Saturday, November 1, 2008

Top Ten Sad Horse Stories

Dear Friends,

   The Hard Taco song for November is called, "The Night That Eight Belles Died." If you watched the 2008 Kentucky Derby, you may be familiar with the doleful tale of Eight Belles, the filly who inexplicably fell and both broke her front ankles immediately after passing the winning post.

   Sad horse songs have always been my emotional Achilles heel. I actually get a lump in my throat when I hear, "Old grey mare she ain't what she used to be." I mean, my God, that poor mare! That said, you can imagine what I was going through when I found out that the only filly in the Derby was put down mere seconds after running the race of her life. Honestly, it's got to be number one on the top ten list of sad things that could happen to a horse. Here are other scenarios that round out that list.

2. The roof of the barn is about to cave in, and everyone knows it. At the last minute, a brave horse volunteers to martyr himself so that the other animals can make the glue they need to fix the roof.

3. A horse falls in a well, and he is too heavy to be pulled out by conventional means. The whole town has to chip in to raise enough money to buy a 50 foot syringe so they can euthanize him from above.

4. A Clydesdale has to take chemotherapy, and it makes the glorious tassels of hair around his hooves start to fall out. The other Clydesdales all shave their hoof tassels, because of solidarity. Budweiser films an inspirational commercial with the shaved horses pulling a sleigh and pledges to donate $10,000 in the fight against horse cancer. Veterinary scientists are so inspired by this commercial, they spend all of the grant money on beer.

5. Mr. Porter has to take poor Cinnamon back to the ranch after he discovers that his daughter's recurring birthday wish was actually for a peony.

6. A gallant bay named War Criminal is going to retire from racing after the Belmont Stakes. Unfortunately, he ends up losing because the rule book enigmatically refers to "racing animals" rather than "horses," and as such does not specifically exclude dart frogs from the competition.

7. Two wild appaloosas are captured and put in a zoo. At first, they spurn their realistic plains-like environment. Eventually, they realize that they have an opportunity to showcase their proud appaloosa heritage. They make a pact to never look back, but yeah, right. The next day a famous zoo critic writes a review with the headline, "Crappy Local Zoo Fleeces Public with Boring Horse Exhibit." The horses get completely depressed and start sleeping in way too late.

8. Benjamin Katz has a Dungeons and Dragons character named Borthwain Golf-raven (also known as Borthwain the Vigorously Renowned.) Borthwain uses a bag of electrum pieces to purchase magical barding armour for his steed, Strifeheart. The horse is delighted to discover that the armour is made out of flax mail +1. This story is more pathetic than sad, but I thought it was worth including.

9. A miniature horse is sick of being typecast in comical roles. In his heart, he's just like every other horse, but he happens to be small. Tell me what's so goddamned funny about that.

10. Ole Myrtle has been proudly straining at the plow for over twenty years, but now Farmer Delmar has a tractor, and she isn't needed anymore. He pats her on the nose and puts her out to pasture with the other nags, Ole Mamie, Ole Beulah, Ole Jennie, and Ole Claribel. One day, the tractor's engine breaks. Farmer Delmar is out of his mind with not knowing what to do, but the horses look at each other and nod. They harness the tractor to their backs and pull it through the fields, tilling and tilling until the sun goes down. For one last day, they feel alive again.

With warmest regards,