Especially in the performance horse world, many horse owners have occasionally placed the blame on their horse--deservedly so or not--for an inadvertent mishap that maybe caused a few lost points, or possibly even a blue ribbon. But I'm pretty certain that not many horse owners would blame their horse for running a red light.
Here's the story, according to The Mirror: Over the weekend, a gypsy in South Yorks, England, was stopped by police after the carriage he was driving turned the wrong way down a one-way street before running a red light. When asked why the rig disregarded the red light, the driver, John Mulvenna, told police it was because his horse, Fred, was colorblind and, presumably didn't realize the light was red and not green.
Has your horse ever run a red light? Didn't think so.
As you can probably imagine, the police didn't buy Mulvenna's story ... especially after they smelled alcohol on his breath. Mulvenna was handed a 12-month conditional discharge for being drunk and in control of a horse and carriage.
By the way, the article included a statement from a representative from the British Equine Veterinary Association in Fred's defense: "Horses are not colorblind, but may be less able to distinguish colors than humans."
This news story took me back to a blog post that Photo/Newsletter Editor and fellow author of this blog Megan Arszman and I co-wrote earlier this year about a commercial that aired in Montana playfully suggesting a horse might be a designated driver in the event a horse owner finds himself too intoxicated to drive (if you missed the discussion, I'd encourage you to take a read and express your opinions!).
After reading the current news article, I'm sticking to my side of the discussion and encouraging people to rely on their two legged friends to be the designated driver because, as we've just learned, horses probably have a harder time differentiating red lights from green lights. And, come to think of it, horses probably have a harder time reading street signs like one-way signs, speed limit signs, and stop signs. I'm just sayin'.
All that being said, it did make me smile just a bit when I read the excuse Mulvenna had concocted when asked for an answer to his mistakes. Would I have thought of my horse being colorblind? Probably (read: definitely) not. More so, the excuse made me think of a time in my childhood that I gave my mother the excuse that I just wanted to go into a riding stable to see what went on there. Not thinking I had any ulterior motives brewing in my then-5-year-old brain, my mother agreed. Rumor has it that I promptly walked up to the lady in charge of the barn and asked to be signed up for riding lessons. My mother, laughing at my antics, signed me up for lessons that day.
So that begs the question: What's your best horse-related excuse? Or maybe it's an excuse your horse gave you (come on now ... most horse owners understand exactly what their horses are telling them through facial expressions and actions!)? Let us know!