Wild Horses

Anyone who says beauty is only skin deep has never seen my pancreas.


He’s done it again, The Donald has. As best I can recall, the first thing he did right was killing the TPP. Now, hidden way down in the depths of his despicable budget is the remarkably reasonable proposal to sell wild horses without the requirement that the buyers guarantee (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) they won’t be resold for slaughter.

A little background here.

The genus Equus originated on this continent millions of years ago and eventually spread over the intermittent land bridge to Asia and Europe.  Then, about 12,000 years ago humans came this way across the land bridge and, not recognizing the horses’ potential as draft animals and pets, ate them all.  The Spanish conquistadores reintroduced the horse, and it became very popular, not least among the cowboys and Indians.

Naturally some escaped and became wild again, but since we’ve killed all the wolves and most of the mountain lions, they now have no predators and have reproduced to stress the carrying capacity of parts of the BLM-managed range.

And that’s a problem because they compete for forage with the cattle that the BLM lets the Bundys run on public rangeland for about a dollar an acre a year, so the ranchers want Something Done.  Since Americans get all warm and fuzzy about horses, we can’t just send in Apaches (no no, the helicopters) to gun them down.  So they’re rounded up and sold.

Ummm, except who wants a wild horse?  Well, our neighbors in Mexico and Canada will pay enough to make it worth shipping them.  Oh, but then propaganda groups like Wild Horse Education started wondering why our neighbors would be so kind as to provide loving homes for our excess horses, and it didn’t take them long to figure out that our uncivilized neighbors were eating all the pretty horses!  Thus the campaign to make the buyers declare that the horses wouldn’t be slaughtered.

Backing up a bit, when i lived in Germany i was horrified to discover that the French and Germans ate horses, and then when i started visiting the Netherlands noticed that horse meat was also sold in Dutch markets.  By then, my culinary curiosity had advanced to the point that i was willing to try eating it, but i kept putting this off because i knew it would be disgusting even though a Dutch confidant disclosed that the real connoisseurs like to eat it as carpaccio.  Finally, near the end of my last visit, i bought a fillet of horse and then let it sit around until a couple of days before my departure when i cooked it as a simple steak au poivre.  I sat there in front of it, steeling up my nerve because i knew i had to take a bite to get the bragging rights.  OK, OK, i thought, all i have to do is swallow one bite, and then i can say i’ve eaten a horse.

I cut off a small bite, lifted it to my trembling lips, stuck it in my mouth, bit down, and went into shock.

It wasn’t good.  No no, it was absolutely delicious.

Late Note:  Ten days after i posted this, the Atlantic came out with a splendid article.  Do click on that.

Meanwhile, since i don’t have a recent pic of a fine horse, here’s one of the flower and seed ball of a Tragopogon porrifolius growing in the field to my east.  (Identified by David Ogden and Sharon Goetz)

flower and seed ball

And backing away, here’s a shot showing some buds to help you identify this thing.



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  1. David Ogden
    Posted 1 June 2017 at 12:49 | Permalink

    Purple Salsify. Tragopogon porrifolius. Not a native. Sunflower family.

    • Posted 24 November 2017 at 07:28 | Permalink

      Thanks, David. I’ve updated the post to reflect your identification.

  2. Sharon
    Posted 2 June 2017 at 19:05 | Permalink

    Well, it’s an aster of some kind, halfway between a daisy and a dandelion/thistle…. Sadly, it’s not in US Wildflowers, but the photo there of yellow salsify seems enough like the photo here of purple salsify, yes?

    Thanks for posting about it—I’ve meant to look it up for several years and forgotten each time.

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