The Horse Dictator

Garrett Horse 1I have a story to share. Before I do, you should be warned. This story does not make me look like a good person. I was an asshole. I used my own child’s misery to get what I wanted. And, there is some mild animal endangerment in this story. Well…more like “Equine Mockery.” (I may have hurt the horse’s feelings, but that was about the extent of it.) Allow me to explain…

On Sunday, I took Garrett to a pumpkin farm. We arrived at 4:45, but I knew that the farm closed at 6pm. For a little more than an hour, Garrett ran around and played on the pumpkins, hid in the maze, climbed on the tractor, and bounced in the bounce house. Finally, at 5:45pm I convinced him to come and look for a pumpkin with me. Covered in sweat, dust, and some boogers, Garrett happily agreed to leave the play area with me.

As we made our way to the back of the farm, I noticed that they were giving pony rides. I asked Garett if he wanted to ride to pony and excitedly he said, “YES!!” So, we got in line and waited…and waited…and waited.

While standing in line, I noticed that the people around us had yellow tickets. I asked the family behind me what the ticket was for and was informed that we needed to buy a ticket in order to ride the pony. So, I knelt down and explained to Garrett that we needed to go back to the front of the farm to get a ticket for the pony. He put his hand in mine and together we went to get the ticket.

When we reached the ticket booth, I told the woman who was tending the booth that we would need one ticket. She replied, “No more horse rides.”

As I held Garrett’s hand, I asked again. “It’s only 5:59pm. Would it be possible to get one ticket for my son to ride the pony?” And again (without apology) she told me, “No. The pony rides are closed.” (Off in the distance, you can see that the ponies were still going around and around.)

I decided to take a different approach with The Horse Dictator. “Please make an exception. We’re only here once a year and my son has been looking forward to this.” Once again, she said, “No.”

Garrett was about to become the best wing-man of all time and didn’t realize it. As soon as he realized that she was not going to let him ride the pony, he began the “pre-cry whimper.” I could see the tears welling up in his eyes and I knew she saw it too. But, I also recognized that she was not going to be motivated into action by tears alone. With Garrett about to cry, I leaned in to the woman and deepened my voice. “Look. We’ve been standing in that line for 10 minutes. (True) There are no signs explaining that we’d need a ticket to ride the pony. (True) And when we did finally get to the front of the line to get on the horse, we were told to come here and get a ticket. (Not true.)” And I finished with, “….had we known all that, my son would be on the horse right now and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. (Technically, true)” Clearly, she understood that my tone had changed.

With a huff, she said, “Fine. I’ll ask if your son can ride.” And with that, she stormed off towards the horse area. I grabbed Garrett by the hand and followed her. When we got back to the horses, I saw The Horse Dictator speak with the young man running the ride. All I heard him say was, “Well…the horses are tired.”

I wasted no time and injected my thoughts into the conversation. With attitude and sarcasm, I responded, “What do you mean ‘the horses are tired?’ They’re horses! Do you know what they call ‘tired horses’ in other countries? FOOD!” (Yes, I really said it.)

The Horse Dictator whipped her head around and glared at me. The man running the pony ride actually chuckled and gave in. “Ok, come on. Your son can be on the last ride.” I thought The Horse Dictator’s head was going to explode.

Begrudgingly, she walked over to me and said, “That will be 6 dollars.” I had 6 singles on me. But, I’m a dick and I didn’t take kindly to her attitude. Instead, I handed her a 20 dollar bill and told her I wanted a shirt as well, plus my change. I did that knowing full well that she’d have to walk all the way back to the front of the farm to get the shirt and the change and then walk all the way back to find me.

So, as far as I’m concerned, this story has a happy ending. My son got to ride a horse named “Brownie”….and I got to torture The Horse Dictator.

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