I have a barn buddy who is actually a guy. He doesn't go out to the barn for horses necessarily, but more as our junior fix-it guy when the fix-it guys aren't there or need help. He likes horses. That's about the only horse-related thing we have in common. He can ride, but only if he has to (and I laugh when he does). When it comes to carpentry, I can drill a nail in, drill a hole, and use a hammer. Barely. We both laugh when I'm given the task of driving a nail into some piece of wood. I'm usually only given it because I'm a last resort. And it doesn't need to be done well. I admire his handiwork, he admires my dressage riding. Nonetheless, we have other teenagery things in common: football (he plays, I watch with an educated eye) and school, friends, movies, the like.
So I was excited to show him a bit of my horsey world when we and and his grandmother -a friend of my instructor - made the long trip from Austin to Seguin (near San Antonio) to visit a gigantic tack store. His grandmother and my instructor were to pick up other items for thier horses, I went to try out a saddle I had seen online. We walk in and my jaw drops at the size and selection of the place, and then we all dispersed. They go and look for bridles, and I go on to admire the beautiful tooling of all the western show saddles.
My guy friend tags along with me and asks questions like "who would pay this much for a saddle?" and I tell that someone who wanted to look good and get attention in the ring would.
"God, I miss riding western sometimes. All the tack was super pretty. Dressage, everything is just black."
"So, get one of these! You're looking for a saddle right?" I look at him in horror.
"I'd get disqualified!"
He laughs. "Damn, they're that picky?" I laugh too.
"You have no idea..... oooh, they have an English section!"
I drag him over there. He watches me gaze in awe at the $3,000 Passiers and delicately set them on the plastic horse model and try them out.
"This is amazing!"
"It's just a saddle."
"Just a saddle? It's a Passier! A Passier!"
I jokingly scoff at his ignorance, remembering that my instructor and I were probably the only ones in the group who realized the amazing-ness of a Passier. I then saw the saddle I actually had intention to buy elsewhere: my Wintec synthetic. I try it on, and my instructor and I gawk, and then go to look at bridles. I, of course, eye the pretty ones with the padding and the crystal browbands. No intention of getting one, just admiring what I usually only see on the internet or in magazines or on Grand Prix horses.
Guy friend finally speaks out, "Why do you want to get all of this stuff?"
"I don't. I'm just admiring. Greta and I already have everything we need."
"No, I mean, why get stuff like this in the first place for your horse? She's not top of the line."
Why I oughtta....
I could not laugh this one off. My instructor froze and turned around. He had just pushed the envelope. Not top of the line! He knows just how much I love Greta! How much I dote over her and spend an hour-and-a-half after a 30 minute ride just grooming her. Again. I was being a bit materialistic, true, but how could he say this?
"She most certainly is top of the line! Her sire was imported from Sweden!" my instructor says, and lightly pops him on the head and walks away, leaving me to deal with it.
I sigh, cross my arms, and shake my head, trying to give the best "I'm very dissapointed in you" look I could give: something I have learned from watching the parental units. Not the best, but I tried.
"I don't care if she had been sired by a godawful-looking grade and then [foaled by a goat] she is my horse and I am allowed to spoil her. Besides, it's none of your business what I do and don't get for my horse. Just stop me if you see me getting one of those wire bits they had over there."
He shrunk away. We didn't really talk much afterwards until he apologized later during lunch:
"Sorry about what I said in the store-"
"I could see where you were coming from." He raised a brow.
"You just worded it very wrongly. What you should've said is, 'I understand you love Greta very much, but she doesn't care whether or not you get her the $3,000 Passier or the $50 used one off of Craigslist. She could care less if you ride her at all. She could care less who her parents' parents' parents were. What she does care about is that you are her human and that you care for her and watch out for her as she does for you despite all of your antics. You do, and that's all that matters. Though nice saddles are great, too.'"
"I don't know if I could've thought that one up...."
"You didn't need to. It was just a personal eureka." And then I went on to sprinkle some salt on the chips.