Tale Spin

Of all of the whack things i do, taking horseback riding lessons has been one of the most rewarding.  Studley picked up an offer for discount lessons at a local stable last year. Our Monday night rides* have become a weekly highlight.

Due to random signals from the travel planet, we found ourselves at dinner Saturday with my friend Autumn, in North Carolina.  She has had a long-standing relationship with horses**, and shares our passion for the sport.  Yammering our way through a delicious dinner, Studley and i were giddy-up with horse tales.

Autumn:  I love horses, but I just don’t get them.  Never really understood them as animals.  What makes them work…. what motivates them.

daisyfae:  They’re just like big dogs!

Autumn:  That may explain it!  I’m a cat person.  I don’t understand dogs either.

Studley: I used to be just a cat person, but Mr. Pickles has converted me. Horses seem to be a lot more like dogs – just big dogs.  Dogs that you can ride!

daisyfae:  If dogs were that big, you could totally ride them!  You wouldn’t want to ride a 1,200 pound cat!


Last night, we were walking our horses to get them warmed up.  My ride, Rooster, is a clever beast.  An excellent school horse, he is adept at keeping novice riders alive.  At the same time, he is a little lazy, and will often try to get away with the least amount of energy expenditure possible.

He was being particularly sluggish as we worked into the trot.  Mistress Holly, our instructor, brought me her riding crop.

Mistress Holly:  This is how you hold it…

daisyfae:  i’ve used one before, just not on a horse.

Mistress Holly [feigning deafness]: You probably won’t need to use it – he knows you have it.  Try clucking and squeezing first, but if he’s not listening, just give him a good slap with it.  Right here on the shoulder.

To say that Rooster was attentive is an understatement.

Rooster [if he could talk]: Yes, Missy, I was just fixin’ to trot!  I DO like the way you ride me!  Canter?  Anything you want!  Can I get you a sandwich?  Foot rub?

My first full circuit of the arena in a controlled canter happened last night.  And i only had to tap him on the shoulder once.


After our lesson, Studley came in to lend a hand in the kitchen*** as i put the finishing touches on my holiday baked goods.  We also threw together an easy dinner of pulled pork.****

My dog, now fully recovered, was sproinging around at our feet.  A hundred pounds of optimism, waiting for either a handout, or a wayward dropped morsel.  i don’t feed him from the table, but given his advanced age and recent near-death experience, i was in a weakened state of mind.

daisyfae:  OK, buddy.  But you’re going to have to work for it!  Sit! Siiiiiiiiiiit!  Good boy!  Now, Speak!

Mr. Pickles [squirming, sitting, standing, drooling, sitting again]:  ….

daisyfae:  Look, Pickles!  Studley can do it!  Studley!  Speak!

Studley:  WOOF!

daisyfae [pretending to feed porkbit to Studley]:  GOOD BOY!  What a GOOD BOY!

Studley [wiggle-squirming on bar stool and panting with subservient enthusiasm]:

daisyfae:  Ok, Pickles!  Now your turn!  Sit! Speak!

Mr. Pickles [drool-squirm, sit, stand, shake, wiggle]:

daisyfae:  C’mon, Old Dog!  New Trick!  You can DO it!

A few more rounds of getting Studley to speak, and my goofyass old dog did it!

daisyfae:  Speak, Pickles!

Mr. Pickles:  WOOF!  Bark, bark, barkbarkbarkbark! A-WOOFWOOFWOOFWOOF!

daisyfae:  Good boy!  GOOD BOY!  Now, shutthefuckup…

of course of course

 * probably not a euphemism

** definitely not a euphemism

*** left as an exercise for the reader

**** [nhur, nhur, nhur]

24 thoughts on “Tale Spin

  1. HAH! We have had that exact same kitchen experience, except Goob (reeeeeaaaallly dumb German Shepherd) never did pick it up. Bob, however, got fed time and time again.

    • i think it was Gunther Gebel-Williams, the near albino animal trainer with the Ringling Brothers Circus, that did a bit riding on the back of a tiger…Standing up, on a platform? Vague memories of this from childhood. Guy was nuts. And a show-off, too….

    • Happy to make you smile! And there aren’t many of us that can do the magic that you do with your art! (i DO believe what you do is a form of art, so don’t argue with me! 🙂 )

    • My cat, Huey, is howling with indigation at the moment because i won’t share my popcorn with him. From another room! The dog, however, lies at my feet. Hopeful. Pathetic in his optimism. Cats are very different!

  2. “daisyfae: i’ve used one before, just not on a horse.” I actually laughed a little too loud at this line. Note to self: do not read daisyfae’s blog at the next funeral while waiting for the hearse to arrive.

  3. My face hurts. This post has me smiling very loudly indeed.

    A giant cat would still be flexible enough to turn around and rip your leg off. Not my idea of a pleasant ride. What a shame that Mistress Holly feigned deafness. With a name like that I see her as a domanatrix…

    And, I am so glad that Mr Pickles is better. Yay for cyber get well wishes.

    • Holly is a tiny slip of a woman. Sweet and cheerful. But incredibly competent, and not afraid to take us to task when we make the same mistakes twice. Mr. Pickles appreciates all of the magic that has come his way… i’m certain of that!

    • Only a light tap. Once. Just to prove to him that i had it, and knew what to do with it. After that? Had to work at keeping from hitting him with it while bouncing around on his back!

      The horse, too….

  4. Your instructor’s name was Mistress Holly and she ignored the riding crop comment? What kind of mistress is she, then? Disappointing. I love love love that photo of you and Rooster. Now about this riding crop of yours…I must know more.

    • Her name is “Holly”, but we’ve dubbed her “Mistress” because she’s mean. Well… not really, but she does expect us to pay attention and work hard while there!

      The horse in the photo is actually Sequel, my regular ride. It was taken last fall, and the only shot i had handy to go with the horse tales…

      Not only is there a riding crop, but suitable costumes to compliment such a fine accessory. THOSE pics are not for the blog, though. Generally only suitable for those with some degree of vision impairment…

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