E R N I E ' S H O U S E O F W H O O P A S S
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For one semester, I made the mistake of joining the Penn State Equestrian Team. Sure, everyone knows about our "fabulous" football team (maybe it'll get better next year?), but even most of the students here are unaware that there is a team of horse back riders that usually makes it to Nationals every year. It's about the only place in State College, other than the local strip club, where you'll find hot young college chicks dressed in tight leather and clenching riding crops. (P.S.-It's a coed team. There needs to be more hot guys that are willing to learn to ride...)
credit given to original author if known
I've grown up around horses; I love the big beasts. I love a sport where a 116 pound girl can encourage an 1100 pound animal to jump over 3 foot fences, always living on the fringe of the possiblity that, at any given moment, the horse might refuse, or trip and fall, and said girl can potentially go "smush". They don't always listen, and that's what makes the sport a challenge. My dad loves to remind me "Remember what happened to Christopher Reeves" (note: As a former EMT, I was taught that the EMTs failed to stabilize his neck properly, resulting in his paralysis; sure, falling off a horse and landing on his head probably didn't help either.).
About a year ago now, I had my most traumatic incident involving a horse...and it didn't involve a major crash and fall.
Horses are reasonably intelligent creatures; they react to human body language and tone of voice. They know when you're afraid, pissed off, or happy. They also figure out, rather quickly, what makes you tick.
I happened to be in a fabulous mood as I sauntered into the barn for my riding lesson. I was well ahead of schedule (my Nazi bitch riding instructor would have it no other way), singing to myself as I checked the roster to see who I'd be riding. I'd been assigned Sparkle. Sparkle, a little red pony that I'd affectionately nicknamed "the Anti Christ," stood waiting in his stall, eyes gleaming. I convinced myself that no, he wouldn't try to smash my leg into a jump today, nor try to gallop back into the barn with me. I gathered up the horse's bridle, tack, and grooming brushes.
I started at his hooves, which were of course packed with mud. I'm not the girliest girl alive, but I'm still not too fond of getting cold mud caked under my nails in late November. I went back into the aisle, grabbed a towel, and entered the stall of the Anti Christ. Little did I know that towel would be the unsung hero of the day.
I lifted his front hoof and began to scrape the mud out of it with a hoof pick. Sparkle watched, disinterested, chewing on the remnants of an ear of corn. I picked up his back hoof on that side and began to repeat the process. Just to say "hey, how's it going back there?," Sparkle lifted his long red tail and let out a nice, trumpeting fart (this isn't unusual for horses to do--and I know they do it on purpose). "Nice work, dickwad," I said cheerfully. One of the other riders had entered the barn and heard me address the horse as such--and gasped. Seriously folks, horses don't care what the fuck you call them, it's all in the tone of voice...they don't really understand English...or do they?
I started on his front hoof on the other side. Sparkle continued to munch his corn, more or less ignoring me. I heard a rumble from inside his fat pony belly. Another fart escaped him--I paid no attention. "You're a gassy little fucker, aren't you?" I said, patting his shoulder. Again, a "hmph" of disapproval from the girl a few stalls down. Jesus Christ--not that long ago, some hick guy tried (unsuccessfully) to fuck a horse in a neighboring town (he was too short, even with a stepstool)--get a grip. People are too uptight.
It is at this moment that I'd like to mention that I had just washed my $100 cotton breeches (the tight little beige riding pants) and polished my $200 riding boots. I was wearing my PSET T-shirt, freshly laundered. I ran my hand down Sparkle's leg and clucked, cueing him to lift his hind hoof off the floor for cleaning...
..and that's when all hell broke loose.
A stream of liquid shit shot from Sparkle's asshole without warning, spraying onto his tail, my arms, hands, breeches, T-shirt, boots, and hair (which luckily played blocker for my face). I didn't even squeal--I instinctively jumped back away from the brown geyser erupting from Sparkle's hindquarters. Horses don't like sudden movements, by the way. Sparkle spooked from my jump back, and spun to get away from me--stepping on my foot in the process. If he was a full sized horse, I'd probably have had broken toes. Instead, I just let out a nice scream.
The girl a few stalls down yelled "Are you okay?" I heard the tap tap tap of her boots as she came running to my rescue.
"I'm FINE! Just keep tacking up!" I yelled, trying to hide my hideous, stinking body behind the pony's ass, which had finished erupting.
"What happened?" she asked.
"Umm...horse stepped on my foot. I'm ok," I said. I felt tears of pain and nausea welling up in my eyes. Before I'd arrived, I had shoveled about half a pound of pasta and Parmesan cheese into my mouth (what can I say, I'm an Italian girl!). I began dry heaving. Sparkle watched with curiosity as I began to make coughing/hacking noises. The last thing I needed was to puke.
Then, I made the biggest mistake--I looked down. There were fragments of corn kernels stuck amongst the brown (quite warm) liquid on my hands.
Now, I'm no stranger to dealing with horse shit--it comes with the territory. If you're a rider, you find yourself constantly stepping in horse shit. You come to almost welcome the smell of it. Sometimes, they roll in it out in the field, and you have to brush it off their coats. But no amount of stepping in horse shit could have prepared me for that. This was the sour product of the bowels of Hell.
I released my pasta in a few large heaves. I heard the other girl leaving the barn with her mount; no one had a clue about the atrocity in Sparkle's stall.
I tried not to breath as I reached for the towel, which had missed the spray of shit/vomit in the far corner of the stall. I began (in vain) to try to sop up the shit on my breeches and T-shirt. I managed to create big smeared stains across the pants; the navy T-shirt hid most of the damage. I tried not to heave again as I used a horse brush to remove some clumps of horse shit from my hair.
Now, I was late for my lesson, and Nazi bitch coach would be looking for me soon.
I kicked wood shavings over the pile of vomit, feeling an honest pang of pity for the recently hired Mexican immigrants who cleaned the barn for pennies a day. Although it was freezing cold outside, I used the hose on the back of the barn to try to wash the stains off my pants, and managed to fade them to a less-noticeable shade (looking like I had just pissed myself was the least of my problems). I washed the rest of the shit from my hair, and tacked up Sparkle for my lesson. Forget brushing. Brushing the horse is like a nice little massage for them. I didn't have the time, nor the patience. I was dirty, and he was going to be dirty, too.
I swear he was smiling as I tugged him towards the indoor riding ring in the other barn. With a wicked case of subzero swampass and a lingering odor, I got on Sparkle's back and let him know who was boss, once and for all. You may have shit on me, my friend, but now guess who's in the driver's seat?
I even managed to ignore my coach's obnoxious, drawling yell that I still hear in my darkest nightmares: "Whyyy does Sparkle look liiiiike he wasn't groooooomed? I can smell that pony from over heeeeeeere."