Monday, January 9, 2017

The Goat Ate My Receipt: Confessions of a Professional Equestrian


Bethany is a grown adult who trains horses for a living. She has a very specific set of problems. Most are work-related, but some are just a result of Bethany being Bethany. Because she's my sister, I am kept apprised of her daily problems through a string of loosely-narrative texts.

It's very entertaining.

Because I didn't want to be the only one enjoying the chronicle of Bethany's slow, steady life implosion, I asked her to start texting me her daily problems with the understanding that I'd eventually share them with you. 

Without further ado, I bring you...

The Goat Ate My Receipt: Confessions of a Professional Equestrian
  • Problem: Today when I was riding [my horse], I tried to listen to my iPod, but the pocket of my breeches was too small and the iPod fell out of my pocket every time I tried a sitting trot. 
  • Problem: My spur strap broke this morning.
  • Problem: A few weeks ago I made myself an epic to-do list which included every project I need to get done. Then I lost it. My current to-do list has one item: re-write epic to-do list.
  • Problem: I have to do math to figure out how much each owner needs to pay for their horse to be on a supplement that we buy in bulk, and each horse gets a different amount.
(It's poop.)


  • Problem: I have two weird patches of dry skin on either side of my neck.
  • Problem: Sometimes I don't have enough time to eat lunch.
  • Problem: Running out of daylight before running out of horses to ride.
  • Problem: I forgot to pack Vaseline for the horse show.
  • Big Problem: The scribe I had lined up for tomorrow's show just backed out.
  • Problem: One of the stable hands got water all over one of the horse's blankets. A blanket she needs to wear tonight. 

  • Problem: Spent a frantic forty minutes at the horse show where I was working as a groom looking for a lift pad I had used just that morning...only to find out that one of our clients who had trailered in just for the day had mixed it up with her stuff and put it away in her trailer.
  • Problem: I hear something scratching/chewing in the tack room. Probably a rat.
  • Problem: Sometimes I run out of energy before I run out of chores.
  • Problem: The barn cat threw up in the doorway between my apartment and the tack room.
  • Problem (of my own making): Two months after moving in, and I still don't have a couch. On the few occasions I have had time to go shop for one, there's always something I'd rather be doing. Like reading. Or sleeping. Both of which would be more enjoyable if I had a couch.
  • Problem: Got a call from the barn staff that one of the horses we're training is colicky. Cannot raise the trainer on cell phone, home phone, or by text message. Spend two and a half hours treating, walking, and sitting with colicky horse. Head home from treating sick horse at midnight to a barn where stalls are not yet cleaned and horses have not had dinner. Nor have I for that matter. While feeding horses at midnight, realize that the sprinklers are on a different rotation (because it's midnight) and have to run a gauntlet in the dark to reach my horse's paddock to give her dinner.

  • Problem: There is a rat living in the back of the fridge in the tack room.
  • Problem: Discovered at night check that one of the water pipes has busted in Amara's paddock and is slowly flooding the paddock. I don't know where the water turnoff valve is.
  • Problem: Made a rookie mistake. Took the halter off the horse before making sure the gate was shut behind me.
  • Problem: Working outside when I forgot my sunglasses at home.
  • Problem: Listening to an audio book and having to shut it off right at a climactic part!
  • Problem: When you want to turn out your horse but you just gave her a bath a know she'll immediately go roll in the dirt and you don't have time to wait around for her to dry.
  • Problem: I accidentally bought flaming hot Cheetos. 
  • Problem: I walked face first through a spider web this morning.
  • Problem: I have to go to Walmart.
  • Problem: [The dog] came into my apartment because of the thunder. I turned off my phone ringer since my text alert upsets him. Then it started lightning, so I ran to bring the horses in, leaving my phone in the tack room. Then forty minutes later I couldn't remember where I'd left my phone. While looking for it, my FitBit alerted me that my phone was ringing, but I couldn't find it because the ringer was off.
  • Problem: Picked up some stuff at the feed store for [my boss]. When I dropped it off at the barn, her goat ate the receipt.
  • Problem: The day before show weekend, we go from having two extra grooms to none.
  • Problem: When you use someone else's horse as a lesson horse, but so does another trainer; so sometimes he's not available when you want him.
  • Problem: Trying to teach practical skill to someone who has more theoretical knowledge than is good for them.
  • Problem: I forgot about texting you my problems. So when I have a minute, I'll sit down and think back and send you a bunch more at once.
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What are your job-specific problems?

I'm looking for contributors to turn this into a series,
so whether you're interested in taking full credit for your problems
or staying anonymous, just let me know.
I'd love to feature you.

Let us know in the comments below
or via Twitter
or Facebook
or e-mail
or skywriting
or text
or 
well...
you get the idea.

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