You know what I’m talking about.
It’s murmured in dark aisles and unlit corners of tack shops. One female rider sidles up to another and whispers the horrid word. Chafing. The other furtively thrusts a sheepskin saddle seat cover into her hands, or looks her in the eye, one brow cocked and states definitively, “cycling shorts.”
It’s the secret scourge of the equestrienne world and we’ve all been there.
A ride that lasts hours or merely minutes, no-stirrup November, or a walking trail ride—chafing happens. It could be a saddle that fits the horse perfectly but the rider, not so much. Bulky undergarments that weren’t meant to slip between skin and too-tight breeches. Over-zealous landscaping of the lady garden combined with 100+ degree weather that’s so humid the air is dripping.
All you know is that your hoo-ha hurts beyond belief, you’ll never walk again, and your life-partner/tonight’s hook-up should stay far, far away. For now, anyway.
I’ve taken to wearing ice packs in my pants. I thought I had poison ivy, but I couldn’t recall falling bare-assed into vegetation of any kind.
Then I thought it was infected flea bites; it’s a testament to the horse community that no one looked askance at me when I declared I was infested with fleas. On my butt. But no one else in my family had fleas, so I ruled that out. This stuff was so itchy I couldn’t sleep, think, work, anything – except fantasize about ripping my skin off.
I flashed my bum at a doctor. He told me I had a fungal infection, caused by wearing synthetic, non-wicking, too-tight fabrics while riding in steamy weather. I had created a swamp on my ass. Perfect conditions for growing fungus!
I used ice packs to treat the itchiness and inflammation. Then I fell asleep with said ice packs in my pants.
Upon awakening, I found a screaming red, throbbing ice pack-shaped patch on my bum. The skin darkened and peeled and the pain remained unabated.
As I am an acclaimed hypochondriac who prefers trolling the internet to consulting accredited medical personnel, I found a plethora of information on ice pack burns. In severe cases, these burns become frostbite, which, in exceedingly rare cases, could lead to gangrene. Which I think I must have.
It’s been a miserable journey, one that no woman should endure.
It’s my mission to ensure that no female experience the pain, humiliation, and horror of this condition, nor the psychic trauma of mistakenly believing they possess a gangrenous posterior. I am going to blow the doors off the equine world’s deep, dark secret: lady parts chafing.
Female equestrians, rise up (because you can’t actually sit down) and unite! Together, we can wipe out LPC (Lady Parts Chafing)!
(I don’t have gangrene. I don’t have frostbite. I have a mild ice burn that is much like a sunburn in symptoms and treatment. But still.)
About the Author
Chris Sloben is a NY-based video producer and editor, horse-show mom and pre-amateur, really old sometimes rider.