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Horse Anecdotes

Question: What do you call a pony with a sore throat?

Answer: A little hoarse.

Ardennes horse. Section
Ardennes horse

At a high-school dance the US novelist and journalist Gene Fowler (1890-1960) sat next to a ravishing young girl who began to make a play for him. Young Fowler sat silent under her flattery. At last she offered him a penny for his thoughts.

"I was just wondering," came the reply, "whether a horse's legs ever go to sleep on him."

"Now be sure," the farmer's wife cautioned the druggist, "to label those bottles plainly; which one is for the horse, and which one is for my husband. I don't want anything to happen to that horse before Spring plowing!"

The French sculptor and painter Edgar Degas (1834-1917) attended an auction at which one of his pictures was sold for an enormous sum. Asked what it felt like to witness such a transaction, Degas replied,

"I feel as a horse must feel when the beautiful cup is given to the jockey."

The ballet dancer Robert Helpmann had been invited to take tea with the eccentric Lord Berners (1883-1950) Helpmann was shown into the drawing room of the peer's mansion near Oxford and found him with an elegant silver tea service and a horse. Lord Berners greeted Helpmann, asked whether he took cream and sugar, and fed buttered scones to the horse. No explanation was offered, and after the animal had been told it had eaten enough, it was led out through the french windows. Much later, Helpmann asked about the horse's presence.

"I'm very nervous," Lord Berners explained. "When people see the horse, they become as nervous as I am, so that after a while I get over it. Then we can have a normal conversation."

William Bowles's (1762-1850) usual daily ride took him along a road through a turnpike gate at which he had to pay twopence to the tollkeeper to allow his horse through. One day he passed that way on foot and tendered the twopence as usual.

The gatekeeper, puzzled, asked: "What's this for, sir?"

"For my horse, of course!"

"But, sir, you have no horse!"

"Oh, am I walking?" exclaimed Bowles.

King Oswin, ruler of the former British province of Deira and a friend of the holy Aidan's (d. 651), gave that bishop a fine horse. Soon afterward Bishop Aidan met a beggar who asked him for alms; he at once dismounted and gave the horse, with all its costly trappings, to the poor man. When this charitable deed came to the king's ears, he taxed Aidan:

"Why did you give away the horse that we specially chose for your personal use when we knew that you had need of one for your journeys? We have many less valuable horses that would have been suitable for beggars."

Replied Aidan, "Is this foal of a mare more valuable to you than a child of God?" The king pondered, then, suddenly casting his sword aside, knelt at Aidan's feet and begged his forgiveness. Aidan, greatly moved, begged the king to go to his dinner and be merry. As Aidan watched the king go, he became very melancholy. When the bishop's chaplain asked why, Aidan replied,

"I know that the king will not live long, for I have never seen a king so humble as he is. He will be taken from us as the country is not worthy to have such a king."

This foreboding was proved correct: King Oswin was treacherously killed by his northern neighbor, King Oswy.

The American comedian Jack Benny's wife, Mary, was very fond of expensive jewelry. In 1963, she was held up in her New York hotel suite and robbed of her most treasured piece, a magnificent diamond ring. Benny, in Pittsburgh at the time, learned of the robbery from a reporter. He called Mary several times, only to be told on each occasion that she was out. When he finally got through, his first question was: "Where on earth have you been?"

"At the jeweler's," she replied, "looking for another ring."

"What! At a time like this you're out shopping for a diamond?"

"Sure. It's like when you fall off a horse. If you don't get right back on, you never ride again."

Horse anecdotes, horse jokes, Literature  

Elwyn, Edward Hartley, ed. Encyclopedia of the Horse. New York: Crescent Books, (1st printing:) 1977.

Fadiman, Clifton, ed. The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes. London: Little, Brown and Company, 1985.

Fuller, Edmund. 2500 Anecdotes for All Occasions. Avernel, NJ: Wing Books / Random House, 1990.

Gilbey, Sir Walter. Horses Past and Present. London: Vinton, 1900.

McDonnell, Sue. Understanding Horse Behavior: Your Guide to Horse Health Care and Management. Lexington, KY: The Blood-Horse, 1999.

Tremayne, Harold. The ABC of the Horse: How to Buy, How to Tell Age, Managment, Fraudulent Practices, Ailments, Treatment, etc., etc. London: Henry J. Drane, 1900.

Waring, George H. Horse Behavior. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications / William Andrew Publishing, 2003.

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