It began with the three of us traveling to Gettysburg. Who made up the three: The Lone Ranger, Tonto and Silver? Not quite. Instead, in this story the leading characters were my husband, our son and I. Our son would be studying the Civil War at school soon, and the trip would be educational as well as scenic and relaxing.
We hit the road for the two hour car trip to Gettysburg, took a short break for a quick lunch and geared up to recreate Pickett’s Charge.
The audio guides were quite graphic and did everything they could to make the scene come alive with war-like noises and sounds. Shouts of men, neighing of horses, and cacophonies of guns blasting came through our earphones louder and as tonelessly as Hip Hop. With a little imagination you could see the battle scene playing out.
After the emotional experience of war we wanted to see a different part of life in Gettysburg. The part dealing with peace. A sign pointing to a miniature horse farm was exactly what we needed.
“Let’s go there and see some tiny horses,” we said. So we turned off the road, bumping and jostling along the dirt path to the farm.
A small corral enclosing a group of small unsaddled creatures stood before our eyes. The animals resembled ponies, but they were full grown real horses.
Miniature horses are perfectly proportioned to a standard sized horse and retain all the characteristics of horses. That’s what we were told. What does it mean? I have no idea, but they were very appealing. If I were viewing an equine police line up, trying to pick out the miniature horse from the pony, probably the wrong creature would be charged, tried and convicted.
In this discussion of differences did I happen to mention anything about poor impulse control or that we decided to buy a horse?
We did not live on a farm. We did not own a large piece of land. We did not own a barn. We knew nothing about raising horses, ponies or venture capital.
We arranged to have our new miniature horse delivered to our house in a horse trailer. Our house was in a residential area with all of 1/4 acre of land. The tool shed would become the animal’s stable. Out with the rakes, shovels and plant fertilizers, in with the hay and saddle and tack equipment. And hoof pick, water bucket, and curry brush.
The children were as excited as they would be meeting Justin Bieber!
A young woman who worked at a nearby horse farm agreed to give the children riding lessons. Our property abutted a private elementary school with a creek separating our property from the school’s playing field.
With the addition of a narrow plank bridge the width of a miniature horse and three miniature people, access to the field was easy.
Did our town’s residential property laws permit ownership of a horse? I never noticed anybody else in our neighborhood housing a horse. Were we permitted to ride a horse on the private property of a school? I never thought to ask.
At the beginning it was fun having the little horse, Sandy, living with us. He was gentle, friendly, and patient. The children took turns feeding him, bringing fresh water for him and mucking out the stable. At the beginning.
As children are known to do, they grew at a startling rate and after a few months of riding blissfully around the field, feeling like cowboys, they suddenly became too tall to ride Sandy. In child’s logic, “Why take care of an animal if you can’t have fun with him any more?”
So back to the horse farm went our miniature horse, and our great adventure with living the equine life in suburbia. I never found out if we should have been prosecuted for laws of inappropriate occupancy. I can tell this story now that the Statute of Limitations has expired.