Essays of an Equestrian

I’ve always wanted an entourage. I’d watch in amazement as horse gurus, both local and famous, would always seem to have flocks of folks with them, listening to everything they said and blindly devoted to every word and thought, waiting in devotion for the next pearl of wisdom. In time the best devotees became handy, free labor for the guru.

With practice, a guru could get their devotees to do just about anything and some gurus in horses or other areas of life would often do their masters bidding without question no matter what was asked. Manson’s followers come to mind.

Devotees love fighting on behalf of their guru.

In the equestrian world gurus also attract such devotion as passionate as any religions. I remember once going to a horse expo and when I pulled into the parking lot there were a bunch of cars with writing all over them (high school football team style) espousing how much the occupants were in love with Gawani Pony Boy. It looked as if I’d pulled into the 1960’s parking lot of a Beatles concert, screaming swooning girls included.

It’s easy to know when young girls like something because there is high pitched screaming involved.

I cracked up laughing and begin to imagine myself pulling up in a car all marked up espousing Walter Zettl. Cute slogans written in soap with sentiments such as “Zettl Rocks!” or “Show Your Mettle With Walter Zettl”.

Give me a few glasses of wine and I can make up slogans for days.

If you could hear all the noise in my head now you’d be laughing your asses off with the scenarios my brain is coming up with. Oh look, here are some now….

Imagine pulling into a parking lot for a horse expo. Folks are barbequing by their cars a la football pre-game style. Some are wearing certain colored clothing a la the color scheme of their favorite guru complete with logos. Some have small TV’s playing their gurus best known video.

Nearby a teenage girl swoons and squeals “Oh I LOVE that video!”

A man walks by with a backpack moving from group to group trying to hawk Expo Tshirts for ten bucks apiece. Buy three for $25.00. He has an accent.

The Clint Anderson folks are tossing some shrimps on the bar-bee talking about how great his methods are. His methods seem a bit rough to me but his fans don’t see it. Instead they are huddled around talking about how all the non-fans are clueless.

The Parelli folks are huddled in a small circle. The circle used to be bigger, but some videos came out. One of the fans today has a carrot stick sticking out of a back pocket of her jeans poised up like some erect white tail. They are talking about the injustice of videos posted and how the rest of us non-fans are clueless.

Then there’s another group of fans of some cowboy who was mentored by that Dorrance guy. Good guy to have as mentor because no one really says chit about him and he’s widely respected. Now this new guy who studied with Dorrance has his own line of training videos and DVDs, all still new to the market. The fans talk about how clueless all the non-fans are and how ahead of the curve they are.

John Lyons fans are also huddled about quoting Bible and Lyons quotes. They are talking about the things they’ve learned from John (and Josh) and I’m surprised as most of it is stuff that would qualify as common knowledge that you learned in the beginning of your time with horses. Yet strangely lots of people still need to learn it. The fans talk about how clueless all the non-fans are then quote the Bible a lot.

There would have been a section for Jane Savoie fans, but they tend to be older and are too busy to be grilling in the parking lot. They’ve come in between dropping off one kid at soccer and picking up another one from cheerleading. Plus I really like Jane so its harder to poke harmless fun at her. But I guess in the interest of fairness I should try.

So now I’m listening to a video of hers as I write so that I can find a hole to poke with humor. Dammit, everything is dead on balls accurate. In this video she’s speaking of folks with terrible fear issues so I can’t pick on them either being they are already all freaked out. So here we are with Jane’s group of middle aged women pulling into the lot in their range rovers holding small lattee’s or coffees in my scenario, chatting with their children on their Blue tooths.

Anky’s group is absent because she isn’t coming to America and they’ve figured there is nothing they can learn from low life Anky neigh-sayers. They are however planning to attend some reinings so that they can watch her ride. And win again, strangely. When they do gather at the reining, they can talk about how clueless TWO groups of horse people are, both in reining and dressage.

Edward Gals entourage is in full force because he’s the new big guy on campus despite the fact that his horse of horses Totillas can’t do extensions anywhere near correct and has seemingly just about developed the pacey working walk. None of that matters to them as they are expecting him to score 99.9% on his next show appearance anyway. They lovingly stroke their show ribbons as they talk about how clueless everyone else is.

I’m with the Zettl folks and unlike the others I’m stuffing myself silly with a roast beast sandwhich while the others have salad. I cannot have salad because salad is not food. Salad is what food eats. This group is huddled about talking about how happy and relaxed their horses are. Out of fifteen of us, only one shows with any frequency. The word harmony is spoken often and we cast sidewards glances to the Gal group quietly calling them bitches and saying how mean and clueless they are.

Each group is devoted as they come and I marvel as to how the guru’s do it. And although I know I am the farthest thing from a guru myself (I’m more like a gnu that guru) I’ve seen the same kind of hero worship doted upon the local trainers in my area some of which are far, far from deserving, and I just don’t get it.

How do they do it?

It’s great to have a guru, but it’s better to have a mentor. And it’s best to keep aware and step back sometimes to evaluate what you’re hearing and seeing. Today’s guru just might end up being yesterday’s hack.

It’s tough I think to be a guru. Your smart followers will hang on every word and watch every deed and their judgment of these evolves on a daily basis. Or at least it should.

There’s a great responsibility when you’re a guru and I fear that most guru’s are destined for eventual failure. You see, they forget at what point to say “No”.

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The good will of the horse is like the scent of a rose. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.