All This Irony is Getting to Me By Carolyn McSparren

 Yesterday it was fifty degrees and glorious, so I loaded George up,
 went to the dressage barn, and groomed Sailor, my half Clydesdale.
 Didn’t have time to ride him with George waiting for me.
 But it’s almost as though we had to pay for it.  By the time I got
 George home, he was a total space cadet and couldn’t get out of the
 car. I had visions of another stroke. Instead, and perhaps better, by
 the time I got him into the emergency room he had nearly 103 degrees
 fever and pneumonia. So we’re back in the hospital.

If I tried to get some of the ironies of mine and other people’s lives past an editor, I’d never make it. As Dave Berry says, “I can’t make this stuff up.”
I tell myself we are a month away from jonquils. I have to get my life in order before the first little yellow head nods at me in disgust.

On an only slightly different subject--

I take several horse and driving magazines. That’s the equivalent of overdosing on House Beautiful and Architectural Digest and developing  an on-going case of house envy. Whenever I need a stable for a story,
 I have a plethora to choose from. My own is neither neat nor fancy enough. One of my aunt’s favorite sayings was, “If you can’t be a shining light, be a horrible example.”  At the moment, that fits med.

A great many of the rich and famous house their horses in palaces that make me so jealous I could even consider restoring the tumbrils. The alternative is squads of grooms who sweep aisles and pick stalls and
 scrub buckets and polish tack and harness from dawn ‘til dusk. I’d be  happy with one jack or jill or all trades.

My absolutely favorite stable, however, is at Saumur, France, was built for Louis XV and finished in 1788—just in time for the tumbrils.  They may have updated it in some ways by now, but the last time I was
 there, the stalls had a conveyor belt running continuously at the  back. The road apples are dropped on it and disappear into a manure pile tucked away where no one can either see or smell it.

Even in polite company, horse people talk a lot about manure. Like death and taxes, it is inevitable. Why can dogs and cats be  housebroken and horses can’t? To some extent, of course, they can be.
 Given the option, horses will pick a small area of pasture or one corner of their stalls and make their deposits there. The person who  invents a workable litter box for equines will be lauded in the horse
 hall of fame.

In the meantime, I’m it, and I’m not much good at horsekeeping. That’s why mine are out in pasture most of the time where they belong. Even  if that means I have to go traipsing out during snow and ice storms to
 see that they have feed, hay, water, and blankets. Non-horse people think I’m crazy. The upside is that no matter how miserable I am, I  can lighten my mood by hugging a horse. Lately I’ve needed a lot of  hugs.


  1. Sending a hug your way and thinking I'll no longer complain about my little housecat whose box I have to clean outside (Oh, btw, hubby made a rabbit hutch that attaches to the house by a doggy door. Tyre, my cat, is an indoor cat who goes outside to do his business.

  2. Carolyn, So sorry to hear about George. It's good you were able to get him into the hospital right away. But I hope you have someone to help with all the animals in your hour of need-to-be-elsewhere. Keep hugging those critters, and take care.

  3. Carolyn! Oh, my gosh! I don't know you, but feel as though I do because I can so relate to your post! Not sure of your situation, but I have a chronically ill husband who is doing well at the moment, but I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop. And your love of animals! I've never had a horse, but wouldn't part with any of the scores of cats and dogs who've traipsed in an out of our lives - some who've brought only love, and others who've brought terrible destruction (scratched up a four by four foot stretch of carpet three days after we had it placed!) but they always bring love, too, so we tolerate the destruction. Many people don't get that. Wish I was close enough to help, make you tea, take you to lunch! Hang in there. I'm pulling for you.

    Pam - Your husband in a genius!

  4. You are so strong, Carolyn. It's no wonder you have a half Cyldesdale for a horse! I know that with you by his side, your husband will make a full recovery- though it must surely be such a difficult time. I'm sending you all my best wishes and prayers. On a side note, my father's friend has an incredible thoroughbred stable that I've toured in Quebec. I will never forget the mammoth size of the two story wall to ceiling two way mirrored glass wall. It allowed us to sit in a chateau of a living space (and this is the "barn") by a roaring fire and sip wine while watching the animals being exercised in the rink. It was such a treat. I love horses (have even forgiven the one that threw me and broke my wrist... :)

  5. Carolyn, you're in my prayers! Your post had me doing some thinking (always a good thing). I've never been a horse person (their size always makes me nervous), but we've had dogs and most recently a cat. The love they bring spills over into other areas of our lives and gives us those hugs you wrote about. Thank you!


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