Congratulations to Patty Sue Gildart and Robin Alexander of Spring Branch, Texas, for identifying the equipment represented by all but one letter in Robin J. Dowhie's horse alphabet (illustrated below). Like a number of other readers, they saw rowels in the Z instead of the show ribbons depicted by the artist -- and seen by some readers. Reader Dowhie of Beechhurst, N.Y., kindly sent in her alphabet after noting Jean Evans's calligraphic alphabet in The Home Forum Feb. 6. We printed a small version on March 1, promising to announce replies correctly naming more than half the items. All of the readers who succeeded got at least 20 right. Thanks to everyone named here for joining the game and, in several instances, adding a few words.
Marti Tackitt of Duncan, Okla., offered further fun: ``Your awareness of us `horse nuts' among your readership is sincerely appreciated, and I would like to share a game my mother and I used to play on trips. On the order of `Grandmother's Suitcase,' one player begins with `I packed the trailer for a show, and in it I put . . .' and goes on with a horse-related item beginning with `A,' such as apples. The next player must repeat the sentence including the previously named item(s) and add the next letter item, in this case brushes, bridles, or brooms, etc. The game continues through the alphabet. It's a good way to pass the time with a test of memory, a few incongruous items and many laughs along the way.''
A reply in verse came from Ginger Nelles of Knightdale, N.C. Samples: ``Letter `A' is a bridle it seems to me;/Letter `B' some goggles -- the better to see. . . ./ `G' is a girth so your saddle won't slip./`H' a show jump (please, horse, don't trip). . . ./The question mark is a boot pull; this sure has been fun./The `and' sign a longe line, & now I'm all done.''
Michele Curtis of Kirkland, Wash., noted: ``One night my Sunday School teacher called and suggested I try the `horse alphabet,' as I ride, own & show my own horse.''
The ``incredibly creative horse alphabet'' seemed ``a personal challenge to me,'' wrote Elisabeth Stevens of Waverly, N.Y. ``Four years ago I spent several months at a 17th-century farm, now a riding school, training for the British Horse Society assistant instructor certification. That time in Norfolk, England, was one of the most difficult and enjoyable I have ever had, and puzzling over the bits and boots of this alphabet made me call to mind many terms I rarely use now, training mostly western horses locally.''
From Ligonier, Pa., Bronson Shonk explained: ``The following compiled these answers over Dorothy Hamilton's buckwheat pancakes (and smoked sausage) on a recent Sunday morning. Mr. Roy Hamilton, Bolivar, Pa., owner of Hamilton Stables and Saddlery. Mr. Bud Glessner, Waterford, Pa., horseman. Mr. and Mrs. Dan Stevens, Bolivar, estate and riding stable managers.''
``My veterinarian wife [Dr. Anne Collins] used to own a hunter,'' wrote Tennyson Collins of Manhattan, Kan., ``so I was able to identify 15 or 16 of the letters, and of course she was able to get the rest. We think.''
Phoebe Vellrath Lake of Cypress, Texas, replied to what she called the ``equine alphabet'' with a note saying, ``I was first introduced to the Monitor as a gift from a dear friend.''
``We all had fun doing this,'' wrote Dr. & Mrs. William Paglia and Family of Bradford, Mass.
``What fun!'' echoed Eyre H. Davisson of West Brattleboro, Vt.
``Have a nice day!'' added Timothy B. Collins of Santa Barbara, Calif.
Ellen L. Waddell of Newcastle, Calif., noted that she and her neighbors, Carol and Jon Saunders, made independent guesses and arrived at a consensus. ``This clever alphabet is a great conversation piece among our friends . . . we are involved with raising Arabians and the sport of endurance riding.''
Sandra S. Heinrichs of Austin, Texas, P.S.ed: ``I own and ride and trained the Zone V Champion Training Level Combined Training horse for '84. He was also Texas champ and 2nd level Dressage champ of central Texas for '84. His name is Fame.''
Another successful reply came from Margy Kramer of New Marshfield, Ohio. Still another was ``submitted by Courtney Cole, age 6, Jamie Cole, age 8, with the help of Kim Thayer, age 13, all of Exeter, N.H.''
Finally, here is Robin Dowhie's own key:
A, bridle; B, goggles; C, spur; D, hunt cap; E, ankle boot; F, hunt crop; G, girth; H, jump; I, brush; !, crop. J, hoof pick; K, jockey silks; L, boot; M, Pelham bit; N, laced reins; O, stirrup; P, saddle pad; Q, hunt horn; R, saddle; S, rope lead; T, martingale; U, horse show; V, stirrup leather; W, blanket; X, crops; Y, glove; Z, show ribbons; ?, boot hook; &, leather lead line.