International “Horse Code”–One Man’s Lessons in Understanding Our Strange Language


 

 

HorseCode

“There were moments when all of a sudden, without any warning, my wife just switched from regular conversation to speaking in some unintelligible code,” writes Menno Kalmann in his hilarious book WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS AND SO ARE THEIR HORSES. “And it usually happened when horses were involved somehow.”

Anyone from outside the equestrian world who stumbles into a conversation betwixt riders (never intentionally, I might add), would freely admit that much of what is said might as well be a series of dots, dashes, blips, and clicks, for all the sense it makes. But of course, it rarely occurs to us just how funny (both “ha ha” and “strange”) it all sounds.

“I find myself sauntering over to our backyard arena and seeing my wife bounding around, clinging to her beloved nag,” Kalmann goes on. “‘He’s a bit lame, don’t you think?’ she says. I hesitate to answer this as I watch them. Who am I to judge? I’m sure she finds some of the things I like to do pretty lame as well.

“Later on, after unsaddling, she treats me to an elaborate debriefing on all the specifics. ‘He’s not in front of my leg, and he is constantly four-beat cantering.’ She’s definitely lost me there; I have no clue how to interpret this. ‘And, when he is going round, the hind legs—they keep falling out!’

“I gaze at her in desperation. Will I need to go out in the dark and search the arena for lost legs?

“Later on, as we sit in the car, she confides her intention of riding ‘forward and down’ for a bit. I can only applaud such a decision, the more so because I understand at least half of it. Forward riding has the advantage of seeing what’s in front of you, and going down seems wise enough as long as you’re not flying a Boeing over the Hudson.

“After a while, I was confident that I had pretty much mastered the vocabulary. For instance, I figured out that ‘collection’ doesn’t mean wanting to obtain as many horses as you can…”

Well, that, Mr. Kalmann, depends entirely on our mood and the day!

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WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS AND SO ARE THEIR HORSES is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE. It is also available in epub and Kindle editions.

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