Sadly, the $700 Pony suffers from Social Anxiety.
You’ve see the TV ads, haven’t you? (Softly Soothing Gender Neutral Voice Over): “If you find yourself with excessive, persistent fears about upcoming social situations and if the anxiety you feel in social situations is so severe it disrupts your daily life, it is possible you are suffering from social anxiety disorder.”
I immediately went to paxil.com and gave the $700 Pony the Paxil SPIN (Social Phobia Inventory) Test: Are you afraid of people in authority? Yes! Do parties and social events scare you? Yes! Do you sweat excessively in front of other people? Yes! Are you afraid of doing things when people might be watching? Yes!
There you have it, classic Social Anxiety. Odd thing to find in a herd animal, but hey, these things happen.
Now, Social Anxiety might not be the number one criteria on your list if you were seeking a new event prospect, but (verbal shrug of shoulders), what do you expect for $700? Next question: so now that we have ascertained that the $700 Pony suffers from Social Anxiety, what can be done about it? Well, I can tell you what NOT to do.
First, don’t exacerbate the situation by having the $700 Pony live with chickens. This did nothing for her self esteem.
Second, don’t make the situation worse by THEN moving the rather scruffy $700 Pony, sadly spotted with chicken poo, to the Fancy Schmancy Facility where she will be surrounded by the groomed and clipped within an inch of their little equine lives Pony Elite, not to mention a pack of over bred Rogue Jacks and a troop of unfailingly menacing Corgis. This will not result in an immediate decrease in Social Anxiety, let me tell you.
Who knew that there are ENTIRE BREEDS of canines on this planet in worse mental condition than Psycho Mutt? These two hooligan gangs rival the Bloods and the Crips for sheer testosterone run amuck, although on a significantly lower to the ground scale. My perspective on Psycho Mutt is shifting in her favor. At least she is tall enough to see coming.
But I digress.
The Fancy Schmancy Facility is all you may imagine. I have boarded at some nice barns in my day. Some with indoors even. Some that I would describe as “fancy,” but this, THIS, was fancy SCHMANCY.
There are 100 ”" let me repeat that ”" ONE HUNDRED ”" stalls on the property, each larger than my first condo. The horses are like none I have seen in my sheltered lifetime (although to keep it in perspective, I think a $700 Pony is a BIG DEAL). These horses and ponies are tick fat, sleek, clipped within an inch of their lives, gorgeous bug eyed, sculpted heads, like horses conceived by Michelangelo, like creatures from another equine planet. Some of you may be saying, “Hey, rube lady, where have you been all your life!” Well, I have not been around anything like this.
The FSF is cared for by a super efficient team of gentlemen for whom English will some day be a second language. These guys are serious workers and keep the FSF and its resident Super Equines in tip top shape. For someone used to self care, this is all a little intimidating.
The (many) grooming stalls have individual lights, fans, and wet bars and are covered with this soft, rubberized brick stuff that feels a bit like a down featherbed for the feet. I thought it a little odd that there were no drains. How in the heck did these people keep Super Equines as spotless as they obviously were without access to water? Then I opened the door to what I had thought was the “bathroom.”
Forgive me, I almost burst into tears. First of all, the ‘”’wash stall’”” was exponentially, nay, light years nicer than the single bathroom my family of four shares (although, technically, only two of us are potty trained). Hot and cold running water, insulated and yet well ventilated with an electric fan, cedar lined, unbelievably gorgeous and totally functional. Oh, and wait, there are TWO of them! Waaahh!!
But I dither. Let us swing back to our Socially Anxious $700 Pony, shall we?
So my therapist called me today. Well, technically, she’s my trainer, but for the sake of argument, let’s just call her my therapist. The conversation went something like this:
Trainer/Therapist: “So when the heck am I going to get to see you ride this mythical Pony?”
Me: “Well, she’s going really well, despite her Social Anxiety Issues. She’s a little intimidated by her surroundings, you know, so we’ve been taking it easy. Lots of lunging. She has a GREAT walk! Her trot’s a little quick, but that’s just because she’s a little, well, you, know, Socially Anxious. But it’s going GREAT! I’m sure we’ll be ready for Flora Lea in the spring!”
Trainer/Therapist:: “So what’s she like when you ride her?”
Pause the length of, oh, say, the Triassic Period (35 million years, give or take).
Me: “Ride her?”
Trainer/Therapist: “You have been riding her, haven’t you?”
Pause the length of, oh, say, the Jurassic Period (68 million years, give or take).
Trainer/Therapist: “You have had this Pony for a month! Are you telling me you haven’t ridden her yet!!!”
Pause the length of, oh, say, the Cretaceous Period (80 million years, give or take).
Me: “Um, well.”
Way too astute for her own good Trainer/Therapist: “Let me ask you another trick question. I heard nice walk, ok trot. Nothing about that mysterious third gait. Do we know if it CANTERS??”
Me, proverbially nailed to the wall: “Um. Probably? I mean, they all do, don’t they?”
Tough Love Trainer/Therapist: “OK, Girlfriend, reality check time. You have some crazy a$$ notion that you are going to EVENT this Pony come spring. It MIGHT HELP IF YOU ACTUALLY THREW A LEG UP OVER IT AND RODE IT.”
Me: “Well, we’ve been working on her Social Anxiety Issues.”
Pause the length of, oh, say, the entire Mesozoic Era (encompassing the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods). And longer, actually. She hung up on me.
Maybe next time: The Socially Anxious $700 Pony Gets Ridden?
Many thanks to all who enjoy the Chronicles of the $700 Pony. As I mentioned, I have been lurking on this board for YEARS and am glad to finally provide some entertainment for those who have entertained me for years.