I’ve never been a horse person. Never wanted to own one, didn’t enjoy the few times I’ve ridden one, don’t really enjoy going to the races, don’t want to pet one, feed one an apple, etc. About the only thing I do like about horses is watching young folds frolicking around in a field.
The people who do like horses, though, are a special breed of humans. There is something different about their DNA than those who are not horse people. They have some infinity or bond that permits them to give up huge blocks of time and energy, spend lots of money, not mind long mornings spent mucking out stalls filled with excrement or bathing and brushing down a half-ton of animal flesh.
Looking for an auction I happened to drive through the stable area of Clinton County Fairgrounds over the weekend. I’ve been around stables before and know they are places where many people choose to spend their lives. Stable hands are among some of the most poorly paid people in America but ones I’ve known wouldn’t consider any other life. They eat, sleep, and dream horses.
Ten or fifteen years ago I visited the Pioneer Village at Paint Creek State Park. Nearby was the equine riding trails and a large group of trail riders were having a weekend gathering. I was stunned at the equipment these people were making payments on. Everyone seemed to have an $80,000 combo RV-horse trailer being pulled by a $50,000 dually pickup truck. They also hauled in ample supplies of hay, straw, horse feed, tack equipment, camping supplies, metal corals, firewood, and much more. In my typical cynicism I took a long look and said to myself, “That’s a lot of damned money to get to spend your weekend surrounded by horse shit.”
Ever drive around our tri-county area and check out the farms that cater to horses and the specialized buildings and fencing needed to be in the horse game? You won’t have to drive very far before coming upon one. Want to see even fancier such places? Just take a drive down US 68 to Lexington and check out the huge horse farms, mansions, immaculate barns and stables, and the miles and miles of board fencing and stone walls.
Horses are a huge deal with many Americans and will always be one of those things I’ll never understand. Owning a horse is just as difficult for me to understand as some old woman who lives in a house with 98 cats. It just has to be a difference in our DNA.