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Horse Ownership Behooves Columnist
My sister Amy, normally the type of woman for whom the phrase “no-nonsense” was coined, recently called with a proposal that was … well, nonsense.
“Want to go halves on a horse?” she asked.
Talk about a surprise. For starters, I live in the center of a big city and Amy lives in one of its suburbs. Neither is the sort of place you’d call “horse country.” True, I’ve had some neighbors over the years I referred to as a certain part of a horse’s anatomy, but you rarely see the entire animal around here.
Add to that the fact that we’ve never been what you might call horsey people, although there are lots of horsey people where we come from, up in LaGrange County. They’re known as the Amish.
And factor in a lesson taught by my beloved Uncle John, who asked, “Why would you feed something you’re not going to eat, sell or breed?”
(I am in agreement with Uncle John for the most part, although I do make exceptions for dogs, cats and family members.)
So you can see it was with some shock that I heard my sister, my sensible sister, suggest we go 50-50 on an underfed Appaloosa gelding named Merlin. It was, however, no shock when I said “Okay.” Nobody ever accused ME of being sensible.
Merlin came to our attention through one of my sister’s dog- rescue connections who also happens to be a horse rescuer. The friend had saved Merlin from a slaughter pen. A couple more hours and he would have been off to some part of the world where horse is one of the four food groups. Illinois, I think.
(Naturally, my sister made sure to lay it on thick during this part of the sale pitch. Which, I noticed, went on for a good three minutes after I agreed to her proposal. I guess she was so ready to hear “No” that even after a “Yes” she still couldn’t hit the brakes.)
To find my sister turned into a horse nut is actually kind of funny. As a kid, she had a pony, a nasty-tempered beast named “Peaches.” When Peaches wasn’t biting Amy, or kicking Amy, she was running like a bat out of you-know-where with Amy clinging to her back, screaming for one of us boys to come out and shoot her. About the only person who ever got Peaches to behave was my brother. She bit him, so he pasted her in the mouth with a left that just about knocked her cross-eyed. After that, Peaches was gentle as a kitten for an entire, oh, 10 minutes.
But that was then. Today I am half-owner of Merlin, who has just been ensconced in a stable outside of town where he is eating, you should pardon the expression, like a horse, while I pick up half the tab. Meanwhile, I am in Indianapolis not eating because of the enormous headache caused by Merlin head-butting me while trying to get to his feed pail.
Oh well. I’m in this thing up to the withers now. Might as well ride it out. Next time Amy comes up with one of these ideas, though, I’m going to put a hoof down and follow some very good, Uncle John style advice:
Just say whoa.
© 2010 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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