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Local Not-Cowgirl Chooses Life without Almost-Horse

Tiny horse means tiny responsibility, right? Right??

I was in the midst of fixing breakfast for my children when I heard the news. Well, when I heard tantalizing bits of the news. You see, every morning I turn on National Public Radio in the kitchen, in hopes of becoming a fully informed citizen. And everyday, I almost achieve this goal, in between the demands of my two children and my three dogs.It works like this:

“In Pakistan today–”

“Mom! Where’s the syrup?”


“–amazing development in technology that will revolutionize–”

“Mom! Where’s the yogurt?”

“Mama! I spilled syrup on the dog!”

During this frenzy I heard about the world’s smallest horse. Her name is Thumbelina, and she is only 17 inches high. Or rather, I thought I heard “17 inches high.” Sure enough, I found a website about this squat-legged, big-headed equine who is only slightly taller than my Chihuahua (when she does not have a decorative throw pillow syruped to her back). Thumbelina is a dwarf chestnut mare weighing in at 57 pounds, and she is about to go on tour to raise money for children’s charities.

Why, in lieu of all the really important news, did my ears latch onto this tiny tale? No doubt it has to do with my recent transformation into a wannabe cowgirl.

Until today, I wasn’t fully aware of my most recent transformation. Sure, I knew my past tendency to become absorbed into research projects. Take, for example, my Nineteenth Century England phase, where I planted lots of heather in our yard and took to baking scones. Doesn’t everyone have a framed picture of the lineage of the British Monarchy in their guest room? They don’t? Oh.

Recently I have been reading about the history of Central California, and my imagination has been full of dusty saloons and gold miners and aspiring farmers digging irrigation ditches. But I honestly hadn’t realized how it was affecting me. OK, so I’ve taken to frequenting our local authentic horse supply store. And, yes, I did purchase a pair of real cowgirl boots. None of that tassel and rhinestone stuff either, but actual leather, with the boot tips pointed so that they simply slide into, um, those shoe holder thingies on the saddle.

Not that I have a saddle.

Or a horse.

But this morning, I honestly thought about remedying that situation. I mean, if your standard miniature horse is less that 40 inches high at the hinders or the widdershins or whatever it is, then we could probably fit one in the yard. And this Thumbelina horse gets along well with dogs, and even lives in an Igloo doghouse. Gosh! Hadn’t I always wanted a pony when I was little? And am I not a grown up now who can make my own decisions and get a darned pony if I want one? Huh? And I could put on my real, authentic, pointy-toed cowgirl boots and “mosey” outside to play with it! Maybe while chewing on a piece of straw! Dangnabit!

It was at this point that I had my epiphany. I was under the research influence again. After all, miniature horses are a full-size responsibility. It’s not as if, when I go on to the next research project, I can shove the horse in the attic next to the deluxe 3-volume set of Cooking for the Queen.

So in spite of my not knowing the events of the world today, I at least feel confident in my knowledge of the events in my own head. And that’s probably of equal importance.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go de-syrup the sofa.


Angela Dove is a horseless writer living in the Smoky Mountains. For book information visit



Award-winning humor columnist and author of the true crime memoir _No Room for Doubt: A True Story of the Reverberations of Murder_ (Penguin Group, 2009). Inspirational speaker on issues of survivors' rights, women's issues, and general you-can-do-it-ness. Marketing consultant.

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