#TBT: Humans With Horse Vices — Buddy Sour

In a column that’s both hilariously tongue-in-cheek and painfully accurate, Maria Wachter tackles horse vices that we as humans have adopted. Today’s vice: being buddy sour.

Flickr/Serge Melki/CC

Flickr/Serge Melki/CC

Are you buddy sour?

We’re not talking about your horse, here. Look in the mirror. Do you display any of these negative behaviors? If you do, maybe you suffer from being buddy sour.

  • Do you need a friend to go to the bathroom with you every time you’re in public?
  • Do you need someone to help you hook up your trailer? Maybe even drive your truck and trailer for you?
  • Are you afraid of riding on the trails or in the arena alone?
  • Do you need a friend to go with you every time you go shopping, especially for riding boots?
  • Do you lack the confidence to braid your own horse’s mane or tail?
  • Does waiting in the vet’s office alone invoke fear and panic?
  • Any time you have nothing to do, do you catch yourself checking your phone for your friend’s latest status updates or sending your friends stupid, pointless texts?
  • Do you drag your significant other to the barn, just so you don’t have to be there alone?

If any of these ring a bell, you might suffer from being buddy sour. Don’t worry, you’re not alone (which is maybe the whole point) — but we’ll help you overcome the fear of going solo. It takes a lot of time and practice, but eventually you can retrain your brain not to panic when you’re in the presence of your own company.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Public bathrooms can be a scary place. Start with baby steps. Have your friend wait patiently outside the bathroom, but within earshot so you can reassure yourself until you feel confident to branch out a little farther. The first couple of exercises, bring your cellphone with you to send periodic updates that you are indeed OK.
  • Can’t hook up the trailer on your own? Practice makes perfect. It’s better if no one is watching. Still can’t get it? Trade your old truck in for a new one. The new ones have a fancy backup camera: onlookers will think you are a trained professional and wonder in awe how you can always hook it up on the first try.
  • Do you fear riding alone? Don’t worry, most people have this totally-understandable fear. Make sure you always tell someone where you’re riding and when you’ll be back. Don’t forget your helmet and cell phone. Start with short trips to your local Walmart so you can try riding alone on the mechanical horse — don’t forget to bring the quarters. Once you’ve master that steed, you will have the confidence needed to try to move up to a real horse.
  • Do you get flustered every time it’s show day? Do you beg your friends to braid your horse’s mane and tail? Again: baby steps, baby steps. If a mane and tail is too overwhelming, just start with a tail, and roach your horse’s mane. So, he will look like a pack mule for a couple of days, who cares? It’s the first step on the road to recovery.
  • Does waiting alone at the vet’s office scare you? You will be okay. I promise. Bring a flask of whiskey along just in case for unexpected vet bills.
  • Are you addicted to your phone? Afraid to be without it, even just for a split second? Sure, we suggest bringing it along for your solo rides, but it’s possible to have too much of a good thing: try small intervals of putting your phone in airplane mode. You will still have your phone with you, but you won’t be able to read every instant Facebook update and text message. Gradually move on to taking your phone out of your pocket and putting it around your ankle. It will be a further reach every time you have to send a text. Finally, after a few months of mastering this without a nervous breakdown, you will be able to turn your phone to silent and keep it in your back pocket, totally out of reach. It takes lots and lots of hard work to master this one.
  • Superbowl Sunday is coming up. Folks, you do not need to bring your non-horsey significant others to the barn on this day. You can live without him or her for a couple of hours. It will be a hard, stressful day on you, but when you look back at it and realize you didn’t die of fear or boredom, you can tell yourself you are finally cured of your buddy sour vice.

Do you have a particular horse vice that you’d like us to discuss next? Shout out in the comments!

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