Horses abound in Portland, Oregon. Tiny, plastic horses secured to obsolete horse ties in the sidewalks. They stir up memories for Tamara Lischka, who has a camera and an inordinate number of stories about horses.
Rumor among the not-so-nice-girls at Girl Scout Camp was that one particular horse was the mean one. Guess who got assigned to that horse? Horses don’t much care for terrified riders. I learned this from the camp counselor who caught up with and slowed down my horse. “They can smell fear,” she said. For years, I wondered what fear smelled like.
A close friend of mine in college had her horse brought from L.A. to Portland and stabled near town. She worked a shitty diner job after school just to manage the horse’s lodging and upkeep. Eventually she opted for the cheaper route and let him live in pasture, all the while deeply worried about the horse dying from colic. The horse died from colic.
On the last day of a horse-riding/camping trip, a man in the group got kicked by one of the horses. I can still picture him vividly in the back of a car waiting to get medical treatment, bloody as hell and flailing around in pain. I got back on the horse.
For being so large and dangerous (at least to the uninitiated), horses are awfully fragile. Eat too much grass, roll the wrong way, and they can die from a twisted intestine. They’re the animal version of that big, fearless detective who gets all choked up watching Little House on the Prairie.
I have an acquaintance who is deeply knowledgeable about horses. Years ago he met a woman in Griffiths Park on account of her spectacular horses. My acquaintance dated the splendid-horse owner for a period of time. One day he went over to her house and was surprised to find Keanu Reeves sitting on the floor in the kitchen playing with her (well, his) dog. Turns out the splendid-horse owner was Keanu Reeves’ sister. How surreal that must have been, to walk into your girlfriend’s house and find Neo just . . . there.
I could take or leave horses, but I have a fondness for donkeys. I told my husband I’d be willing to talk about having children, but only after I got a miniature donkey. For the record, I have two children, no miniature donkey, and an anniversary coming up.
Winnie The Pooh stories never did it for me. Except Eeyore. My heart really went out to Eeyore. He was always so very sad, and I wanted to comfort that tail-less, plush donkey. To profess a connection with Eeyore ought to be considered a warning sign of some sort. Parents, please pay attention to children who identify too strongly with Eeyore. At the very least, school your daughters about the dangers of dating depressive men in the hopes of fixing them. I can connect the dots from Eeyore to Alex, the drummer with the Oedipus complex and the eating disorder. God, he was sexy. A former college classmate was recently jailed for selling the sexual services of horses. To people. I didn’t know there was enough of a market for that to have a good business model. I don’t have any idea how to connect dots to horse-fucking, but I think I now know who put up those disturbing posters around campus.
I was the last of all my friends to realize that horse didn’t always mean four-legged animal. The drummer sure knew.