Writing Redneck Dressage has been fun! Especially with the timing falling around the Olympics. My Pas De Deux partner, Ann Switalski, sat down at the keyboard and penned her own chapter. We may actually get a book out of this! Check out Ann's The Stupidest Woman to Buy a Horse

Redneck Dressage - Open

Redneck Dressage - Part Deux

Redneck Dressage - Part Trois - Trail Riding

Redneck Dressage - Part Quatre - 50 Shades

Redneck Dressage - Part Cinq - Work


Do I really consider myself to be the stupidest woman to buy a horse?  Um, sometimes!  I had the typical introduction to horses as a young girl.  I saw a horse, I fell in love.  Fate was sealed forever.  But for various reasons, most of them stupid, I didn’t learn how to actually ride a horse until I was an adult.  It wasn’t until I was a mother and got the wonderful idea that my child should take riding lessons did I consider learning how to ride.  I took a few lessons, leased a horse for a few months, learned how to canter, and then decided I was ready to buy a horse.

So what did I purchase for my first horse?  I bought a beautiful little two year old mare.  Yes, two years old.  What could go wrong?  After all, it was my riding instructor who was selling me the horse.

So, here I am, a new horse owner with next to no experience handling horses or even riding horses and I have to figure out how to raise a two year old filly.  Hmmm, first of all, where should I keep her?  I know, there’s a rundown stable at the local air force base.  It’s very cheap board and I only have to provide my own feed, my own hay and clean my own stalls.  That sounds perfect for a new horse owner who knows next to nothing about horses.  Right?

My fellow boarders immediately took it upon themselves to let me know what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong.  It was up to me to sort through the thirty or so different opinions and decide who really knew what they were talking about.  Of course there was advice on feed, corn oil, weight gain supplements, beet pulp, alfalfa and god knows what else that may help my baby gain a pound or two.  My new horse was so ungodly thin that I just threw tons of food in her direction and hoped she would gain enough weight to keep her ribs from protruding so much.   I would have fed her Krispy Cream Doughnuts by the dozen if I thought it would help.

The feeding of my new horse was the easy part.  Picking her playmates proved to be much more difficult.  The stables had two fields that contained the horses during the daytime.  One field was about 30 acres in size and had a herd of 30 horses running free and wild.  The horses were a mix of young and old, boys and girls.  The other field was about 3 acres in size and contained two bat shit crazy Arab geldings (I didn’t thoroughly understand what a “hot” horse was at this time).  I decided to put my filly with the Arabs.  I mean, how bad could they be?  They weren’t very large, just over 15 hands and were actually quite pretty when they pranced around proclaiming their beauty to the world.  I told the morning feeder to turn out my horse with the geldings and see how things go.

After spending the day with the Arabs, I drove to the stable in the evening around feeding time to bring my skinny little girl into her stall and give her dinner.  The rules of the barn require owners to escort their horses to their stall during the first week of residency.   I didn’t expect this to be a long drawn out affair.  I showed up to the barn wearing appropriate attire for a date with my husband.  This was, after all, just a quick stop on our way to the restaurant.  I proceeded to gather my horse’s halter and lead rope and walk to the gated entrance to the 3 acre field.  All three horses were pushing and shoving at the gate and it was clear that my filly was not going to be given permission to leave the field first.  I opened the gate, put the halter on my horse and attempted to weasel her out of the small opening in the gate.  The Arabs became totally irate and started pushing more aggressively while biting and kicking as well.  The situation really started to spin out of control when one of the Arabs spun 180 degrees and threw a double barrel kick at my baby.  That was it!!!  I had nothing to defend my horse with expect for….my shoes.  Yes, my size 10 gunboats became weapons of mass destruction.  I promptly threw one shoe and then the other, successfully buying myself enough time to wiggle Miss Skinny through the gate and shut it before the geldings could escape.  Yes, I could hear a few spectators gasp and declare, “She’s going to throw her shoes!”.  Funny how my fellow boarders felt inclined to stand back and make snarky comments but didn’t feel inclined to offer assistance.

I wish I could say that was just a rough first day and I never had another problem after that but that’s not how the horse world works.  That’s what makes a horse owner so special.  We continue to rise to each and every challenge, fighting for our horse and showing true courage that can only come out of true love.