Boarding Your Horse: Low-cost Options

Stable fees have been killing me recently, which is ironic considering that since the divorce I’ve been spending a lot of low-profile overnight time in the stable myself.

So I’ve been working on lowering the cost of owning a horse.

Indoors or outdoors? It has to get wicked cold to kill a horse. For millions of years, horses ran around on the plains. Do you think they had cushy stables out there? I don’t think so.

Feeding. Do you have any idea how much greenery Trader Joe’s throws away every day? In it’s original packaging?

What can serve as a hitching post? In the old days, there were hitching posts everywhere. Now, say you want to go into a bar for a minute. Tie the horse to a lamppost or parking meter or a bike rack. You can leave a horse like that for a long time without it getting “towed.” Just not more than once on the same block.

Cleaning up after your horse. This thing with dogs and the plastic bags to scoop up the poop when you take the animal out for a walk has got completely out of hand. With your horse, just kick the stuff off the curb into the gutter and let it go at that. Why do you think they call them road apples?

Socialization. Your horse needs company. You probably won’t see many other horses around, especially if you live in the city, other than police horses and they are no fun at all. Sort of like police dogs. Ever try throwing a stick for a police dog? One of those German Shepherds? Instead of the stick, they lunge for your damned throat, even if you’re drunk and didn’t mean anything by it. But in the old days, there were all these wagons pulled by old nags and if your horse started acting up, you could just point at a beaten-down old mule and say, You want to end up like that? Because I’ll do it! You know what dog food is made out of? Huh?

Halters and bits. I live near a “leather” neighborhood, if you know what I mean. Ride through there and you’ve got to beat off all the guys with shaved heads and complete outfits, trying to get a better look at the saddle under my butt.

Horse racing. Can you make a buck by racing your horse? I’ve taken Nelly down to the high-school parking lot a number of times. You find some kid proud of his car and make a bet with him on a race between his car and your horse. The trick is to get him to let you hold all the money because you’re an adult, and then when the race starts and he roars off down the road, you take Nelly across the park where he can’t follow.

Top 5 Movies that Include a Dead Horse

No movies that feature dog food are included. Let’s try to class up this post. For the same reason, nothing about those unfortunate, occasional accidents at the stud farm. And no mention of Catherine the Great.

Don’t miss the Top Chef Canada episode on cooking with horse meat.

5. Phar Lap (1983) or Seabiscuit (2003) – I don’t specifically remember the death scenes, but I know that there must be a real tear-jerker in the horse-race genre somewhere. If not in the two mentioned, then in National Velvet (1944) or Black Beauty (1946) or that movie about the kid and the big black horse on an island. Or in Bite the Bullet (1975) or that horse-race-across-the-Sahara entry, the name of which I forget. Sometimes the horse is just plain old plot fodder (and paid in fodder, too). It’s an outrage.

4. Blood Creek (2009) – Fassbender sends the red-eyed zombie horses into the farmhouse kitchen. They’re already dead, so they count for this list, no matter what happens to them next.

3. How many movies have featured the desperate flight to freedom or other such fraught journey, during which the lathered-up and much overworked faithful horse finally drops in its tracks, sometimes to be eulogized in a pithy sentence or two, sometimes to be consumed for dinner? True Grit (2020). Duel at Diablo (1966). Gone with the Wind (1939), of course. There is also the case where the rider must open the horse and crawl inside to keep warm during the prairie blizzard, but I have those over in the “Camping Out” list.

2. Temple Grandin (2010) – It’s mostly the cows and pigs that get it in this one, but I do believe that there is some horse grief as well.

1. The Godfather (1972) – It’s only the head, but I think that’s enough.