Thursday, April 15, 2010

Good Horse Sense

I grew up hearing all kinds of odd sayings. Of course, I had no idea they were odd. To me, they were perfectly normal.

It took marrying Hubs to learn that not everyone says things like,"Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth," or "You can get glad in the same pants you got mad in," or how about "He's a good egg."

The butter phrase is one of his favorites, by the way. I used to think it was because he found it clever. Now I know it is just because he loves butter.

Over the years, I've explained a lot of words and phrases to Hubs, or at least I've tried. He pretends to make fun of me a little, but I like to say he is channeling his third grade boyish charm in an effort to show he likes me. I just hope he doesn't give me a toad for my birthday.

There's one phrase Mama used that is fairly common- measuring a person's intelligence to that of a horse, "using good horse sense."

Whenever a person would do something not-so-bright (the Southerner's nice way of saying you're being an idiot,) Mama said,"Well, he doesn't have good horse sense!"

My sheltered self had no idea the magnitude of that statement. I'd never been around horses and I certainly had never given one an IQ test.

The weather here in SmallTown is schizophrenic. One minute it's nice and sunny, the next it's Sybil.

Every Wednesday, Nancy and I watch the forecast to see if we will have horseback riding lessons. Our instructor does the same. Some days it is obviously a day to cancel early in the morning. Other days we've had to cancel on our way there.

Yesterday all three of us were watching the weather. Nancy was watching the skies, I was watching the forecast, and our instructor was watching the radar images. If this horseback stuff doesn't work out, we could all work for The Weather Channel.

A stormy morning turned into a sunny afternoon. Horseback lessons were on.

When we arrived there was a nice breeze. The girls didn't even need a jacket. They tacked up and headed to the arena. Within minutes, the wind blew in clouds and cool weather. The three of us sat there and watched the girls on their horses underneath an unpredictable sky.

It was unanimous. We'd let them ride as long as the weather was decent, or as long as they could stand it.

The horses' behavior indicated the change in the air. Ears turned, lips twitched. The girls kept riding as it began to drizzle.

Their instructor asked the girls several times if they wanted to quit. They declined.

Because of their good training, the horses continued to work as commanded, but with a little protest. They changed direction on their own to keep the rain at their backs.

And they trotted by our instructor with the most hilarious expressions.

As the drizzle became a light rain, the girls kept riding. Each time they passed their instructor, the horses gave a new look.

"Hello, do you know it's raining?"

"Ahem, are we done yet?"

"Who is this kid you put on me who continues to ride in the rain?"

The three of us just laughed. Although, we should have been the last ones laughing because none of us had a jacket or a real hat.

Finally, the instructor called it and we all headed to the barn. I was proud of our girls for toughing it out.

The girls enjoyed their ride in the light rain. It was a new experience for them in riding and in horse behaviors. They put away their tack and brushed their horses as we looked on.

I stood in the barn, in my damp shirt and muddy boots, realizing the true intelligence of horses and the real meaning of another popular phrase.

As Mama would say, "Some people don't have enough sense to get out of the rain."


Roxanne said...

Clever turn of phrase at the end. . .and this made me snort. . .

"One minute it's nice and sunny, the next it's Sybil."

TRS said...

Ah... good horse sense! If you know horses, you don't need a translation.

Pout, I miss my horses.

Although, the phrase "Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth." reminds me of the saying from the movie Pretty Woman... "You could freeze ice cubes on her @$$." Although not as refined, I presume they mean the same thing!!!

Marcia said...

I just found your blog today and love it! I also grew up around these sayings. When we were crying or pouting over something trivial as children, my dad would say, "The more you cry, the less you'll pee the bed!"
Also, "It's snowing down South" meant that a woman's slip was hanging below her dress.

Observer said...

I love this story and I love old sayings too. One that I heard all my life was this: "what fer? I'll tell ya what make a pair of kitten britches to wear to the dog fight...ya want the first pair?" This was what we (kids) heard when we kept whining"What for...why? why do I have to...etc?