YOU CAN'T OWN JUST ONE!
you ever heard of the dreaded Horse Addiction? If you are a horse
person, you probably know something about it. We Nathans are experts.
It's cost us friends and a ton of money. We've talked about the
problem with our current friends, most of whom are also severely
addicted. We proposed a new organization, modeled on Alcoholics
Anonymous, but with a kickier name: Horse Addicts of Yesterday--
or HAY! We also proposed 12 step meetings before, during, and
after horse shows. And even-- acknowledging just how bad the addiction
is--during horse show classes. Yes, your HAY! sponsor would
ride double with you during your classes, singing the HAY!
anthem, and urging you to stay in control! Talk about commitment!
this report to let you know that we tried HAY! -- and it failed.
First off, not too many horse addicts want to kick. None, actually.
In hopes that someone who reads this will be moved to quit,
a transcript of an actual HAY! meeting follows. Hopefully, none
of you will sink to the depths of depravity shown here. Treatment
professionals should find it invaluable. Many resemblances exist
between horse addiction and addictions to hard drugs. For instance,
a heroin addict may get clean of heroin, but later become an alcoholic.
Or cocaine addict. Similarly, someone addicted to hunter-jumpers
or three day eventing may break that addiction and find him/herself
hooked by a reined stock horse. Or even a mule. Or driving. Sad,
but true. Arab riders may change to weirder horses, such as Peruvian
Pasos. (Our research shows that no one switches into Arab
addiction from another breed. We suspect that Arab addiction is
caused by a mutant gene. Or possibly alien abduction.)
HAY's! time on earth was short, it did provide us with valuable
insights. For instance, we know that horse addiction is totally
untreatable. One bright spot is that future generations may not
exhibit a tendency toward it, as true of many other addictions.
For instance, we asked one woman how she felt about horses. She
said, "I hate horses. My father had race horses." Gasp. The worst horse addiction, feeding another addiction, gambling.
The woman went on, "I spent my childhood cleaning stalls.
I was unpaid barn help at stinking fairgrounds. My father spent
our FAMILY FORTUNE on his lousy horses!! I hate horses."
She started raving and was carted away....
a nugget for all horse-addicted parents: Indulge those horse related
cravings, Mom and Dad, and make your kids free! They'll hate horses
so much they'll never follow your example. And--you'll get what
you really want! You need that new saddle! Horse!
don't need college that much.
YOU DESERVE THAT DREAM RANCH!
the transcript. This HAY! meeting took place at an unnamed all-breed
horse show in the American West. Names have been changed to protect
the obvious. Read and weep. This could be you.
wiping her eyes: "I used to have a beautiful 10,000 square
foot house. With granite counters. And a Sub-Zero. A swimming
pool. A full time maid! My hands!" She looks at her hands
and cries. "I had perfect hands. Like a lady!" The group
waits for Alana to compose herself. She does, "Now, I have
a 1,200 square foot shack. There's holes in the walls! The toilet
leaks. My refrigerator came from Sears. Used. I don't even have
a cleaning lady...." She breaks down. "My job! Oh! My
job!" Someone says, "Did you lose your job, too, Alana?"
A gruff, Germanic voice intervenes, "No cross talk!"
It's Fritz, the HAY! leader. Boy,he is tough! Alana moans, "No.
I have three jobs. I have to pay my vet bills! My trainer! The
hay man! You know how it is, feeding a habit." Anguished
looks. No one will meet her eyes.
my husband!" Alana sobs. "How could he do that to me?
After all these years!" Alana sobs, then lapses into silence.
What did the creep do? Cheat on her? Leave her? When she can,
Alana speaks, "He beat me at the Nationals! I should
have won that pleasure class! I deserved the Blue! I earned it!" Alana's eyes look demented. "But I fixed
him" She lets out a barely audible chuckle and rubs her hands.
"I cut him off in the finals!! Rode him right into the wall!
See if he beats me again." A murmur rumbles around
the room. Of what? Anger? Approval? Of good job, Alana? Way to
go? What does the crowd's strange energy mean?
unhinged. "I don't care if I have a lousy house! I've got
264 acres! 40 box stalls! Pastures! A round pen! Hot walker! And
a LIGHTED INDOOR ARENA! I don't care about my old house! All my
old friends! My family! I don't care that I have to work every
waking minute to pay my trainer and vet! Just seeing Bootsy out
there, playing in his corral is enough! Bootsy and Tootles and
Foxen and Lord of the Manor, and Elvis, VaVoom, Voodoo, Ringo.....
Violet, Rosie..." Alana can't go on naming her horses because
of the stomping and whistling from the others. "Atta way,
Alana! You go, Girl! Who needs a house! You have 40 box stalls!
Ride right over him the next time, Sugar!" They're out of
three day event rider before joining HAY!, cuts in, "Please!
No cross talk. Just tell your own story." He pauses, and
addresses Alana, his prerogative as group leader. "Alana,
I'm getting really nervous hearing you. I think you better talk
to your sponsor." "You're my sponsor, Fritz." Oh.
He hadn't been listening to her during their sessions. Fritz couldn't
stop thinking about a copy of "Reined Horse Rider".
The pictures! When he was jumping and doing dressage, Fritz never
noticed how beautiful the reined stock horses were. How much skill
it takes to ride them. How cool cows were, either, or how awesome
Western riding clothes are. The craving to ride a cutter or reiner
is overwhelming. With difficulty, Fritz brings his attention back
to the room.
A new group
member, Sandy N., is telling her pitiful tale, so much like all
the others'. "I've been crazy about horses my whole life.
Maybe even before that. I had a past life regression that said
I was a cavalry officer in....." Fritz: "Stick to this
life, Sandy. Its the rules." "But I'm from California..."
"No past lives, even if it is a major part of your culture!"
She wilts, then recovers. "Well, my first horse was a bay
gelding named 'Spice'." The crowd perks up at the physical
description of a horse. "He was so great! He bucked in circles.
Nailed me so many times I can't count." Aw. How cute! He
bucked her off! "He had trouble with flying lead changes.
But you could rope off of him..." Misty looks around the
room. A first horse story!
June P is
moved to tears, "I had a bay gelding once..." Sandy
fires back viciously, "This is my story! Butt out!"
No one will ever cut her off! In the show ring, or out
of it. "Once I had a horse, my life became unending trail
rides and parades. Riding lessons. A drill team. But I really
got hooked when I got into horse shows." Nods. Shows were
the worst! Best! The adrenaline! The thrill of victory! The lust
for revenge! Sandy went on, "I got a real good gray gelding.
Came from one of the Rose brothers out in Hollister, California."
No one appreciates her dated name dropping. June,wiping her eyes,starts
up with her story, "I had a gray gelding, too." Alvin:
"Me, too!" Suzy, "Me, too! He caulked and died."
Oh, no! Colic is the worst. The group starts to cry.
barks out, "Hey! I'm not done. That gray gelding was good,
but my last horse as a kid was incredible! A thoroughbred Quarter
Horse cross. Bucked like a rodeo horse, but when she worked, Wow!"
The atmosphere in the room becomes electric. Did she win? People
clutch their chairs. "She could spin like nobody's business.
And stop! She won the California State Reserve Champion Junior
Stock Horse title one year. Incredible horse! Her name was 'Robin
Rose.'" Sandy's voice becomes worshipful, uttering the animal's
name. Group members burst out with their own horse show wins.
Jill: "I won the AHSA Hunt Seat Medal Class in Madison Square
Garden when I was 17!" "Wow, Jill!" She beams.
Harvey, "Well, my mare was National Grand Champion last
in, scowling, "This is bad talk, talking about winning. Talking
about horse shows." His face takes on its harshest look,
"But, if you want to talk about these things, I won more
than any of you. That's why I'm the HAY! leader! I won
everything! In the Fatherland, they still talk of my winning.
When I come to this pathetic country, I win even more..."
up, Fritz!" Handling rank horses has made a woman of Sandy.
"No one cares about what you did in the Old Country. Or here.
And it's still my turn!" She bursts into tears, "I never
should have sold Robin!" Abject anguish. Shirley, "Why
don't you just buy her back?" "She'd be 57 years old,
if she was alive." Sobs. "She died in someone else's
barn! I never should have let her go. She had so much cow! The
last guy who owned her liked her so much he bred her to his stallion,
even though she was 27 years old. My Robin had a filly! Supposedly
better than her mother!" The air grows hard. Jaws clench.
color was she?" "Bay." A good, conservative color.
Correct anywhere. "I heard he baby had more cow than her
mother." "Robin had lots of cow?" Fritz could picture
the mare before him, dark bay, incredible hocks. Great short back.
An incredible stop. "Vere is this baby mit all der cow?"
Fritz' German accent gets more noticeable when he's excited. The
air is thick as cheese. People are shifty eyed, picking up their
purses and briefcases, sidling toward the door. "She's in
Bakersfield. In California." All the western riders calculate
mentally: "Not too bad, 18 hours across the desert in the
middle of the night. Not too far to see a good prospect."
the stampede, "Vell, my friends. I joost remember I have
appointment right now." (10 PM on Saturday night?) "Ve
have to end zee meeting. Bye-bye." Fritz runs for the door,
jamming it from the outside, buying himself a precious few moments.
He's pulling out the parking lot when the rest stream out, having
climbed out the windows. They scream obscenities at Fritz as they
jump into their trucks. The race to Bakersfield is on.
Bakersfield, exactly? Where is Robin's filly, assuming they find
Bakersfield? The group pulls out their cell phones at the exact
same second, calling Bakersfield information and creating an historic
jam up. Each participant in the race calls every horse-sounding
establishment the operator comes up with, including the Carousel
Coffee Shop. Their finely tuned stalking instincts fully operational,
the hunters seek and find the target. Robin's baby is at Elvis
DeNiro's Training Stables just outside of town. The real action
begins! Those cell phones are smokin'! Sotheby's never saw an
auction like this!
the bidding war, paying $18K for a 30 year old mare he's never
seen! What a guy! But that's why he was the HAY! leader. The group
pulls into Elvis' yard at the same time. Elvis pulls out Fritz'
new mare, Blue Bay-O. She's down in the back, half blind, and
staggers when she walks. She still has great pasterns. Elvis shakes
a toy shaped like a cow. It makes a mooing noise. Blue Bay-O drops
halfway to the ground, crouching like one of the horses in the
magazines, ears going like radar, looking for a bovine. "Wow,"
says Fritz. "That's cow!" The others stand around admiring
Fritz and his purchase. He has what it takes to be a HAY! leader--
THE REAL ROBIN ROSE
Yes, she's a real horse. The photo was the last
time I showed her back in 1965. The show was "Tally Ho",
at the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton, California. They still hold
the show every year. The photo illustrates a number of important
points: (1) I really did wear size 29 jeans once. (2) Almost every
aspect of horsemanship is better now than in the "good old
days". You'd see jerky stops like this back then, the horses'
mouths open and heads thrown up. Training and horsemanship have
improved incredibly. Modern Western riding is as elegant as dressage.
(3) Robin had great hocks. Look that those hocks! Umm!
didn't sell Robin. I gave her away. Twice. The last time when
she was in her mid-twenties to a big Southern California trainer
whose name I can't remember to save my life. He did breed her
and get that baby! That baby-- or its baby, or its-- is out there!
Please, please, if you see a horse that looks like the horse in
this photo or maybe its child or grandchild, e-mail me!
Gramma's here! Come back! I didn't mean to give your great great
grandma away!! It was all a mistake! Come back!
As you can
see, beating horse addiction is not easy! We don't know anyone
who's actually done it. Oh, some have used cheap tricks to escape.
Bankruptcy. Going to jail. Death. You might as well admit defeat.
The only thing to do is enjoy the ride and company!
All the best to
my fellow addicts!
STEPPING OFF THE EDGE: LEARNING & LIVING SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
A MODERN SPIRITUAL COMPANION
A TALE OF MYSTICIAM & MONEY MENON
"BILL GATES MEETS DON JUAN."
TECOLOTE: THE LITTLE HORSE THAT COULD
BORN PREMATURELY ON A FREEZING NIGHT, THE COLT HAD TO FIGHT FOR HIS LIFE.
THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY
A FUTURE WORLD ONLY HEARTBEATS FROM OUR OWN
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AUTHOR SANDY NATHAN IS THE WINNER OF SEVENTEEN NATIONAL AWARDS!
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