Saturday, February 19, 2011

Just Say No!

Good Saturday Morning Folks!  I told you I start getting a lot more phone calls for business as the weather warms up.  But, the calls I'm going to tell you about today I get all year long.  I always wonder why people are surprised when I just say "No!" to this request.

I find that people are awkward when it comes to calling the farm with questions.  They are non-horse people, but they want to learn about horses.  Or, as you've heard me rant, they are people who have never been on a horse but they love horses. I get all kinds of calls.  People just don't know the right words very often.

So, when people call and are struggling to form the right question, I give them time.  I try to guide them towards the area I think they are asking about.  The most frequent call I get is this question:  I just want to ride.  Do you let people do that?

That one takes clarification.  I always respond: "I teach lessons.  Is that what you're looking for?"  Sometimes that's the right direction.  Yes, they want lessons.  Unfortunately for business and for me, many times that's not what the caller meant. 

I try again: "Do you want a trail ride?"  If that's what the caller is asking, I have to tell them, "No. I'm sorry, I don't have enough acreage for trail rides."  Inevitably comes the next question:  Do you know who does?

I am too nice and too honest.  I do know of one place.  I used to tell people.  Then I finally got tired of steering people over to the competition.  So, now, I just say, "No, I don't.  I'm sorry."  It's business ladies and gentlemen, I'm not sending it elsewhere.

If I still haven't gotten to the bottom of the question, I try again: "Do you want a pony ride?"  This is usually if they've mentioned a child in their initial question about a horse to ride.  The answer is: "No, I don't do pony rides."

I like for people to truly learn about horses.  Pony rides teach you nothing about horses.  Pony rides also run up your liability insurance premiums.  Why? Cause those little pony riding boogers always seem to fall off of the pony and get hurt.  Then, they file a claim against your liability insurance.  Nope. No pony rides.

But, the most frequent meaning of that time worn question I get day after day after day: I want to ride a horse.  Do you let people do that?  Is that this poor fool on the other end of the phone has watched too many movies and tv shows.

This poor fool wants to rent one of my horses and just ride off for the day.  The poor fool doesn't want any instruction.  The poor fool has never been on a horse.  The poor fool probably thinks the horse knows what to do and all he has to do is sit there.  It'll be just like in the movies.  Oh, yeah.  Uh-huh.  Just like in the movies. 

The answer to this question is a resounding, "NO!"  Now, I'm polite about it.  I don't scream at them.  I don't curse or tell them they are damn fools.  I just say, "No, I don't do that."

Then, inevitably, comes the next question, "Why?"  They want to know why I don't just hand over one of my fine animals that I've invested with most of my time and all of my money.  They want to know why they can't just grab him up and go.

I don't know. Why don't you just let me have your new Porsche for the day?  I don't know how to drive.  I've never seen a car.  But, why can't I just drive your new Porsche for the day?  I love Porsches, but I've never seen one in person.   It's the same thing as these poor fools wanting to get their unsupervised hands on my horses.  It ain't happening, folks.  No!

Oh, but the horse knows what to do.  Yeah.  That's right.  The horse does know just what to do. That horse knows he's got 200 lbs of idiot on his back and Cowgirl Domino is no where in sight.  My horses know exactly what to do now.  That horse is going to do as he damn well pleases.  That's exactly what he knows to do.

A horse has judged his rider in the first 15 seconds you're on him.  And, remember, I told you early on, horses are smarter than people because they pay attention.  Don't forget it because as soon as you do, that's when he'll put one over on you.  That's why I'm not going to rent my horse out to you without me and a lesson to go with him.

You will have a terrible time after 1000 lbs of horse flesh has stood still; or walked you up on the porch; or eaten all of the grass on the farm while you try to make him stop; or galloped off to Miami with you; or whatever that horse wants to do in that moment.  A horse with an unsupervised, unknowing rider will do exactly as he pleases.  Trust me.

And why, if I get all of these calls, don't I just give in and take their money?  I could let them find out for themselves.  I could stop wasting my breath on them and take their money.  Well, I thought of that.

I asked my insurance carrier about it.  The agent said, "Underwriting will never approve that."  She didn't even try to sell me some expensive "Just In Case of Idiots" rider to my insurance policy.  She just said, "No."

You know what that means folks? If you call and ask to: Just ride a horse.  I just wanna ride.  I don't want no lesson. I just wanna ride.  I will just say, "No."  Pretty soon, I'm going to stop wasting my breath answering that second question, "Why?"  Or, I'm going to go all Mama on them and say, "Because I said so.  That's why!"  You don't want me to do that, do you?

Now, you know one more thing not to do when you call or drop by a horse farm this Spring when you start getting Spring Fever.  I'm just saving you the trouble.  I'm just saving my competition the trouble, too.  We'll all just say, "No."

Why? Because our insurance company won't underwrite it and we don't want to lose our shirts when you fall off and hurt your stupid self.  There you go.  That's the answer ladies and gentlemen.  So, don't ask the question.

Take care. Thanks for reading.  Hope you got a laugh and learned something, too!  Have a good Saturday!

P.S. By-the-way, I have seen a new Porsche.  I've seen old Porsches, too. I've ridden in them.  I've driven them.  I'm surrounded by sports car enthusiasts.  So, you'd be safer giving me your Porsche for the day than I'd be giving you my horse.  Just wanted to put your mind at ease.  Now, hand over those Porsche keys to Cowgirl Domino. Zoom, zoom.  Just like in the movies!!!  Yeeeehawww!!!!

;0)  Just kidding.  I don't say "Yeeeehawww,"  ever, never, ever, never.  Not happening.  Now, give me the keys and get away from my horse!

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