Horse Math: The Case for the Minimum

Photo courtesy of Laura Harris.

At home, one cannot simply have one horse. All horse people know this. Just like horses are mysteriously ingrained in our DNA, so is the longing for more horses. We crave more, nay, we need more horses for a reason. It is documented fact that one horse is just impossible. In fact, Horse Math© clearly dictates you need at least 4. FOUR?!? Your spouse indignantly responds. Yes, 4. AT LEAST. Let me explain.

One horse in a pasture is just summoning trouble. Horses are herd animals and are meant to be in a group, they need another horse to help them feel secure. One horse in a pasture can hurt himself in any number of ways. Jumping out and colic readily come to mind. The vet bill is the pièce de résistance in this argument. A lone horse is sad horse. (Or a jerk, but that isn’t the point.) A lonely, sad, stressed horse is going to rack up a vet bill that will put said vet’s Yorkie through college. Twice. Long story, and long vet bill, made short: horses are not meant to be all by their onesie.

Even a buddy in the next field is something. Everyone needs friends. Donkeys, mules, and goats are all excellent companions. However, sometimes one really just wants a friend who understands. You know, another horse. It just isn’t quite the same explaining to the donkey how you got in deep at the last table and galloped home clear. The goat just wants to eat French pastries, and the chickens just want to talk Nietzsche. Pretentious…

So you get another horse. Two is better than one! Onesie has a friend, he is forming a herd. Look how we don’t need the vet to come oil him every month. Aren’t they so cute together? They go everywhere together, drink together, roll together, ignore your attempts to catch them together. Oh, how they sing to each other while you are tacking up, that is … lovely. Two is so much better—it makes sense. All is right in the world. You could even take go on a trail ride with someone! You have a built-in extra, an auxiliary horse as it were. But wait! What happens when you travel out to a show or lesson, you are leaving Twoey all alone. See above about one horse.

So you get a third horse, so no one is ever left home alone. Phew, disaster averted. Except … you know you are going to school cross country and you’re taking Twoey for your friend since you have an extra horse, or taking the husband horse out for a trail. You have three horses, you will inevitably be called upon at some point by a horseless friend. Besides, you don’t have a one horse trailer, you have a 2h. Do the math. That leaves Trey all alone. See above about one horse.

Finally, you have four horses. No one is ever alone at home, on the road, in the house, wherever! No one is ever alone again. If one horse goes out, there are at least 2 at home, if 2 go out, there are still two at home. It is all the horse logic in the world. You CANNOT have one horse. It is a law against horse nature. You cannot have one horse, so you need 4. Get it?

See. Not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 horses is the minimum needed to have one horse. I know what you’re thinking, I can get away with 3 horses. Perhaps you even think you’ll just get a donkey. Donkey doesn’t care if she’s left alone. But, c’mon, how silly is that? The donkey is your security guard, she’ll keep the coyotes away, but you really need another horse for companionship. Or 3. It makes all the sense in the world when you look at from Horse Logic standpoint. And depending how highly skilled you are in Horse Logic, the need for a 4 horse gooseneck will be your next discussion with your checkbook.