(Pennsylvania Uber Alles is a series of anecdote and facts depicting the voided hellscape that is Pennsylvania, the land of my birth)
We have spoken previously about the penchant of Pennsylvanians to abuse controlled substances, but what about its animals?
Out in the countryside where my mom lives, there is a little farm where kids with things like cerebral palsy or whose parents are in prison can go to ride horses. The place is a charity of some kind. A lot of the kids have never seen a horse up close before. A lot of them have spent years in institution after institution. The idea, I guess, is that riding a horse will make them feel better about their lives.
My mom does the vet work out there. She says before they let the kids play with the big horses, they start them off with this little, old mini-horse with a heart murmur. The thing is 20-years-old and the size of a dog, but it goes out bravely every day and faces these kids, lets them rub their hands through its mane, lets them feed it from their hands, lets them clumsily straddle its back and demand it “mush” before an adult pulls them away.
A couple days before the 4th of July, they brought in all these kids and their parents from a rehab center. There are a lot of people like that back home, as you know. This group, though, was too big for the small farm and things got out of hand. Kids ran rampant. Animals got spooked. The farmhands and social workers got distracted. In the confusion, one of the visitors (they haven’t any idea which, adult or child) it seems was able to slip the mini-horse some amphetamines. Probably Adderall. Maybe worse. Presumably, the horse thought it was corn.
Suddenly, the horse started freaking out. It sprinted through the barn and hurled itself against walls. It tried to gnaw off children’s hands. It took the whole staff to chase the horse down and chain it up in its stall. By the time my mom got there, the little horse had pulled on its chains so long and so hard that its skin had broken open. There was blood all over its fur, she said, and its eyes were the size of apples. It was shrieking in terror. It was trying to eat its chain. All night—from dusk till dawn—my mom had to douse the poor thing with tranquilizers just so the old horse’s heart wouldn’t burst. She says, she gave it enough sedatives to put a horse five times its size into a coma. The horse didn’t die, she says, but, as near as she could tell, it never closed its eyes once in 16 hours.
~Pennsylvania Uber Alles~