get caught up in the reins, blah blah, but I stuck to my guns. During my next lesson she said she would show me how to thin it out so it would sit better on her neck. I don’t want it to look like my friend old Walter here, I just want it to look natural.
At least my farm doesn’t crop the tails! As you can see she has a beautiful tail (does this horse make my butt look big?). For those less fortunate horses there are always tail extensions. You can also get mane and forelock extensions, but in general those look very fake, even to my untrained eye.
Two weekends ago I went with the lovely Coloratura to the first hunter/jumper show at Pebble Beach and was very pleased and surprised to see all age categories represented, from kids on adorable ponies to women over 50 in the jumper and equitation classes. I suppose there’s time for me to compete yet, should I decide to go that route.
As I mentioned in my last post, last weekend I went to the Grand National Rodeo and boy howdy, what a different crowd that was from Pebble Beach! The thing I love about Western folks is they aren’t afraid to wear all the regalia and they don’t feel the least bit ridiculous doing so. There were some pretty damn hot cowboys there; too bad I’m not single and about 20 years younger! I almost bought a pair of Ariat cowboy boots and now I’m kicking myself for not getting them, they were so beautiful and comfortable.
The “mane event” of the title (sorry, couldn’t resist) happened on Good Friday: my trainer Willow actually got on Missy’s back. She had told me before that Miss hadn’t been ridden in about a year and a half, but she looked back in her notes and now says its closer to 3 years. She’s been lunging her with all her tack on for several weeks. She lunged her and she seemed fairly quiet so she put her helmet on (something she rarely does) and quietly got on. Miss just stood there like it had happened yesterday, then walked and trotted as asked. She does throw her head around a fair bit so we may have to put a martingale on her for a while, but overall both Willow and I were very pleased. Mama’s so proud! When I took her in January we talked about me being able to ride her by about May. Looks like we’re right on track.