Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What's really important? Nope, not that.

Hearing Your Horse Through the Noise - Horse Collaborative

Maybe it's the late winter doldrums.  Maybe it's the time change.  Whatever, lately I've noticed a lot of articles in horse mags and online geared toward stuff that is just...well...stuff.  I got thinking about the stuff and thought it might be good to sort out what's meaningful and what's just filler.

I worked at a newspaper.  I know a lot about filler.  When an article ran a little short on the column length, we'd add a cut line (that's a line that separates stuff from other stuff), and below it we'd paste (really we used wax and glue sticks...ah, the good ol' daze!) a little chunk of info geared to keep the reader from seeing the ever-deadly White Space.  White space means no info, which means the paper is dull and not chock full of newsy goodness.  So below the cut line would be some snippet that came on a big sheet of similar snippets of non-information supplied by a supplier whose job was to sell fillers to newspapers for drones like me to cut into bite-sized pieces.

Example:

__________________________________
McDonalds doesn't sell hotdogs because
they make the buns soggy when left under the
heat lamp for twenty-seven hours and four
minutes.
___________________________________
Eyebrows are not considered facial hair
despite being hair that is, essentially, 
facial in location.
____________________________________


I know you were dying to know that, right?  Don't go spreading it around.  Not only is it copyrighted  stuff, but I made it up.  

Are you paying attention?  I'm talking to YOU!

So let's separated the wheat from the manure.  

Important [stuff that matters]:

Did you horse look clear-eyed and alert today?  Is his hair coat shiny?  Are there weeping pustules in places where no pustules should exist, let alone weep?  Are his feet solid and well-trimmed?  Has he had his vaccinations and been wormed according to some realistic schedule unrelated to fad or financial aggravations?  Is he walking smoothly without a hitch in his gitalong?  Did he eat his breakfast?  Is he chewing normally, or are there fairy wads of gummed-over hay strewn about his area?  Does he appear to be standing upright?  Did he recognize you despite your having been notably absent from his environment since the last snow?  Is he bleeding?  Lethargic?  Glaring at you with overweening hatred?  Has he become a danger to the world at large?

Have you met your horse?

Filler [Really?  This is what you're thinking about?]:

Does the breed/size/color of your horse suggest you have mental issues?  Did you clip a likeness of Pharrell Williams into his butt hair long after "Happy" ceased to be number 1 on the hit list?  Does your nail polish match his tack?  Do you know the titles of the top ten most often-read horse books in history?  Are you up-to-date on the latest products for concho-polishing so you can blind the judge instead of impressing him?  Do you know what color breeches are in this year, and have you started the Equestrian Diet so you can wear them without looking sausage-y?  Have you posted sufficient horse selfies on social media?  Do you know where the yes/no vote on ear clipping stands this season?  Name plate or name tag?  Gelding or mare?  Real fleece muffies or washable fakes?  Did you bookmark every horse-related "Three [Five, Seven, Ten] Easy Steps To___________" article you found?

Care to join your horse in the real world?

There's a lot to know about your horse.  S/he has a lot to tell you.  Are you listening, or are you busy with the social part of being a Horse Person?  

If you do nothing else horse-related this week, give just being with your horse a try.  A good grooming is probably a fine place to start.  Go over him with a fine-toothed comb (figuratively and literally), and make a list of what he needs.  Listen to him.  Check your file (you do keep a file on your horse, right?  Right?) and update what needs updating.  

Mostly, take the time to think about whether the things you're focused on have any real meaning for your horse and your relationship with him.  Ditch the filler.  You won't miss it.  Read the linked article and try really being with your horse.  There's a world inside him that you'll be glad you visited.

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