Saturday, August 25, 2007

Welcome to the horse show. Guest blog by Jill Smith

I think Sienna (Pam) Sienna. Audio Video, Disco. I see. I learn -- would be interested in this vignette, written by my daughter, when she was 19.
Pam raises horses, some of them thoroughbreds, an ideal breed for hunting-jumping, the subject of Jill's essay.


Beautifully turned out horses, arabians, thoroughbreds, and even a paint here and there.
Athletic riders cantering sedately around the show ring over eight jumps in a set order.

To the layman, each hunter class in a horseshow is all the same. All he sees are the beautiful animals and the riders, all decked out in hunting jackets, the jodhpurs, riding boots.

But there might be fifty riders in a class. This might affect a school-of-sardines impression. The eyes glaze.

To those taking part, it is another thing entirely. The knowledgeable audience is composed of attentive grooms, red-faced screaming coaches, worried proud parents and overenthusiastic friends. Expect the unexpected!

When it is apparent to everyone save the rider that the horse is going to stop or add an unnecessary half-stride, they all cluck frantically, but it is no good. The dishonest horse halts suddenly in front of an unoffending jump, unceremoniously dunping the hapless rider to the ground. A harried groom attempts to catch the insolent beast while the coach screams, waves his arms, and pulls out his hair.

Ocasionally, a wee slip of a girl is overmounted on a very high-strung, wide-eyed thoroughbread, whose madly-threshing hooves never seem to touch the ground. She steers the foaming beast around the course with a bored expression on her tiny face, oblivious of the frantic cries of "Whoa!" emanating from the spectators.

But it is not just the rounds that we watch. Our other senses pick up other things too, like the familiar aroma of sweaty horses as the grooms frantically curry them into some semblance of dryness.
On your right is a well-dressed woman whose face you recognize and whose nanme escapes you. She is gossiping-- with someone you know equally well--over which coach is sleeping with which student, how much so-and-so spent on her new jumper, and what a shame it is to have lost Dynasty, Box Car Willie and Izvestia, all world-class horses.

In the midst of all this activity, a loudspeaker blares with strange regularity."Loose horse!" This usually upsets the horses on course.

Distracted horses and distracted audience all turn toward the dust cloud that is advancing towards them.
The dust cloud gradually morphs into recognizable quadruped.
Shortly after, a mortified groom comes panting up to retrieve his charge. As an extra treat for us, he may even be bawled out by his rider, who doesn't know where the f... he is or what he is saying.
Hair hanging over the eyes of his hanging head, the chastised groom sullenly dragshis truant charge back to the temporary stables.

No question that there is drama, suspense, comedy here.

Come on out the the hunter rounds!
They are more exciting than you might think.

All you have to do is open your eyes, your ears, and, unfortunately, your nose.

--Jill (Prokopchuk) Smith


Nick said...

Horses are amazing creatures said...

Hi Nick.

I enjoyed your blog.

As a Vietnam vet, you've lived some!


Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

I think horses are beautiful and I can remember being on one once and thinking they were far larger than I imagined they were. Of course, getting bounced off the back end of one could have had something to do with that thought as well....smiles. said...

It is the women in my family who are horsey.

...this old plug named Pancho kept rubbing me up agains the apple tree hoping to knock me off.


Josie said...

Women love horses, for some reason. It's just some weird thing they have.

I had a Shetland pony when I was a little girl. My aunt Molly taught dressage, and she had a horse that ended up in the Horses Hall of Fame in Calgary (yes, there is such a thing). It's name was Cup of Gold, but we called her Goldie. My aunt used to bleach her mane and tail with Clairol.

Josie said...

I meant to say "its" name.


Where is everybody? said...

Ah, it's just me horsing around.

"Oh the horse stood around
With his foot on the ground
The horse stood around
With its foot on the ground..."

I hear they have restarted the old Broadway play, Equus.

I saw it in l977. Not a bad piece of playwriting.

Kinda gross though.
Neurotic young men and horses.

There was a deeper meaning, but I forget what it was.

Ivan said...


I hink Pam, who is on the other side of the world--in Australia--is just waking up....And we're almost ready for bed.
Yeah, yeah, I hear you, The Walking Man. :)


Anonymous said...

All Womens always giggled at me and even guys did in the public toilets!
Well, now I giggl at them, because I took MegaDik
For 6 months and now my dick is much bigger than "average" size.

I think the MegaDik company has found a live one in me.

I could easily delete, but I'm too busy laughing!


Josie said...

Ivan, how do these people find you????? Too funny!!!!!

I'm laughing at you laughing.

LOL said...

I just caught Christin Wiig doing a reapeat performance of Penelope, the one-up lady at the apartment meeting.
Too funny.

She simpers and always doubles the number of kittens that she has given birth to when someone makes a joke about giving birth to two kittens.
"I had four kittens."

Either Kristin Wiig is a very funny lady, or I am drunker than usual on this Saturday night.


I'll be passed out if anyone else comes in.


Mr. Ed said...

If I could only get into the 4-H Club, I'd be happy. A horse is a horse of course ...

JR's Thumbprints said...

I'm a little horse. The last comment was me. Don't feel much like talking.

Shesawriter said...

I love to watch horses run in slow motion. They're just so amazing. It's like watching a living painting.

the walking man said...

What's a horse? Is it anything like a sleep?

Actually the horse shows are the only reason I venture to the state fair here every few years..horseshit smells better than I write it.


mark said...

Mr. Ed the talkin' horse don't feel like talkin'.
Her's a smoke for you Mr.Ed.
You can hold it between your hoof and pastern. Then we'll both walk a mile for a Camel.
Geez, I have just emptied out my ashtray and have the nicotine bites.

Ivan said...


4-H clubs are great for young guys with an Aggie bent. Get to get on television for Farmer's Almanac TV.
Shee-it, better than drugs.

Ivan said...

Hi Tanya.

They are graceful.

Ivan said...


Out of shit grows the flower.

I like your writing.


EA Monroe said...

Good Sunday morning, Ivan! Your daughter writes a great scene -- she inherited her talent from you!

This reminds me of "George" dumping us at the gate and the summers when we rode our old paint horse Mr. Stubbs and his attempts to buck us off.

We chunked many a horse turd at each other. I recall one rather large one landing smack in the middle of Donnetta's mashed potatoes one evening while we were pretending fine dining in Paris. (We were really eating supper on tv trays on a concrete slab called a patio.)~Liz

Josie said...

Hey, boychik, you in hiding? said...

Hi Liz,

Nice to see your around again...Josies was wondering where everybody was.
Yep, I think my Jill is a chip off the old block. Maybe that's why there are sparks here and there.

Oh-oh. Horseball fights in the middle of a Dimanche.
What childhood memories you guys have amassed together. Mischief and mayhem and inseparable friendship and down-home good times.

Ivan said...


I went out for my l5 mile walk and suddenly felt a tad nauseous and gave up.

Reached into fridge for libations.

Took a nap.

Can't be old codger syndrome.

I think it's the moon.


Josie said...

Have you had your heart checked lately?

Sienna said...

Aaaww this is great! Ivan your daughter writes so well too, it's a great spin on gymkhanas...captured so well, and funny!

Love it.

So creative, such talent and she is a computer programmer? thingo? I guess that is creative stuff too eh.

I've been over at a mountain Mt Arapiles-Tooan climbing mountains again, can't seem to get it out of my system, not sure what's going on...just the feeling and nature and such serenity at these rocks..

There is a red moon eclipse coming Tuesday...early evening, don't know if it will be showing in northern hemisphere...but Hopefully it will be free of clouds here and I can get pictures...a red moon!!

Pam said...


Last time I went for a general medical check-up it was thirty years ago.

Doctor told me I had a bum foo-foo valve and smoked too much.

So I got this smashing girlfriend to work out the "bum" foo-foo valve.

Foo-foo valve worked magnificently.
Too magnificently. I had become a sexual acrobat.

This, of course, upset people and, well, "Ginger Man had left the town" and Ginger Lady didn't want him back, even with the now healthy foo-foo valve.
I think I had proved my point too well!
Well I had to have somebody to practice on!
No sense of humour!~

So I am loath to go to a doctor again.

He might tell me that ParvaDik is about to fall off then I'll have to go out and do something foolish again.
I think it's just bad grog and bad tobacco.
Nothing wrong with me that $100,000 couldn't fix.
That, or another book in print.

Thanks for caring, Josie.

Ivan said...

Hi Pam,

So glad you liked Jill's piece.

She is a technical writer working for big bucks.

Too busy to see dad of late, but of course, I love her.


Josie said...

Well, we wouldn't want to lose you, Ivan. You need to take good care of yourself :-) said...

Thanks Josie,

Just livin' kinda rough these past two weeks. In survival gear a bit too long. Ah well. Payday is day after tomorrow.


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