I got a new one today as I walked back from the barn. Yes, before today, no one has ever called me a Husky-walking pony rider. Needless to say, I was both very surprised and offended that such an insult could be hurled at me so carelessly from the backseat of a truck. Indeed, I cannot for the life of me think of what I could have done to provoke such a treacherous insult. Do I honestly appear to be they type of girl who would deign to ride a horse under 14 hands high?
The event occurred as Bailey (my black and white Border Collie bitch) and I walked down the main road past the restaurants, movie theater, and inns. I had been musing to myself whether I looked more like a horseman or just a general outdoorsman coming in from a day in the backcountry. With my ankle-high paddock boots, long sleeved blue collared shirt, and my mom’s wide brimmed hat more suited for a safari than a trailride, I didn’t think the average person would know that I was a horseman. A cowgirl.
Apparently I was wrong about that.
As Bailey and I strolled up to the main traffic light, I became aware of a robust thirty-something gentleman with a ruddy complexion leaning partially out of the backseat window of a faux-pick up truck. It was faux because it could certainly never pull a horsetrailer up a road with any kind of mud and it would never be able to fit more than one bale of hay in the truck bed.
“Whoa!” called the gentleman in the faux-truck.
Bailey and I assumed, as we always do, that the poor man must have some psychological disorder, so we decidedly put up our noses and pretended we did not see him. The next words he uttered only confirmed our suspicion that he was, in fact, mad.
“Hey there husky! Husky! Husky-dooooog!” Then he began to howl.
Naturally, Bailey and I were thoroughly confused. Surely this poor soul was not mistaking my slight black and white Border Collie for a thick-coated, sled-pulling native of the north? As Bailey and I waited the several long minutes for the light to turn, we listened to this strange red-faced man wondering what demon possessed him. Was he even shouting at the pair of us?
Then came the answer to this question and the one about my horseman appearance.
“Whooo! Ride that pony! Yeah! Ride it! Whooo!”
Now, this poor befuddled man had taken this joke (I assumed it was a joke from the laughter of his friends in the front seat) too far. The humor in the situation that was becoming increasingly difficult for me to see. After all, this man had not only disgraced my bitch, but he had quite literally belittled my mount. I felt my blood begin to boil as I thought of this man referring to my almost sixteen hand Saddlebred as a pony! How could this corpulent fool yell such atrocities at us from the backseat of his fake-truck?
I stared straight ahead, keeping my mouth closed in a firm scowl to communicate to this gentleman that I was in no way going to communicate with him at all—a message which, given its nature, is very difficult to send. As the fool continued to yell what he may have (very mistakenly) thought to be sweet nothings in my direction, I felt my heart begin to pound.
Inextricably, I oftentimes find myself intimidated by groups of idiotic men— only the idiotic variety. The showy displays of the lack of properly functioning neural circuits of these men—as evidenced by the honking, hollering, or once even being poked in the back of my arm with a toothpick—lead me to believe that these lesser evolved humanoids might be capable of doing things that society has managed to suppress with its sophisticated rules and taboos. After all, if they lack the higher reasoning to deduce that I am not the type of woman who would walk a husky nor choose a 5 lumbar vertebrae* equine for a mount, might they also deduce with the same flawed logic that I am the type of woman who…
I shuddered. Suddenly the man’s calls of “Ride that pony!” took on a menacing tone. Yes, we were in broad daylight. Yes, we were on a busy street. Yes, they were in a car that would drive away as soon as this stupid light changes (Change already, dammit!).
And yes, I had my faithful bitch at my side.
Yet, I could not shake this feeling of powerlessness. I imagine it is the type of vulnerability that tends to befall those who choose fluffier dogs and stubby-legged equines. I could not shake these oppressive feelings until my hand came to rest on my front jeans pocket where my folding 3-inch blade made an almost-rectangle through the denim.
I shared a knowing glance with Bailey, and smiled.
Suddenly, the man in the truck was scratching his head at the humor in the situation which was becoming increasingly difficult for him to see. As the light changed and his friend hit the gas, the ruddy faced gentleman was subdued wondering why that bitch’s smile made him shiver from the inside out.
*Recall that ponies have one fewer lumbar vertebrae than their full-sized counterparts.
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Devon Newhouse is a student who enjoys good cooking and conversation. When faced with a dearth of people, she has been known to make (rather one-sided) conversation with her dogs. She studies history and enjoys giving her research papers alliterative titles, since she believes that it might make things a little bit easier for whoever is forced to read her (and her classmates’) work. When she is not studying history, she is making it up—and writing it down in what she likes to call fiction.
Her submissions to the Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.