OVER THE FENCE: A horse of a different color
Notes taken and sudden realizations made as a result of replying to advertisements in search of the perfect horse:
BOMB-PROOF, ANYONE CAN RIDE. Translation: He's lame.
GREEN-BROKE, WILLING AND KIND. Translation: Wear spurs and take your bible.
BEEN SHOWN AND RIDDEN IN PARADES. Translation: Lots of people have seen him, and he's also deaf (his rider played the tuba.)
BIG, BEAUTIFUL AND ATHLETIC. Translation: He jumps over EVERYTHING, including dogs and children.
HAULS, CLIPS AND BATHES. NEEDS A GOOD HOME. Translation: He's 100 years old.
And my personal favorite, since it was the horse I happened to be looking for:
BIG, BLACK, BEAUTIFUL HORSE. Translation: Swamp-water grey, one eye, 14 hands (In case you're wondering, 14 hands is 4'6" tall.)
I know what you're thinking — that I exaggerate.
Maybe you're not into the horse world, so this doesn't really hit home. I ask only that you recall the last time you set up a meeting via an online dating service. Remember the picture your contact posted? What did it look like?
Dark wavy hair, ocean blue eyes, 6'2" with an Adonis body? Hmmm? Or, conversely, petite blonde, slim yet buxom, flawless complexion, brilliant smile? Hmmmmm? Too bad that 10- minute meeting at Starbucks didn't work out. It must have been the spinach in his/her teeth, or perhaps it was the overbite that turned you off.
I think there are laws about truth in advertising, but apparently, they aren't being enforced. Meanwhile, we all have to make our way in this world with a steely eye and a healthy skepticism. As stated above, I have encountered my fair share of frustration in dealing with horse owners who want to sell their horses so badly they will say just about anything to get a warm body on the premises. Once there, this warm body usually felt both frustrated at the waste of time, a tad angry at the would-be seller and very sorry for the horse. I imagine I would feel similarly about the fellow from the dating service. Angry at the misrepresentation, frustrated by the waste of time and sorry that this poor guy would be so desperate as to outright lie to me in hopes of developing a relationship. It is definitely sad how lonely people can be.
Back to my much sought after, beautiful black horse. At the time I was looking for this illusive creature, I was publishing an equestrian newspaper and therefore had an "in" with the horse crowd. So I asked for help in my monthly editor's column. I explained that a year ago, when I didn't think I needed such a critter, they abounded throughout the land. Now there appeared to be nary a one in sight. I then described what I wanted: a big, black, beautiful well-trained horse who was both kind and willing. I even offered a finder's fee to anyone who could lead me to what was fast becoming a mystical entity.
Well, the sad end to this tale, is that
no one was ever able to hook me up
with my dream horse. But all was not lost. I did manage to find a big black horse on my own. He didn't fit all of the required categories, but he was a good horse, and that's what counted. He is
now presumably up in horse heaven, where all the horses are big and beautiful (and their owners do not suffer overbites)!