How to Prepare Your Horse for the Big Show Under Adverse Conditions

Amie asks:

Hello loyal advice men!
So, i have a show with my horse Guinness tomorrow. However, i have a few little problems; 1) I shall be very drunk the night before so will almost definitely have a big hangover as proof of a good night. 2) I live in England therefore, the judges will be well…. boring, snooty and a little stiff. 3) i have an actual live horse to make presentable. Having read your ‘Equine upholstery’ article it was completely obvious you guys are more than qualified to answer my questions! So how do i look spritely with only 4 hours sleep? How do i communicate with this alien species of posh judges? And finally how the hell do i prepare my horse?!
Thanks! I have faith in you mighty scientists!

Hi, Amie. Good, tough questions all. You’re right, though, we’re more than qualified to answer them—so much so that this is kind of a waste of our time. We should be solving mazes in our X-Men activity book or something. Ah, well, we’ve started now; momentum will carry us through.

Let’s start with your first problem, which you mention right out of the gate (HA!): your horse’s name, Guiness. Totally inappropriate. A mistake. A world-class whoopsie-daisy. A flabbergasting fuckup. You might as well make him wear ski boots during the competition, with an anvil strapped to his head. You’ve destroyed your animal’s capacity to perform. Rename him immediately, something dignified and befitting a horse. (A couple of suggestions: Gag Reflex, Onomatopoeia.)

Once you’ve renamed your large-nostrilled friend “Botox” or “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” you’re ready to go out there and donkey-kick some ass (HOHO!). But you’re right, you’ll need to look good doing it or the judges will dock you based purely on repulsion. Four hours sleep, you say? It’s certainly not ideal, but you can make it work. Here’s how you cover up the deleterious effects:

  1. Wear a mask. Choose something you’re comfortable in; we recommend against iron, although Iron Man is a great option. Great! Iron Man’s a winner, and wearing his mask says to the judges, “Guess what? I’m a winner, too. My heart was torn out of my body by the Taliban, I was imprisoned in a cave in Afghanistan, and using only rocks and worms I was able to create a nuclear heart for myself, whereupon my captors elected me their parliamentary representative.” In fact, something like that might be worth saying out loud just before you take the field.

That brings us to your question about communicating with the “posh,” “snooty” judges. In short, it’s all about film. Film is the universal language; it is what unites us as a species; it is why, since the advent of moving pictures near the end of the 19th century, there haven’t been any very bad wars. So, beginning with your explanation of your Iron Man mask, make sure that anything you say involves a movie analogy.

  • “Now I’ll perform with my horse, like The Black Stallion.”
  • “We worked really hard on this next move, like Seabiscuit.”
  • “Thank you, judges, for your consideration. War Horse.”

It’s about subtly weaving the magic of film into everything you say. You’ll enchant the judges, and they won’t even realize how you’ve done it—they’ll assume it has something to do with your actual performance, which, let’s face it, is going to be a ten-foot pile of shit!

You also ask how best to prepare your horse. Really, he needs a lot of the same things you do to get ready for a big day: plenty of rest; a nice steak dinner the night before, plus some steak, eggs, and bacon for breakfast, with maybe a nice mimosa; a puff or two from the bong to control his nerves; a decent helping of Aderall to get him focused right before the show; and a flashy decorative blanket to wear, so he knows he’s looking his best. Other than these basic considerations, there’s nothing you can do to force a good performance. Maybe, morning-of, put his head in a vice and make him watch the first season of Friday Night Lights? Right after breakfast? Could inspire him.

The main thing, Amie, is to have a good time. Botox will sense your mood and feed off of it, so make sure you’re relaxed and upbeat; make plenty of reassuring eye contact with him through your Iron Man mask. Remember, there’s no “magic bullet” here—regular bullets work fine on horses!

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