This one goes out to all the equestrians who have the uncanny ability to hone in on a single horse word uttered in conversation at loud parties, busy restaurants, the airport …
It’s almost like a superpower: the ability to hear any bit of conversation about horses from across a crowded room, and spring into action immediately, bustling your way over to introduce yourself and talk horses. And then you find out that the conversation you just party-crashed wasn’t about horses … at all. Welcome to my world, equestrians.
What you thought you heard: heavy horse used for pulling carts and carriages or for farming, typically tall and stout, referred to as “gentle giants.”
What you actually heard: sports talk. The process by which new players are brought onto teams, typically accompanied by much fanfare, public adulation and flashbulbs.
What you thought you heard: one of the most popular western events, in which a horse and rider demonstrate a variety of maneuvers derived from working cattle. Sometimes referred to as “western dressage” (not to be confused with, well, western dressage).
What you actually heard: the weather. Yep, they’re talking about that water falling from the sky, and you just fell into the homonym trap.
What you thought you heard: the term for America’s wild and free-roaming horses, and you’re prepared to speak AT LENGTH to share your thoughts on the latest news developments regarding these horses’ future as well as show everyone pictures of Elisa Wallace and describe how cool you think she is.
What you actually heard: apparently, it’s also a car.
What you thought you heard: the place where all the magic happens, for the most part. You’re not sure if they said the schooling ring, the show ring, new footing, new fences, better lighting or the debate between covered, indoor or outdoor, but any of those could apply.
What you actually heard: someone showing off their shiny new rock, fiancé in tow. Yes, that would be an engagement ring.
Colts (and Broncos, Spurs, Pacers and Cowboys)
What you thought you heard: a male horse under the age of five! A horse used for roughstock events at the rodeo! Tools worn by riders of all disciplines to help finesse their aids! A Standardbred who moves his legs in lateral pairs! A male western rider who actually works cattle (or the lesser facsimile who attends country-western concerts)!
What you actually heard: sports talk, again. These are all teams, of which you are dimly aware once a year during the respective sports championship.
What you thought you heard: Whether it’s English or western, bling browband or plain, tie loop end or snap end reins, dark oil vs. Havana, Micklem vs … well, everything else, you’re ready to talk bridles, people.
What you actually heard: that same chick going on about her ring is now talking about her BRIDAL party. The homonym strikes again.
What you thought you heard: the OTTB, or off-track Thoroughbred, is rapidly gaining in popularity with riders across all disciplines as a willing and athletic partner in need of a second career when his racing days are over. You love them and you’re ready to talk about your favorites all night long!
What you actually heard: that guy was just telling his friend that his thoughts on the upcoming draft were “way off track” and now you look like a big-time creepster.
What you thought you heard: the reason the sun rises each morning for you.
What you actually heard: yep, that’s right — the homonym’s got your goat again. Those people over there are wondering when your voice is going to go hoarse from all that talking about your horses you’re doing …
Go riding, and let your equestrian flag fly.