Ralph Lauren and the Glamorous Equestrian Lifestyle

by Rebecca on June 6, 2008

in Animal Jokes

Another gem that was making the Internet circuit, with no clue as to its
origin except for the “Maryland, USA” at the end. We found it on
http://jmatt.net/ElecEq/ralphlauren.html. I think the author summed up how I
look around horses just about perfectly!


So. I was in the mall the other day, and was noticing a display of Ralph
Lauren clothing that was accented by some well-placed English saddles, polo
mallets, and even a few photogenic straw bales (you have never seen such
glowingly clean straw in your entire life). There were some posters on the
walls between the racks that showed impeccably dressed ladies and gentleman,
lounging in a palatial and equally spotless stable, or leading a perfectly
groomed mount through the tall grass. There were mock hunt coats, mock
breeches, and even mock boots. Depicting and selling the life and times of
the horsey set isn’t exactly new territory for Ralph Lauren, but the
sentiment here is clear: “Ah the life and times of the horsey set. Country
life, palatial estates, glowing, well-groomed mounts-glamour, personified.”

Excuse me one second.


Phew! OK, I feel better now. While I will admit that there is a certain
amount of money involved in horses, what most people fail to realize is that
we nutty horse people spend whatever we have, on the horses, and that
country life is far more dirt, sweat, bug, and hard labor intensive than is
ever seen in the Ralph Lauren catalog. Take the Ralph Lauren catalog, drag
it through the mud, and leave it out the elements for a few days, and then
you’ll have a closer idea to what most horse people’s lifestyle is truly
like. Rather than the spotless country frocks, and (horrors) white pants of
Ralph’s world, most horse folk are usually found in “barn clothes”. This is
the euphemism that we use for “clothes most people would be embarrassed to
give away to the Good Will.” In the summertime, barn clothes are usually
some kind of cut-off shorts, usually stained, usually with holes, and
usually of a style and color that could kindly be referred to as “out.” The
t-shirt or tank top usually has a matching set of stains and rips, and often
carries the logo from some long forgotten competition or adventure.

In the wintertime, we often look like stained abominable snowman. You know
those days when non-horse folk sit inside their houses, watching the snow
fall and wind howl, and say, “t’aint fit for man nor beast.” Well, those are
the days we still have to go out and feed and muck and look after our
horses. If you really are a fashionista of the barn set, your preferred
winter outfit doubtless includes some item manufactured by the Carhart
company (I have the overalls), which keep you warm and dry in the worst
weather, but are as attractive and fashionable as industrial tarp. On days
when the Carharts seem too heavy, jeans (with long underwear visible under
the rips),sweatshirts, ski hat, gloves-basically think “suburban hobo” and
you have the look we are going for.

And as far as the glamorous activities of country life, well, they are too
numerous to mention. There’s nothing more glamorous than spending a day knee
deep in the manure pile (because it needs to be shifted), sweating it out
for several hours on horseback in the blazing sun (because that left lead
canter needs to be better), and then having your arms lengthened because the
yearling had his first good look at the neighbors dog while you were walking
him down to the field.

Or there is the mowing and weed eating which tends to stain your shins an
especially attractive tint of green that makes it look like you’ve massacred
an alien horde. Or how about the “healthy glow” you get from dragging the
ring-the resultant dust gives you a nice “tan” without the use of messy
creams or lotions!

At the end of a given Saturday, rather than martinis with the beautiful
people down at the hunt club, I usually only have the strength to ring up
for pizza and watch Trading Spaces (trying to get ideas of ways to make my
neglected house look better without actually putting any money into it).

But what about showing? That must be glamorous right? All the hunt coats and
polished boots and braided manes. Indeed, what could be more glamorous than
that? Well, after getting up at 4:00am, bathing the horse (which of course
transfers all the dirt and loose hair on to you),cleaning all the tack and
equipment (which gets you covered in polish, soap, and Brasso), braiding,
loading horse and all equipment in to the trailer, driving several hours to
the middle of nowhere, unloading, wiping off, tacking up, and getting on,
well, by 9:00am you look like something the cat ate, threw up, and then
dragged in.

Funny, of all the equestrian archetypes I’ve seen in old Ralphie boy’s
catalogs, I don’t remember the Girl With Black Shoe Polish on Her Nose, Dirt
On Her Legs, A Stain of Unknown Origin on Her T-Shirt, and Hair Crusted Out
In Several Directions By Sweat and Helmet Head. If they did feature that
doyenne in a photo shoot, instead of the usual sultry expression, her face
might register mild nausea from having just swallowed a braiding band. Or
possibly a bug.

Without question, the most glamorous week of my life took place early in
1995. I was living with a roommate on a farm of 15 horses in small town, on
a dirt road, in what is pretty much the middle of nowhere Virginia. For
those of you who didn’t live on the eastern seaboard in 1996, you may have
forgotten we had a significant blizzard here. Our house, barn, road,
driveway, everything was covered with feet, and feet, and feet of snow. We
had drifts that were 8-10 feet high, and we were trapped on our farm for 9
days before the National Guard was able to get the blowers in to free us.
Now, we were hardly the only ones trapped by the storm, yet when everyone
else was lounging by the fire, or playing in the snow, my roommate and I
were slogging through hip-deep snow back and forth from the barn several
times a day, to bring hay, chip ice off the water buckets, and hand walk the
horses up and down the aisle to help keep their guts moving as the drifts
had trapped them in the barn. We were cold and wet for 9 days. But our
horses all came through the experience healthy and happy, and to us that was
all that mattered.

So Ralph, I’m waiting for the call-my horses and I are ready for your next
snapshot of country life.

Maryland, USA

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