Horses hate me. The feeling’s mutual.

March 18, 2009

ABBA fans will rejoice in knowing their favorite group is big with horses. OK, maybe not with the actual horses, but certainly with their riders.

How else to explain the predominance of the Swedish super group’s music (albeit strictly in an instrumental format) in the performance soundtracks compiled by particpants in the Dressage — Level 4 Musical Freestyle competition at the Kelt Capital Horse of the Year ’09 show in Hastings, New Zealand.

The show, trumpeted as the third largest of its kind in the world, pumps a lot of money into the Hawke’s Bay region over its six-day run. It also pumps a lot of odor into the air of Hawke’s Bay. And by odor I mean horses. And by horses I mean horse poop.

Don’t get wrong, I have nothing against horses. Well, other than the fact I detest the beasts.

I’ve felt that way ever since one kicked me when I was in high school. Ever since I tried to date a girl who owned a horse and who informed me the animal would always come first in her heart, no matter how cute I looked putting entire apples in my mouth or swatting away flies with my ears.

Horses are huge, they eat way too much and, let’s face it, other than providing the occasional ride, what the hell use are they? They are never going to fetch your slippers or roll over and play dead or rid the house of pesky rodents or purr on your lap when you’ve had a bad day. And don’t even get me started on that whole house-training thing.

But I’m here at the show anyway because I’m doing a favor for a friend. This friend was supposed to fill in for the regular event announcer while he takes a lunch break, but three broken ribs means she isn’t moving anywhere fast. So being unemployed free this afternoon, I have accepted an invitation to volunteer my time for the sake of all things equine.

I was supposed to be the backup’s backup on the mic but, as it turns out, my friend did quite well on her own, the bashed ribs not at all affecting her ability to read and talk at the same time. Which meant I spent five hours doing little more than pushing a CD deck’s “on” button whenever the riders gave the little poncy wave that indicated they were ready to start their routine. Oh, and I also had to wait a two-beat before I actually pressed the “on” button, so the riders had time to gather up the reins again.

I know — it does take a lot of practice to get your timing just right, to not stumble and start on one, or fumble the gap out to three. Wouldn’t want to begin Mamma Mia before the rider was ready, would we? Who knows what revenge would have been exacted for such a sin.

Why, they just might encourage their horse to put a hoof up my arse. Nah, been there, done that, still got the internal bleeding.

I know what — they’d force me to come back on Saturday and Sunday to do this all over again. But I’m thinking that would never work as a deterrent. Because I’ve already agreed to do it.

I’m either a glutton for punishment or there’s just something about the smell of wet hay in the morning I can’t seem to resist .

If you need me, I’ll be in the announcer’s booth, humming Dancing Queen around a mouthful of apple.

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One Response to “Horses hate me. The feeling’s mutual.”

  1. alantru said

    I know your pain. My wife left me for a horse. I’ve never forgiven them and don’t know that I ever can.

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