There are many things that Assistant Equestrian Coaches (coachs? Inserting the "e" continues to disturb me but, otherwise, it's just awkward) are asked to do. Some of them are mundane; spreadsheet data entry, some of them are good for the health; pumping iron with the team in the weight room, some are hard on the heart; having to discipline someone or yell at them... (No, I really do! I know you're thinking that I'm too nice for that but, uh, it turns out that I'm not...) and some of them are absolutely wonderfully exhilarating. Today, I had the distinct pleasure of being sent to the feed store and, I must mention, not just any feed store, an ADORABLE feed store: Master Made Feed on Main Street in Grapevine.
Oh, the sweet, earthy smell of the feed permeating the building, the walls full of brightly colored curry combs, halters and brushes, gorgeous honey colored bridles with fancy sterling silver buckles, buckets of horse treats in all flavors, all kinds and colors of saddles, both western and hunt seat, spurs, crops and cowboy hats. Everything is blanketed in this delicate, delightful layer of fairy dust because the doors to the feed store pretty much stay open all the time and the feed bags themselves tend to puff out this fine powder when they are stacked on top of each other. Oh, how I love the feed store. I enjoy the leathery skin and husky voices of the old cowboys who work there. I love the cowboy hat that you know they only take off to sleep, eat and pray and their friendly way of treating people. I also love the way they don't rush. Everything happens at a slower pace at the feed store. Today, I revelled in that. I didn't hurry. I thought about my Dad telling me about how, as a kid, he would delight in being able to go with Grandat to the feed store on Saturday mornings. I imagine he felt like a prince as he sat on the stacks of feed sacks drinking his Orange Crush and listening to the men talk shop. Today, thinking about that slower pace of life, I took my sweet time and shot the bull with those cowboys as I picked out a cribbing collar, a riding helmet for myself, two bags of Omelene 100, which is this super yummy, sweet, sticky feed that helps the horses gain weight, a bag of rice bran to boost their energy and a bag of apple flavored horse treats because I couldn't resist. I especially enjoyed meeting Jacob. He works 4 hours a day at the feed store and spends the other part of his day working as the horse manager at a ranch near by. If I had to guess, I would say that Jacob is probably 65 years old but still going strong. He, of course, would not let me carry my feed bags to the car so he had one of the young whipper snappers working there take the heavy bags to the car for me. (Confession: I was totally embarassed about pulling up to the feed store in a Maxima and was really really missing Peppermint Patty.) The young guy who carried my feed was wearing Wranglers, a plaid shirt, boots and a ball cap and he looked as though he loved the feed store as much as I do. He called me ma'am and opened my car door. Jacob and I talked for a little while about what alfalfa cubes could do for our horse's energy levels and said that the feed store would be happy to "send some out our way". As we stood there talking by my car, Jacob lit up a cigarette and continued speaking to me with it sticking to the edge of his lip. I kept waiting for it to fall but, miraculously, it stayed perfectly perched and I thought, "years of practice... years. of. practice." I thanked him for taking the time to help me find what I needed, walking me to my car and giving me such great advice on alfalfa cubes. As I was leaving, Jacob said "God bless you, Chelsea." Wow - As I drove away, the sun shining and the feed sacks in the trunk already sending their sweet aroma throughout the car, I thought, "God bless you too, Jacob. God bless America and God bless the feed store."