Best of HN: Here’s How to Actually Make a Unicorn Frappe

Unicorns are having a moment.

Seriously, every time you turn around, there’s some dewy-eyed glitter-pooping rainbow-shaded magical horselike creature with a horn on its forehead prancing around, whether it’s on the hipster kids’ ironic tee shirts or cute Pinterest dessert ideas or car decals. Anything that shimmers, comes in rainbow print with glitter or shifts metallic colors with the light is deemed to be “unicorn.”

I actually fielded my first request to attend a toddler’s birthday party with a horse in tow so he could have a horn glued to his head and be the resident unicorn. (We politely declined, with visions of the horse mowing down a group of small children before crashing through the cake table replaying over and over again in my head, my fear manifested in breathy, hysterical laughter over the phone. Horse owners, ye be warned.)

The latest buy-in on this unicorn trend, of course, is global hipster trendsetter Starbucks, famous for its expensive coffees (ironic, isn’t it, because no one requires coffee like horse people and no one has less expendable income on luxuries like fancy coffee like horse people). The luridly-hued “Unicorn Frappe” hit participating locations near you on Wednesday, and will be available through the 23rd.

Apparently it changes color, or something, and flavor, or something. Because #unicorns, or something.

But Starbucks, we in the horse world have seen unicorns. We’ve met unicorns. Perhaps we’re even lucky enough to own a unicorn. And we’re here to tell you, and the rest of the unicorn-loving hipster world who have appropriated our favorite mythical creature, that you guys have got it all wrong.

Our unicorns come in many shapes and sizes, any breed or color or height or age or level of beauty. Our unicorns might not have come with a very big price tag — if any price tag — but they are worth their weight in gold. Our unicorns have taught our newest lifelong equestrians how to ride; they’ve helped us recover our confidence after a bad fall. They do not have horns, but the biggest hearts.

The term “unicorn” is also used in the horse world to describe the world’s fanciest-moving 3′ packer with plenty of chrome, auto-changes and show experience, and costs $5,000, but we’re not talking about that kind of unicorn.

We’re talking about the everyday unicorns, the creatures that possess all the magical qualities you could desire in an animal, a creature of fantasy that every day we convince ourselves is just a lucky dream until we’re holding them in our arms, breathing in that sweet dusty smell, wrapping mane around our fingers, realizing all in one moment that unicorns are very much real and walk among us.

The author’s unicorn. Photo by Kristen Kovatch.

There is no glitter. There is dust, and manure, and plenty of muddy messes. There are no rainbows, but there is plenty of hard work and sweat. Unicorns come in ordinary colors, like bay and chestnut and sometimes, yes, an almost-iridescent gray that might glisten like polished pearl in certain lights — before they roll in the pasture and undo all of your hard work. Their magic is in the everyday moments, the soft touch of a muzzle or the gentle cadence of a balanced walk.

So, Starbucks, here’s a better recipe for a unicorn frappe:

  • One pound of patience — it goes a long way
  • A pinch or two of spirit, to rider’s taste
  • Four gently-rocking gaits, until you feel like you can fly
  • A velvety-soft muzzle that fits just right into your cupped hands for treats
  • Two ounces of stubbornness for a challenge
  • One shoulder to cry on
  • A dash of loose horse hair and dust, sprinkled over top

Blend well and serve in whatever receptacle seems appropriate — the 17-hand hunter, the 14-hand cow pony, the height-doesn’t-matter-nor-does-coat-color old school master. That’s how you make a unicorn.

Go hug your unicorns, and go riding.

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