I was watching a YouTube video of a Bugatti, which is a car that costs about as much as the entire state of Missouri, and I got to thinking about horses. There was some train of thought, because Bugattis are expensive, and so are Ferraris, and Ferrari has a horse logo, therefore I decided I must write about horses.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never actually owned a horse. I’ve also only ridden a horse once, and I don’t remember a whole lot about it except the horse’s name was Dusty, and Dusty is probably rather dusty right now if you catch my drift (he’s probably rotting in the ground or being ingested by dogs). I honestly have no idea, and I never bothered to check up on him.
However, I do know people that own horses, and I’ve been known to be in the same neighborhood as horses. The people who own horses always tell me how great they are, and I suppose I believe them. Then I go back to my van, eternally grateful that it doesn’t crap in my garage.
One can’t help but think how many animals people tried riding before they settled on the horse. I suspect there was at least one misguided fellow who felt that mountain lions would make good vehicles. I also suspect that when it came time for this enterprising fellow to test his theory, he discovered that mountain lions didn’t exactly share his enthusiasm on the subject (although they probably did share him, as it were).
I do know that people who ride horses are called equestrians. “Equestrians” of course comes from the Latin “equus” which means “creature that smells like an excessively used outhouse.” Most people are probably familiar with the word because of My Little Pony, a curious show wherein a bunch of neurotic ponies (as far as I can tell) spend the bulk of their existence flitting around trying to sort out how they accomplish anything without thumbs. My daughter watches it a lot, and it’s one of the few shows she watches that doesn’t put me into a coma. I’m not a bronie, but I definitely know all of the ponies’ names (I’m also not in denial).
Getting back to cars, I can understand the notion that horses were so important that we measure cars in terms of horsepower. Of course, one cannot help but wonder what would have happened if the Spanish had introduced camels or elephants instead of horses. Camels got the short end of the stick (metaphorically) by becoming mascots for a cigarette company. Horses are equated with magnificence, and camels are equated with cancer. Seems like a raw deal to me.
Camels also have the unfortunate appearance of a horse that bathed one too many times in a vat of toxic waste.
Forgetting those hideous looking pack mules, let’s return to the horse, specifically horse racing. I’ll admit I’ve never gotten the hype about horse racing, but I don’t begrudge anyone who enjoys it. However, it is a truly intense sport. The high risk/high reward element intrigues me to no end. After all, if a horse wins a race, he spends the rest of his life having presumably attractive mares thrust into his presence, with the hope that he’ll pass on his genes. The whole thing seems a bit barbaric to me, but I like to pretend that the mares see themselves as horse groupies.
There is one element of horse racing that we haven’t allowed to bleed into human races (not yet, anyway). When a horse is in the midst of the race and has the misfortune to snap its leg like a pretzel, this causes a problem. Apparently race horses have very delicate legs, and it’s next to impossible to repair them. The solution? Some guy stands by with a fairly large caliber pistol and demonstrates in full view of everyone and the horses what happens to horses that fail at life.
So, horses either get a life of luxury or public execution. If the whole public execution thing for breaking a leg ever makes its way to the Olympics, I suspect it would only be appropriate for the horses to do the shooting.
To end on a somewhat happy note, horses legitimately have the most interesting names ever. Here’s a list of actual horse names:
- Sunday Silence
- I’ll Have Another
- Spectacular Bid
- Genuine Risk
- Real Quiet
- Odor in the Court
I’ve tried without success to figure out which of those is my favorite. “Odor in the Court” is probably the most accurate name a horse has ever received, and “ARRRRR” makes me think of a pirate horse. I don’t know what pirate horses would pillage. Hay I suppose, but then why pillage something they can just get out in the wild? That’s probably why there aren’t any pirate horses.
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