Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Horse Is A Horse, Of Course Of Course. Except When It's a Goat. Or Something.

At some point in their lives, many girls have an infatuation with horses.

Mine started around age 10 or 11. I had gone horseback riding on a couple vacations and I think once at girl scout camp. For no particular reason except that they fell under the category of “cute” animals, and I did enjoy the rides, I decided I “loved” horses.

It didn’t hurt that the only horses I previously rode were on carousels:

Actually, I usually chose the chicken.

And, I never did get that pony.

And actually, the only ponies I was allowed were these:

Really, what little girl could resist?

This new-found obsession started off more or less normally. But then things got weird.

First, I learned how to draw horses. I got a library book all about drawing horses, and painstakingly taught myself how to draw a variety of horses in a variety of poses.

By me. Or Picasso. Probably Picasso.

Later, a new family to the neighborhood bought a couple acres right next to my friend Debbie’s house. And that family had 2 horses, with a small stable! Bonus! They let Debbie and I watch the horses from the fence any time we wanted, and if the neighbors were home, they sometimes let us pet the horses or feed them an apple or carrot.

But then things got weird...

One family at the far end of the street lived in a small house. It turned out they liked horses too. They liked horses so much, they converted their garage into a stable.

And then the neighbors on the other end of the street decided to raise some goats. I don't know how this was allowed. Our street must have been zoned residential-agricultural-crazyland.

So now it was not an unusual sight to see up to four horses trotting along with riders on their backs, and a goat or two grazing by the street. It was like living in 1885, except it was 1991 and we had things like cars and grocery stores. And Milwaukee was a mere 25 minute drive away, so it took hardly any effort to reach a grocery store that sold goat milk, and maybe even goat meat. WHO KNEW?

The garage-horses were well-cared for and loved, but something about the whole situation seemed kind of sad. Because when it came down to it, I just felt horses ought not be stored in a garage. And the goats, while also adorable, were just plain weird.

My horse-adoration died down a bit after that. I was old enough to know we couldn't afford stabling fees, and if the only alternative was to buy a horse and have it live in the garage, well, I just didn't want to do that. And the horse would probably breed with the goats to make some sort of monstrous horse-goat hybrid called a gorse or a hoat or something.

I still like horses to some extent. But we aren't, and will likely never be, in a location or financial position where we could keep a horse either on our land or in a stable. So I guess I'll just have to introduce my children to these:

My name is Cotton Candy and I'm forever getting into
mischief trying to eat sweet treats in Blossom's garden.
I am not making this up.