The four-legged ones are better anyway. Photo by Audrey Chaszar.

Savages. That’s the word I would use to describe teenage girls. I don’t own one yet (I’m in trouble when we get to that point…) but from my limited interactions with them in the barn, I have a pretty good understanding of their works. Also, I used to be one.

Any equestrian discipline is going to have them in hoards. You see a greater percentage in English based riding as opposed to their male counterparts. They start as adorable, happy little pigtail-and-jodhpur wearing fluffs and turn into lean, athletic, competitive she-beasts. Sometimes only pleasant when they are on their horse, around their horse friends, or in the barn. Sometimes never. Sometimes its best not to make eye contact with them. The poor things are subject to massive hormone dumps, but they enjoy being around a 1,200 pound animal that they can control, but can also be as equally stubborn and difficult as they are.

My current main teen titans have started to enter a girly phase. I try to be supportive and maintain a leader/friend/authority/advise giver role. Savage minion training is difficult, but for whatever reason, they still think I’m cool. Sometimes. So I get texts. All the texts. With emojis and things done on a phone that I have no idea how to do. And they’re fast. One mentioned she was going to a dance. Then the other starts in on a date. Then emoijis. Talking emojis. Unicorns. So I mention that we may have a 16-year-old male student coming soon. Silence. For maybe seven seconds. Then … boo-doo-ding, boo-doo-ding, boo-doo-ding.

“What’s his name?”

“What does he look like?”

“What does his horse look like?”

“Does he have blonde hair?”

“What’s his phone number?”

“Is he a good rider?”

“I’m wearing my tall boots and show breeches next lesson.”

“He’s going to like my horse.”

“Is he cute?”

More emojis. A picture of what they wanted this kid and his horse to look like. A name for this kid and his horse. A plan to keep the other savages away for what they had already claimed to be theirs. Lighthearted (or stabby, not really sure) comments towards each other proving superiority. Private texts trying to get a leg up on each other. Savages.

If they were to ever meet this rarity of a human, the interaction would be short, awkward and aggressive. Both parties would be left confused, but for some reason intrigued by the odd behavior. I’ve witnessed a water bottle flung by a female teenage student towards a teenage male head with the velocity to concuss a silverback gorilla. All because she thought he was cute. They ended up going to the homecoming dance together a few weeks later.

As I sit here and laugh at the honest comedy, I must take a step back and realize that we are the ones setting an example. We have a tradition every Wednesday. I teach lessons and then some students, friends and the barn owners go to a local Mexican restaurant. About once every other month, some of us end up walking a few doors down to a small bar that offers karaoke. Every once in a while, a nice man will wander over, intrigued by the loud group in odd clothing and curious odor, sit at our table and try to strike up a conversation. It’s generally a bad idea.

This particular time, a nice gentleman, we will call him Steven, came over, introduced himself, and asked if he could karaoke with one particular member of our group. Nice try, we all sing, Steven. He didn’t have a song in mind, and it just so happened that “Good Bye Earl” was our next jam. Perfect. Steven tried, he really did, but then he made his first mistake, he attempted to isolate his pick, put his arm around her and like a border collie, herd her away from the flock. I will say he was in no way inappropriate, the poor soul just wandered obliviously into a hornets’ nest. Seeing this, I immediately placed myself in between the two and sang louder.

“No black eyed peas?”

“They tasted alright to me STEVEN.”

And the group joined in…

“DARK!! Bahahaha, *snorts*, TARP STEVEN YEAH, Bahahahaha”

Poor Steven came back to our table, and out of desperation, he made one more valiant effort at acceptance. He ended up going back to sit at the bar alone, shot down by a group of adult savages in tight pants who threatened to end him.

We all woke up the next day, ate some ibuprofen and laughed about the night/morning. Bless the non-horsey significant others that choose to spend their lives with us and put up with our savageness. Bless the horse friends that may be slightly over protective of their single friends. And bless the unknowing who justifiably label us as insane. We can’t help it.