Saturday, June 19, 2010

Guest Blogger: Jennifer Walker

I'd like to welcome guest blogger, Jennifer Walker. Jennifer writes young adult fiction. She's a freelance writer, editor and novelist--that is, when she's not teaching ballroom dance lessons or attempting to do dressage with her Arabian horse. She published her first book, Bubba Goes National (, earlier this year and is working on the sequel.

Thank God I’m a Country Girl, by Jennifer Walker

Having horses and spending a lot of time around them does something to you. It changes you. It teaches you things, makes you do things you never thought you would have to—or be able to—do. I have gone through phases of having horses and not throughout my life, but through it all I’ve been a country girl at heart. From the very first horse I had when I was nine, I learned a lot of things while taking care of horses: compassion, responsibility, and above all, a sense of humor…because horses can and will make a fool out of you at the moments you least expect it. That’s right, I said momentS, because it happens over and over again—and what can you do but laugh about it?

I’ve learned a lot of things about myself and about the important things in life. I’ve learned that getting a little blood on your brand new boots really doesn’t matter when that blood is coming out of your favorite horse’s leg. I’ve learned that after going home several days in a row with at least two kinds of horse excretion somewhere on me along with about a pound of dirt, germs just aren’t that big a deal. Oh sure, I wash my hands after using the bathroom and before I touch food, but not much grosses me out anymore. I just can’t understand why my husband doesn’t want me hauling dirty horse blankets around in the car and washing them in our household washing machine. What’s a little dirt and manure?
I’ve learned that if you tell a buyer that even though you haven’t had much time to work with your horse, he’s a really good boy and never does anything bad, he will choose that moment to decide he’s going to start rearing. In fact, not only will he rear straight up, he’ll paw at the air for extra effect, ears pricked and eyes bright while he shows off his new trick. I learned on that particular day that I can not only stay on when a horse rears straight up and paws at the air, I can maintain my dignity and act like it’s no big deal. Funny, those buyers didn’t buy that horse, but he eventually found the perfect home.
I’ve learned that mud and cars are not the best combination, and in the process of learning that I got plenty of practice learning how to get a car out of the mud. I had the opportunity to show off this knowledge to my husband, when we got the car stuck in muddy grass one rainy night when feeding my horse. Not only was the car stuck in mud, but it was facing the wrong way on a narrow track and had to be turned around in place.
Greg was ready to call a tow truck, but I authoritatively took the wheel. I proceeded to rock the car forward and back, turning a little each time. When I finally had it facing the right way, Greg suggested he get behind the car and push while I eased it out of the mud. Imagine my pride at my accomplishment when pulled out of the mud and onto firmer ground. Imagine my chagrin when Greg opened the passenger-side door to get in, and he was dripping wet and covered in mud and grass from head to toe. Good thing he has the requisite sense of humor for being around horses and horsey girls.

Yes, spending a lot of time around horses has taught me a lot of lessons, and only a few of them have landed me in the hospital. Would I go back in time and change any of it? Not on your life—thank God I’m a country girl!



Laura Crum said...

I can sure relate to being relatively unaware that one is covered in dirt and horse manure stains. I never notice until I am in the company of some pristine suburbanite and then all of a sudden it dawns on me that she is trying not to stare at my disheveled hair and dirt smudged clothes. Let alone the manure on my boots. Yep, I hear you. Horse gals are a different breed.

lopinon4 said...

Wonderful writing! I feel like I can admit here that I don't wash my hands all the time after horsin' and before chow time. But, I sure do wash my hands after shaking someone's hand or after I use the bathroom. Horse germs aren't germs. If something is associated with a horse, including germs and poo, it's a wonderful thing.