Monday, October 16, 2006

Fox and hound

Saw this on my local Craigslist: Someone wants to start a Fox and hound bicycle game in my city.

I love my little blue Cannondale and I've had some wonderful times on bikes, but reading this particular post made me long for the days when riding to me meant horses.

I've been on a foxhunt before - the kind with horses and doggies, er, hounds and MFHs (masters of the fox hunts) and whip (or, to the green, whipper-ins) and it was way fun.

I was a young Pony Clubber at the time, but to ride in the hunt as an adult is a whole different ball of wax. The adults get to drink afterwards. They have flasks! And now that I'm an adult I ride my bike.

Sorry to say, but the horse version of "Fox and hound" is more exciting to me than the bike version. I have no choice. I don't have a horse anymore. My custom chaps - embroidered with my initials, and with fringe!, custom tall boots, helmet, Tailored Sportsman breeches, hunt coats, spurs, draw reins, bell boots, splint boots, bridles, oiled shipping halter with brass nameplate and real lambswool, polo wraps, hairnets - for showing, martingales, curry combs, scrims, turn-out blankets, tack trunks, a saddle, and every other piece of high-end, overpriced gear that my parents bought for me -- bless them, I had so much fun -- are packed away in my parents' basement. I haven't even transferred the gear to my own, as in we own a house, I have a little girl of my own now, basement.

I should, someday, tally the list above, though that list isn't exhaustive. That list doesn't cover the monthly board that at one time topped $1,000 a month, the purchase price of several horses, the monthly vet bills - the one horse needed corrective shoeing, which is $150 (cash) per month. I don't even spend that much on my own shoes. Then there's lessons, private lessons of course. There's the show weekends, which included $30 a day for a professional braider (I do not make this crap up) to braid the horse's mane and tail for a polished look in the ring. There's the other expenses at a show - the trainer's daily expense, the rental of the stall at the show, the bedding for the rental stall, the trailer that takes all the horses from the barn, the tip to the grooms who scoop the poop from your horse's stall and polish your horse's feet with shellack before you (I) go into the show ring only to totally bomb the course that one time or get moody for no reason other than every other kid is a snob and you figure you should be one, too. Sure, there were wins, too, but if you are (I'm ) thinking back on all of this now that you're (I'm) a parent, you realize how good your parents were to you and how much opportunity they gave you.

There's good reason why, when I had outgrown my banana seat two-wheeler and it was time to get a 10-speed, my father took me to the expensive bike shop several Saturdays in a row and patiently let me try every bike there was, offering to buy me a high-end bike. Yet I opted for horses and he didn't complain except to joke about the hayburner.

Let's hope my daughter takes her father up on his offer to buy the sweetest custom ride ever, but if she goes for horses, too, I won't complain. Often.


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