How Many Horses Do You Have?

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"How many horses do you have?" I get asked that question a lot. (Do you?) It usually comes up at "civilian" social gatherings, where people are trying their best to make polite conversation and have gotten past the standard "what do you do?" line of questioning.

It may seem odd, but I never know the answer right off the top of my head. Horses are always coming and going around here, so the number goes up and down and back up again, several times a year. I had to stop and count fingers just now: There's Tank, Gussie, her new filly Tiffany, Chanel, Riley, plus Beau, the boarded horse. So, six. But just a few weeks ago, we also had Carson (sold) and Najah (deceased). And before that, we also had Nelson (sold), Starla (sold), Trouble (given to our farrier's three little boys, in an eruption of "pay it forward" good will), Ace (deceased), Jack (boarder horse who moved away) numerous other ex-residents. Now you know why I never bother to put name plaques on the stall doors.

I never get tired of learning what makes each horse unique, nor of seeing my horsemanship improve as a result of the variety. I'm like Velvet Brown the girl in "National Velvet" who had paper-doll horses in every size and color--except that my ever-evolving collection eats, and won't quite fit in a shoebox.