Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
I already told you about my love affair with horses (well, okay, more a love affair OF horses. The other isn’t quite right if you stop to think about it) so when I saw a way to earn a Merit Badge equestrian style, you better believe my boots were on before you could say “giddy up!”
And I’m not kidding around about the boots. Cowgirl boots are one of the best fashion statements EVAH. And they never go out of style! Boots with shorts, boots with fluffy skirts, boots with jeans; is there anything they don’t complement? I think not.
All dressed up, I headed out on a little Pony Scavenger Hunt, so to speak. I brought along a few horse books from the library, my binoculars, camera, and my cowgirl spirit. I figured driving along the back country roads, top down, wind in my hair, spying for my favorite animal in the entire world, was a pretty good way to spend my afternoon! I decided each time I saw a horse, I would look up its breed and jot it down in my journal. And who knows, maybe I’d get lucky and get to meet an owner who liked to share his livestock … you know? Just a turn or two around the corral?
Thumbing through my book, I realized I hadn’t known as much about the animal as I had originally thought. Turns out, owning every My Little Pony ever made doesn’t give you a real foundation for knowledge of the breeds.
My first lightbulb moment was learning that a pony isn’t a pony. I mean, a PONY is a pony, but a baby horse is a foal! Wha?? I know. I was just as confused as you are now. You aren’t confused? Well, humor me. Anyway, turns out a pony is an actual breed, not just a miniature horse. A Miniature Horse is a miniature horse. Are you with me? Hang on; the ride’s about to get even bumpier. Stallions don’t have to be black. Who knew, right? You knew? Fine. Now I know, too.
At the end of my drive, I had a journal list of the horses I’d seen and identified, a yearning for a Palomino all my own (or maybe an Appaloosa), and a database of new words like
Hand (for measuring how tall a horse is; one hand=4 inches)
My list of horse friends was growing, too. On it, I had
American Paint Horse
American Quarter Horse
Tennessee Walking Horse
Clydesdale (made me want to be pulled on a sleigh while singing Christmas carols, but maybe that’s just me)
I even got lucky and set up a riding lesson with the owner of an adorable Quarter Horse named Spunky. Spunky and I are going to be good friends; I can feel it. She even matches my boots.