Thursday, April 7, 2011

Reality TV and Common [Horse] Sense

We watch a handful of reality television shows, and by "handful" I mean less than five.  One television show I'll catch when there's nothing else on is "Sister Wives."  "Sister Wives" is a reality television show introducing a husband and his four wives to the world (as well as their large brood!)

An episode I caught recently (from a March airing) was the family headed to the family farm for a little R&R.  While on this farm, one of the many tasks to perform was a family cattle drive (actual working cattle drive.)  The family gets all prepared, we see them mounting various horses, and immediately, I'm a little shocked.

Boots? No.  Tennis shoes, among other footwear wholly inappropriate and unsafe for horseback riding of any kind especially work.

Helmets? Not hardly.  The majority of the family (save one or two members) have never been on a horse, or at least they look like they have never been on a horse, but why wear helmets?  If you've never ridden a horse, clearly you must be an expert.  Why would you wear a helmet in an uncontrolled and unpredictable setting such as, I don't know, a cattle drive?

Instruction? Nope.  We see the family members mount these horses, stirrups too long, feet all the way through, reins held upward (reins being used as means of balance to stay on the horse,) poor horses' mouths being jerked around, yanking to get a horse trained a different way to do something....disaster.

They head out on the "range," and I cringe at them.  Bouncing almost out of the saddle, going entirely too fast for people who don't have riding experience, and yanking horses to and fro.  Then it happens.

We see one of the teenage girls flat on her back, writhing in pain and screaming.  Her horse has dumped her.  Let's backtrack, we are informed that the father told them, "do not ride that horse.  He is young, he is acting up."  Now, the horse looks like a horse that is sick and tired of being yanked around and having his back slammed on by inexperienced riders so he gives them a little trouble.  It needs repeating, "the father told them, 'do not ride that horse.'"  Instead of heeding advice, the girl mounts the horse and tries to take off running.  The horse has other plans including dropping its head between its front legs (a big "uh-oh" warning sign well known among riders!) and the girl goes ass-over-apple cart onto the ground.  Horse's fault?  Who knows.

So instead of doing what people should do (DON'T MOVE HER!) the father says, "are you hurt?  let's stand you up."  Ugh.  LUCKILY, the girl was okay, but the father (attempting to be...what? John Wayne all of a sudden in his dress shirt and modern-fit jeans?) says, "I have to get on this horse and teach it that it can't do that."  I thought, "wow - dad is a horse guy."  Dad is NOT a horse guy.  Of course, we don't see what dad does (or tries to do.)  Instead, we see the inexperienced family members slamming down on their horses' backs still, nearly falling off, and coming close to serious accidents.

You'd think that the family would throw some helmets on the kids (if not horseback riding - at least bicycle helmets!) and make sure they were dressed safely before riding, but why would they?  We see dad zipping around on his motorcycle, without a helmet, all over the town.

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