It is time that I tell the world. I have a disease.
While not well-known among the general population, it is a dark secret of the equine community. It has dangerous consequences in your life and the lives of your barn mates. It especially impacts your pocketbook. It can consume your every waking thought on an arctic winter day. Health professionals have not yet put it on the list of disorders covered by your insurance, but I expect to see it soon.
I have OBD—Obsessive Blanketing Disorder.
You know those shows you watch on A&E about the people who have to touch the door handle three times before they open it or can’t stop eating couch stuffing? Yeah, it is a bit like that, I’m afraid to say. A sickness. A disease. An obsession.
My fabulous Aunt Lori gave me a choice of Christmas presents this year—some fancy new duds for me (I’m in desperate need) or a cozy new Weatherbeeta with fleece-lined neck cover for Jorge. That was a no brainer.
I can’t leave the barn without sticking my hand under Jorge’s clothing at least half a dozen times to see if he’s too warm/cold, or if I can determine whether he will be “just right” at midnight. Some days he just heaves a horsey sigh at me, understanding that the less resistance he puts up to my icy hands darting underneath his toasty coats means I’ll knock it off. Other days he pins his ears like, “Lady, enough is enough!”
Lately, I’ve started to realize just how bad it has become. Recently my dear friend, who shall remain nameless, (*cough cough.. Jodie… *cough cough) and I had what amounted to a nearly four-hour conversation via text message about what our horses should wear that night and the next day. Let me repeat that—we texted approximately four hours about horse blankets.
I’d like to say this was a one time occurrence, but I can’t. Over the past few months while we still boarded at the same place, we would plan our weeks in advance, staggering who was going to be there in the morning and at night for multiple outfit changes on our equine companions. Some days one of us would go out to the barn twice.
Back “in the day” it was so much easier. We had three blankets —a cotton sheet, a stable blanket, and some sort of canvas *maybe* waterproof item. No neck covers, no discussions on denier or poly fill. Your trainer told you what to put on your horse and off you went, never a second thought.
Now I stare at his blanket tubs daily, contemplating which combination of the more than 14 coats he owns would he like to wear that day.
Yesterday I hauled myself out to the barn in the negative wind chills to see Jorge. Sick with a raging cold and nasty cough, I had to make sure that he was all right. Yes, I knew he was staying inside on a day like that. Yes, I knew that he would have plentiful hay and dry, clean shavings. Yes, I knew that he would be checked on multiple times throughout the day. But I had to see it first-hand. I had to feel the heat radiating from his neck under the fleece cover. I had to know he was okay.
I took this picture and posted it to the faceyspace—because I just knew everyone was as concerned about Jorge as I was, of course🙂.
A few minutes later, I received a text from the owner of the show barn we recently moved to. She was basically reminding me that I didn’t have to drive 45 minutes each way to change a blanket anymore and she and her staff were absolutely capable of following any directions I should give.
I appreciated her tact, because my take-away from our exchange was the bleak reality of my obsession and its impact on others. And their perception of me!
As I got back in to the car, an earlier conversation with my mother came to mind. While rambling on to her about the weather and my (plentiful) outfit choices for Jorge, she plainly said to me, “Or, you could treat him like an actual horse.”
WHAT?!?! “But…but… I do,” I stammered back at her. She laughed, as only my mother can, knowing it was useless to argue with an insane person.
And it is true. I am mentally unstable—I suffer from OBD.
Hmmm…maybe I need to work on this. He lives at a great barn with terrific staff who seem to be able to work the buckles on a blanket. He is indeed a horse that possesses a fur coat. And so far every time I have worried about it and made the long drive, he’s been just fine. Okay, I resolve to be less OBD in the New Year and more zen about blanketing. It shall be my only resolution so I can stick to it.
But first, maybe I should order that high-neck Weatherbeeta on sale at horseloverz.com, along with a Centaur newmarket fleece. I mean, they are on SALE and he’ll probably need them next season…!
*This post was originally published in 2013. Will Jorna be cured of OBD? Find out in Part II!
About the Author
Jorna Taylor is your average obsessive horse owner, spending countless hours watching friends ride in circles in the dust or rushing home elated to find the new Dover catalog has arrived. She captures the more comical and interesting moments of her riding journey on her blog. Check it out at jornataylor.com.