Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Meet My Horse, ____?!

(note: My Rome Part 2 post was buried benieth all of the Instagram pictures I posted. So here is a link to that if you were looking for it:)

This is Mae Mobley. Why does she look familiar? Because her name used to be Princess. Did you just roll your eyes? I saw you roll your eyes! I know what you're thinking... and you'd be right, I am crazy. And this name thing is ridiculous! But I can explain.... you see...

I did a whole post about how my favorite movie of all time (Out of Africa) inspired me to accept that her name was Princess, remember? I wrote some psycho babble about how, like Karen, I had learned that there is power in accepting that some are beyond our control. I accepted her name... but thought I could call her Cessa, or Pea or some variant of Princess. But plain ol' Princess stuck hard and fast. I couldnt call her anything but.

For a while it didn't seem to matter as we mainly stuck around home. But then we started hauling out in to that big bad world and I realized that I'd be forced to introduce my mare, like, to other people *gasp* Last week L. and I hauled out to an indoor arena. Inevitably I had to introduce my mare to the other riders. On Saturday, my mare and I did a clinic. Naturally the clinic began with everyone introducing themselves and their horses to the instructor. I was forced to say, "My name is Chelsi and this is my mare Princess." That made for an interesting first impression. The week before we had a new boarder come to our barn and I was forced to let him in on my dirty little secret too. Finally I decided that I have enough social anxiety as it is... I'd had enough. When L., (the lady who boards my pony, who is also a friend) set out for a ride Monday morning I told her that Saturday's clinic had been the last straw... The name Princess had to go.

She just roller her eyes and said, "Sure. Sure."

I didn't blame her. She'd heard this enough times before. Everyone had.

"No, I'm serious." I said, "Saturday was the last time I am going to introduce my horse as Princess. I refuse to do it one more *#&$ing time."

L. thought about it for a minute and then laid down the rules. I need rules. I like rules. Rules make me feel all safe and secure. Not really. Usually rules do nothing but inspire my rebellious tendencies... but this time I knew they were needed.

The rules were:

1. This was my last kick at the can. This time when I picked a name, that was it. Final answer. There would be no going back. L. would continue calling her that name whether I like it or not.

2. I had to decide on this name by the end of the ride. She said that I've known the horse for a year and I've tried on every name under the sun. If I couldn't come up a name in one hour I wasnt going to, ever.

I looked at the long stretch of trail before me. I thought about it for a minute. Then I accepted her terms. I barely spoke a word for the rest of the ride. I had a lot of thinkin' to do.

The first thing I decided was that the name had to start with a Ma sound as I most commonly call her Mare (I call most mares "Mare".) If I picked a "Ma" sounding word I would already be ahead of the game. Macy, Marcy, Marci, Matilda, Madaline, Madison, Maggie, Makie, Mamme... I went through the letters of the alphabet and stuck them all behind Ma. I kept coming back to May. I liked May. May is the middle name of my dear friend Barb. I couldnt go wrong. The only problem was that I dont like one syllable names. I have to have a name that I can coo. A name that sings. So then I stuck letters on the end of May... Maylee, Maycee, Mayla, Mayra, Mayfa, Mayda. May-bee. May-bee... I just immediately loved Maybee. The sound felt right for my horse. But Maybe is no kind of name.

By this time I was running out of trail. I had just a few minutes left. I tried everything I could and nothing was sticking besides May-be. I was starting to panic. I though I could always just go back to Lilly (one of the previous winners). Lilly's a good solid name. May. May-bee...

I had run out of time. We'd hit the end of the trail. L. looked at me. I gave her a sheepish grin and looked away. We started down the road to home. I thought, "Oh! She's going to give me more time! Thank God!" But no. A minute later L. asks,"Well?"

"Okay!" I said.

"Yeeesssss?!?" She says with a big smile.

"I have half of a name." I paused. Twisted my lips. Thought hard. May-be.... May-be. May-boley (bow-lee). Maybolee! "One sec!" I said to L. and pulled out my iphone. I looked up "The Help", clicked open wikipedia and read the plot summery. There it was! Mae Mobley Leeflot! Aibileen's last white baby.

Now, I LOOOOOOVED the book "The Help". I also liked the movie. But the book was really something special. A beautifully written story set in the early 1960s in Jackson Mississipi, The Help is narrated by three different women- Aibileen and Mini, two black woman who spent their adult lives working as maids raising white people's babies and Skeeter, a young white woman who asks Aibileen and Mini to let her write their stories. In that book there is a little girl named Mae Mobley who is cared for by Aibileen. Mae Mobley is not a pretty child and unfortunately her Momma, a pretty society woman, knows it. That mother just couldnt seem to love her child. Aibileen, Mae Mobely's caregiver is the only person in the world who knows what is going to happen if that baby doesnt learn that she has something to offer the world. So every morning Aibileen sits Mae Mobely on her lap and together they say, "You is kind. You is smart. You is important." I love those words.

"Mae Mobley" I said aloud.

"What?!?" Laurie looks at me like I'm smokin' something.

"Mae Mobley" The name didnt quite sound right. I thought of it as May-bow-lee not May Mobley but I just LOVED idea of naming her after that cute little girl. It just FIT. It fit because I had struggled to love this mare. I hate to admit it, but I really struggled to get over the way she looked. I didnt find her pretty. Worse, I thought she was a little ugly. I also didnt appreciate all she had to offer. This Saturday we did a clinic with a lady who is a reining and cowhorse trainer (as well as natural horsemanship.) I am going to write more about this clinic later but for now will just say that I found out that Mae has a HELL OF A LOT more atheltism than I thought and she can even use that big old butt too (I didnt think she knew it was back there!) The mare I thought would neeeever make a reiner, might become a competitive amateur reiner with a really nice stop and snappy rollbacks to boot! I underestimated her. I underestimated her because I didnt value her, right from the start. Mae Mobley is a weird name. But it fits. So that afternoon I told L. that Princess' new name was, "Mae. Mae Mobley." And if someone thinks it is a stupid name then so be it. At least it would be a stupid name that I gave her... a name that I cant hear without thinking, "You is kind. You is Smart. You is important." Mae needs to hear those words. And some days, so do I.


  1. I love it!!

    The story behind the name will be a great conversation piece. I have named animals unusual names and for specific memories the name inspires.

  2. Hello Chelsi,I absolutely love your blog. Have a nice day.

  3. Love the name! I think a name is important - you wouldn't just pick your own child's name out of a hat! Those kinds of decisions need to be thought through. I think you've come up with a great name, and a great justification for it as well. I can sympathize with the social anxiety - I used to hate my middle name and would refuse to tell people what it was.

  4. I am so glad you changed the name. A horses name has to fit the horse, but it also has to fit the relationship between horse and human. Pippi's name was Jewel when we first met, and I struggled with it for a few months, before putting my foot down. Those around me thought I was stupid, but Pippi is not a Jewel, nor am I going to treat her as a "Jewel." Jewel is cold, aloof and unfriendly and I had and wanted a strong, fun, silly, independent partner. Pippi has four long stocking, and I grew up in Scandinavia with Pippi as my rolemodel.
    Good choice for a name. You may find that you treat her different now that you have allowed her to be who you see her as. <3

  5. Yay for a name! And don't worry about it being "weird" or anything else. It's HER name, and that's all that matters.

  6. I think I've said this before , but that horse is absoloutley beautiful.

  7. Ooooh - I love it! It's kinda Mae West-ish. You know brings to mind a tough strong woman. Very cool.

    Not sure what it's like there but APHA have some very nice shows here, with all kinds of classes and incentives. People I know who go say they're fun and low pressure.

    A potential starting point on this new journey. Isn't it great when your horse surprises you?

  8. I loved "The Help" too. Read the book, but haven't seen the movie yet. And I love you Mae's new name. Great story behind it too.

  9. I know what your going thru...My horse came as "Harts Bonnie Dee"...didn't like it, named her "Maddy"...but as I go along, seems maybe "Bonnie Dee" sort of fit. I can't go back now....can I?