Disclaimer: This post is only tangentially related to horses.  However, it is very related to horse people.  Also, cursing lies ahead.

Last week I watched one of my friends fall off her horse and, in a freak accident, fall just right (or rather, just wrong) to break six bones in her ankle and leg.  Friend was riding around and her mare had done a few perfect lead changes so she thought she’d ask for one more.  Mare trips, recovers, changes leads, kicks out, starts porpoising, and as said friend was already unbalanced from the trip it was, unfortunately, not meant to be.  Trust me, I’ve seen her sit way worse.  Anyway, I immediately headed over to her (as her horse had been contained) and friend was like “yeah, it’s not good, it hurts. My ankle might be broken.” And then quietly sat like a champ and talked to her mom and shockingly calm husband for like 20 minutes while the ambulance arrived.  No tears.  No water works.  No screaming.  She broke six motherfucking bones and I have made a bigger deal over bad dressage tests.

This weekend our assistant trainer had a horse jump on her foot and then she rode in a clinic before going home to put ice on it.  Not broken bones, but a nice, crushing soft tissue injury that she rode through with four Advil and pure determination driving her.

Equestrians.  We are fucking tough.

So you can understand why I’m a little…confused…when I hear the term “man up” or “sack up” thrown around.  Especially at the barn.  What man around here is breaking six bones in his leg and brushing it off like a sprained ankle?  What man in my life gets thrown into a pile of wood twice in forty five minutes, gets back up to try it again, and does it again the next four days for good measure?  What man do I know with a titanium plate in his collarbone because a horse tripped and somersaulted over him?  What man is disciplining three 1000 pound animals at once and reminding them who is herd boss by sheer force of will?

I don’t personally know any men doing these things.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I think men are great.  I love my boyfriend – he reaches tall things, cooks for me, helps me lift up heavy things, and takes good video.  But give the guy a little rhinovirus and he’s laid up in bed for a week.  (They call it man-flu for a reason.)  That little joke aside, the point of this post is not to mock men or devalue them or make them seem less than women in any way.  I know there are many talented male equestrians – riders, farriers, barn managers, and the rest – that should be respected, but in the vast majority of barns, women rule.

Instead, I think we should consider changing the way we talk to emphasize and value women more than we currently do.

So why do we tell people to man up when, for equestrians, many of our icons of strength and determination are women?  Perhaps we should change our vernacular a little?  I believe in the value of words, and maybe, just maybe, if we make the way we speak more appreciative of women in general, young women will also come to appreciate themselves more.

To this end, I propose that every time you find yourself inclined to reach for the term “man up” you instead use “woman up” or “ovary up”.  After all, the vagina, uterus, and ovaries are certainly physically stronger than the average male anatomy.  Dan Savage has a great way of putting this, which goes something like “Balls are not strong.  They are weak – kick them and they incapacitate their owner with pain.  Vaginas are strong.  Vaginas take in sperm and SPIT OUT BABIES.  Respect the vagina”.

But I don’t want to go around yelling “vagina up” in the general public or at horse shows.  And “uterus up” sounds weird.  So I’m going with “woman” or “ovary” instead.

OH WAIT. I just had a genius idea.  Perhaps “MARE UP”?  Ehhh?  I know a LOT of mares more determined than any man I know.  Ah yes, I have arrived at the best one of all: boss mare up.  Boss Mare Up, ladies!

Thus I invite you all to #bossmareup and join me!!

(And for getting to the end of my nuttiness, I reward you with an image of Murray and Connor making out.)



17 thoughts on “#bossmareup”

  1. I’ve always preferred “rub some dirt on it” but I do quite enjoy “mare up!” (Hey, I rode through a broken elbow–glad I’m not alone!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahahaha love this post. Sheer genius.
    Last week I couldn’t help my roll my eyes when DH complained about a bruise on his foot after loosing his flip flop mid stride and stepping on a rock. He even had the cahoonies to ask to use my ankle brace from when I tore a tendon because it ‘hurts soo bad’. I try to be sympathetic but it is tough!


  3. Yep.

    Loaded and trailered home 7 hours from a clinic with a shattered arm in a splint. Standard transmission truck. Now sporting titanium. The ex couldn’t even look at blood ON TV without practically puking.

    #bossmareup – doing what needs to be done without whining. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. YASSSS!! I also like “Toughen up buttercup” This post reminds me of when I fell out of my trailer last summer, sprained my ankle, and continued to unload/take care of my pony/ride like nothing had happened. My husband was incredulous and kept asking if I needed to go to the hospital. HAH! I have things to do, ain’t nobody got time for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. YES. I grew up with a male trainer but his wife and daughter did everything he did, and his dressage coach was a woman. That barn was full of tough-as-nails ladies — men and women were equally capable and there was a ton of healthy female solidarity. Even “International Velvet” picked up on it (riding with a dislocated shoulder, anyone?), and there was an awesome book I read (endlessly) as a girl: “Equal To The Challenge” by Jackie Burke. I’m firmly convinced that being around horses & horse people from a young age is what turned me onto feminism.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I got in so much trouble after my nasal/sinus surgery because I was out wandering around trying to turn horses out and do grain that same day. I’ve got things to do damnit. Lyme disease and bleeding out of a hole in my face aren’t stopping this mare from taking care of her mares.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Isabel approves this message haha!

    (also – i have known countless guys who are scared of horses bc “wow, it’s so big, it could probably really f me up.” to which i reply, “well, yea, sure it could, but it probably won’t. nbd.” lol)


  8. Omg I love this! You had me dying laughing at “ovary up” lol. But seriously though, this is all so true!!

    (Ps my barn friends and I refer to the man-flu and man-baby syndrome. Same thing different terminology lol but DEFINITELY a thing!)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. YOU FOLLOW DAN?! I knew I liked you!!!

    This also makes me think of Betty White’s quote, “Why do people say, ‘Grow some balls.’? Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding!”

    The feminist in me wants to say, also, that this is our culture, making women weak. And that the alternative needs to be acknowledged: female anatomy should never be used to equate weakness or lack of bravery.

    Love it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s