Anyone afflicted with the gene knows exactly what I am talking about. Those without haven’t a clue. They can’t even begin to understand why those who have this mysterious distraction act the way they do. Here are a few universally acknowledged signs that indicate an activated horse gene. Signs usually present during early to mid-childhood:
- Complete obsession with equines--crazed by horses, ponies (even donkeys, mules and zebras serve in a pinch)
- Reading every book in the library about horses (or internet)
- Decorating one’s childhood bedroom with magazine photos or hand-drawings, leaving little room for anything else
- Creating detailed holiday lists with specific instructions about which model horse is required for an already huge collection
- Pretending to be a horse (especially when out of town guests arrive) or having an imaginary stable outside and training horses over jumps constructed out of items pulled from the garage or the neighbor’s yard
You get the idea. Sounds like an undiagnosed mental disorder, doesn’t it?
I can’t tell you how often as a kid I was asked, “Why do you love horses so much?” Only a non-horse person would bother to ask such a question, and a grown-up at that. The funny thing is, I never could ever adequately answer the question. “I just do; I don’t know why,” was my reply. I was a pretty shy kid, so being asked to articulate an answer was painful enough, let alone trying to explain it. What a silly question anyway—why isn’t everyone enamored with these beautiful creatures? You have to ask?
Testing for the Horse Gene
Here is a simple test. If you have a daughter or niece or know a little girl under the age of ten, try this simple test. (Yes, it works with boys, too, but girls seem to be particularly susceptible, not sure why).
- Procure a model horse, preferably a Breyers or other very realistic model. Forget the cartoony baby toys—go for realism.
- Present model to small girl, when least expected
- Observe the reaction—you will know instantly by the look of utter amazement and surprise
- If she does not exhibit said reaction, she may not carry the horse gene. If she does, then be ready to suffer the consequences— from your non-horsey family member or friend or colleague who will then curse you to the end of your days. Because once the gene has been activated, there is no turning it off. It may lie dormant for periods or time, but it is never eradicated.