Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Funny Story From Years Ago

I've always had a pet peeve about horses pooping in the arena.  It just irks me.  Possibly because I used to ride at barns full of Dressage Queens who would let their horses just stop in the middle of the arena to poop.  Seriously, these women were riding highly trained horses, and they would just let them stop wherever they were, with no warning, to poop!  This was usually while I was careening around on some out-of-control sale horse, and I would nearly run them over.  They would then turn to me and giggle "Oops! I'm sorry!  My sweet Fleurfengooglestein had to go poopsie.  Teehee!"  And I would think to myself, "Yeah? Well after that near miss, so do I!  But you don't see me stopping in the middle of the arena to do my business, do you?  Because that would be disruptive to the other people using the ring!".

Of course, not every horse stops while they poop.  Some keep right on going, spreading the "love" all over the arena and making it very difficult to clean up later.  It just so happens a good friend of mine used to ride one of those "moving poopers".  This horse could even poop while cantering, and frequently did.  It was a talent.  Which brings me to my funny story.....

Back in the day, when my friend and I were both struggling young professionals, my friend had the opportunity to ride The Pooper in a clinic with an Olympic trainer.  The Pooper's owner was going to pay for the clinic (The Pooper was in training with my friend), so my friend and I hatched a plan:  I would go along as her groom.  We would both get to attend the clinic for free!  Plus, lunch would be served at the clinic!  Hoorah!  For two struggling young pros, that's like hitting the lottery:  We were going to go to a Big Clinic, not have to pay, and eat that day.  Best Day Ever!

Now, we had heard that the owner of the farm hosting the clinic was crazy.  And not crazy in the usual "horse person" way.  Supposedly, this lady had some sort of OCD about cleanliness.  We had heard stories that she required boarders to completely clean any place their horses pooped with bleach and a mop.  Not because of disease, but just because she didn't want her barn aisle to be dirty.  As a result of her obsessiveness, she didn't have many boarders and they never stuck around long.  I have no idea whether or not the stories were true, but her barn was immaculate.  I don't think I've ever seen a cleaner barn in my life.

So, friend and I show up for the clinic with The Pooper.  The clinic is being held in the indoor, which is about one and a half times the length of a standard dressage arena, but the same width.  The Olympic Trainer is holding court at the near end of the arena, and riders are warming up at the far end.  We get The Pooper ready, and friend takes him down to the far end to warm up.  I stay up at the near end to watch Olympic Trainer.

I'm sure you all know where this is going:  The Pooper does his thing, at canter, down at the far end of the arena.  I cringe, knowing I need to clean it up, but I figure I'll wait for the break between riders to go down and get it as there is no way to get down there without walking through the lesson in progress.  And then I hear a noise behind me.  I turn to look.  It's the crazy barn owner.  "You're with that horse, right?" she asks, pointing at The Pooper, "You need to go clean that up". Her tone leaves no doubt that she means right now.  I grab the fork out of the muck bucket and start plotting my path through the lesson.  I hear the barn owner again, "You need the bucket!"

Crap!  The muck bucket is one of those ridiculous wheeled contraptions.  How am I supposed to negotiate this noisy, bulky beast through the lesson going on?  I eye the horse and rider, try to gauge their path.  I grab the bucket and start off down the wall, rattling and clanking.  I watch, in horror, as the horse in the lesson spooks at me and dumps his rider!  As I'm scurrying down the wall, hoping to somehow be absorbed into it, my friend is giving me the "What the hell are you doing?!?" look.  I shrug and point at the barn owner.

I wanted to die.  Here I was, disrupting a clinic with an Olympian and getting someone dumped, to pick up poop!

The Olympian was non-plussed.  He caught the horse and helped the rider up without ever (thankfully!) looking at me.  I still felt really crappy about it, though.  Until I found out that the rider I had unhorsed was the crazy barn owner's daughter.  That horse should have been used to shenanigans!

Actually....  even now, many years later, I feel a little bad about the whole incident.  But, I will admit that's it's still pretty funny!




6 comments:

  1. Some people really are weird. I'm all for cleanliness and such but there's a definite point of obsessiveness!


    I am very mean and don't let my horses stop to poo, ever. So when warming up over jumps one day, my poor horse had to do his thing about two strides out from a jump, and I kicked on and made him go over anyway. When I came back around to the jump, I saw one little "road apple" balanced ever-so-precariously on the top pole. I about fell out of the saddle and died laughing.


    ...Only horse people have multiple funny stories about poop.

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  2. I don't let my horses stop to poop, as a rule, and I do try to keep my arena clean, but there are limits!!

    Glad it was the barn owner's daughter, but equally glad no one got hurt. Olympic trainer had probably been at that barn before and knew the rules. I doubt it was the first time someone wheeled that bucket through a lesson.

    In retrospect, things like this are always better stories to tell then when they are happening.

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  3. HAHAHAHA It is funny story, as nobody got hurt ^-^

    I do not let my horse stop to poop. Simply because horses are not meant to, when they have wolves, mountain lions cahsing them, they will empty their bowels automatically.
    so not poop stop. I get very cross if it happens.

    I let them wee though ^-^

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  4. Funny story. Glad it was the owner's daughter and no one got hurt. That horse should be used to muck buckets is right. What an odd case of OCD.

    Don't let my horses stop for a poop either, but a tinkle is okay.

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  5. Wow - I feel a lot better about my level of cleanliness enthusiasm. Not too extreme - I pick up poop twice a day no matter what, and always before we ride.

    I guess I need to step it up on bathroom breaks while riding though - guilty...

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  6. I'm all about not stopping to poop although it seems quite common practice in Spain, I've had instructors yell at me for NOT letting a horse stop to poop. But what I'm wondering is how do you train a horse not to poop in the arena at all? Thanks in advance for the advice!!!

    ReplyDelete

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