1A. Wonder how long it’s been since the interior was last cleaned.
I’ve spent a respectable amount of time on the road in the past couple of weeks driving from one end of New York state to the other (shocker: it’s a much wider state than it apparently appears on a map). While I’ve always known these to be true in the back of my mind, a 6-7 hour straight shot in the car reminded me that equestrians are actually pretty weird. This surprises none of us.
1. Crane one’s neck (while staying firmly focused on the road, of course) in order to inspect horses grazing off the highway, or an outdoor arena full of riders or jumps (or both) or even just some well-manicured fence.
Fun fact: on one particular interstate criss-crossing the Empire State, I can tell you via which exits they’re between exactly where to spot a hunter/jumper barn with a great outdoor derby field, a Standardbred breeding/training facility, a neat little farm that breeds rare Suffolk Punch drafts and an eventing barn. Bonus: they’re all within twenty miles, making that stretch the most exciting part of my drive.
2. Crane one’s neck again (while focusing on the road, etc. etc.) to try to sneak a peek into someone else’s trailer.
I mean, trailer/truck envy is a definite thing that exists. So you can totally justify spying on someone’s trailer not only to figure out what kind of horse they might have inside but what make and model they’re hauling as well. Bonus points if you master the art of true creepiness only to realize that they’re hauling empty. Buzzkill.
3. Try to catch the eye of and smile at other motorists with horsey bumper stickers.
We’re all in this together, right?
4. Keep track of things you could potentially jump.
Log piles, railroad ties, weird piles of industrial slag, traffic barrels and those blinky signs, endless miles of fenceline… the more outrageous, the better. Concrete jersey barriers? What could possibly go wrong with that?
5. Pat your car and tell him or her that he or she is a good car.
Especially if you’re like many equestrians and driving something that you might be nursing along more miles than might be truly good for it. Usually when I pat my dash, I also realize it’s been a really long time since our last heavy-duty grooming. Er, detailing.
6. Lean forward when driving up hills, cluck at drivers who are going too slowly, mutter “whoa” when your cruise control gets a mind of its own…
Okay, I don’t actually do too many of these any more, but when I worked at a ranch in the great mountainous state of Wyoming when we spent seemingly half our time up out of the saddle as we ascended some serious hills, I found it very hard to stop automatically shifting my weight when driving up grades back East. I’m 99% positive that if I’ve done this, other horse people have done this too.
Go driving. Riding. Both.