As I brought my horse out of the barn last summer, hurriedly putting on my gloves before mounting up and leading my afternoon trail out, one of my regular campers laughed at me. He was already mounted up and waiting to go out on his own trail, and as I dashed about tightening my horse’s girth and springing into the saddle, I asked why he was laughing.
“It’s just so funny that you’re wearing a t-shirt and sunglasses, but you never ride without your gloves,” he chuckled.
I rolled my eyes behind my sunglasses and muttered a response about being precious about my hands – yes, I’m that horse girl, the one who can’t stand having dirty or dry hands, and who has more nail polishes than she can count. I won’t cry if I break a nail (unless I’ve been painstakingly growing and shaping them for a special occasion), but when I’m not at the yard, I do like to look and smell pleasant, and that includes having hands worthy of extending for a shake.
When we returned from our respective trails, I marched over to the boy and smugly recounted the story of my ride. Whilst in the woods, I’d felt something drop down my t-shirt. I shook my clothing, expecting whatever it was to fall out – it didn’t. “That’s weird,” I thought to myself, “I wonder what it could be.” I soon found out when – still riding downhill through the woods in front of two campers, you understand – I carefully peeled my sports bra back a little to reveal A LIVE WASP. CRAWLING AROUND IN MY BRA. Following a startled yelp, and a quick mental crossing of the fingers that everything would be okay, I briefly dropped my reins, fished the offending creature out with my gloved hand and continued with the ride unscathed. I’m not sure what I’d have done whilst in the saddle if I hadn’t been wearing gloves – hopefully a reasonable solution would’ve come to mind – but thankfully I didn’t have to think about it.
Clearly, this isn’t the sort of thing which happens every day, but I still see reasons to wear gloves year-round. Sometimes, it’s about comfort – in the winter when it’s cold, or if it’s wet. Sometimes, it’s about safety – for many people, gloves allow you to have a better grip of the reins (particularly if it’s raining), and if you work a lot with ropes, it’s about safety and comfort. Horses can move quickly, and sometimes humans aren’t quick enough to let go of a rope or rein when they should, resulting in burns.
Which is why I’m wedded to my Ariat gloves. I find them warm, but easy enough to still undertake fiddly tasks like adjusting a bridle. They’re easy to look after, wear well and can stand up to all sorts of tasks, such as snapping the odd low-hanging branch when leading a trail. I have a summer pair as well, but didn’t think the purchase through as well as I should have, so they’re barely worn – as the summer ones are made from a different material, I find them to be a much closer fit, and would consider buying them in a larger size than my winter ones. That said, I’m comfortable in the insulated ones year-round, especially as I know the summer ones wouldn’t be so tough.
I still don’t know how that wasp ended up somewhere it shouldn’t be, but I’m glad I was ready!