Many years ago, I was a Pony Club DC. I loved it. Pony Club to me still represents the highest possible standard of horsemanship. Ever since then, I’ve jumped at chances to stay involved, which mostly means judging at ratings, and since I am nobody’s idea of a dressage or jumping judge, that means a lot of stable management and turnout inspections. I love doing them.
Pony Club requires – at a certain level of turnout – belts.
I have literally never worn a belt in my life. Not on my everyday pants, and not on my breeches.
I understand the background behind Pony Club requirements, and I once saw it with my own eyes. I arrived at the county fairgrounds just about ten years ago and as I walked over to the stabling area I heard “loose horse!” Around the corner came barreling a gelding who belonged to one of my kids. He was D-O-N-E, despite typically being a solid citizen.
He spied me, and my trainer, who was standing next to us, and he went faster, right toward us. We did what you do when presented with a loose horse: make yourself big, hold your hands out wide, and talk in a low, soothing voice. He skidded to a halt in front of us, obviously relieved, and in that moment my trainer took off her belt and in one smooth motion put it around his neck and re-buckled it. She led him like that back to the barn, where he was put back in his stall to think about what he’d done while I interrogated the kid.
I often think “that was really practical and useful” and it’s the reason I’ve kept a halter and lead rope in every car I’ve ever owned, and always keep a lead rope near to me when I’m hauling horses, even if they’re not my own.
But every time I wear a belt all I can think is how awful they are. They cut into my stomach. They make the fabric of my pants all bendy and wrinkled and uncomfortable. Then the pants slip down and the belt is just on my skin and the belt loops are inverted and EVERYTHING IS AWFUL.
I love the look of them, especially the adorably styled ones that are starting to come out. I admit, my heart goes pitter-patter when I see a coordinated polo and belt. It’s such a nice, trim, turnout. I am jealous of all of you who wear them and shop for them and look awesome in them. Every so often I think I should get one and wear one and then I think about the feeling of a belt on the skin of my stomach and how much I want to set them on fire inside of fifteen minutes.
So: why do you wear belts? Am I doing it all wrong? Should I try again?