A Horse as a College Roommate?
Your college roommate can end up becoming one of the best friends you’ve ever had. But just as easily, they can intensify the hell in your already stressful life.
Perhaps they are messy. Or talk all the time. Or insist on blasting bass-heavy rap music in the room while you’re cramming for an organic chemistry exam.
And you have to live in uncomfortably close proximity to them — for an entire year.
Some of my equestrian friends have jokingly told me, “Sometimes, I wish my horse was my roommate.” Well, how about it?
There are definitely pros for the horse-human dorm arrangement:
n A necessary personal alarm clock. There’s little danger of you sleeping through a class.
Horses wake up really, really early. Immediately, they want breakfast. And they will make it known with several loud, insistent, high-pitched whinnies.
n Transportation. The trek from the Hinton James dorm on UNC’s south campus to the libraries and classroom buildings is almost a mile uphill and takes a good 20 minutes. Thirteen-and-a-half if you’re running late and attempt to emulate an Olympic speed walker.
Ride your horse to class instead. Easy, efficient, no waiting at bus stops. You’ll probably get a reputation and incite campus gossip — “OMG, did you hear about that crazy wahoo who gallops her horse to Econ 101 every day?!”
n Pity-party companion. Paper writing all-nighter, unfortunate test grade, feud with a friend — whatever the reason, it’s been a bad day.
Finally you stomp back into your dorm, fumble around your black hole of a backpack for your keys but can’t find them anywhere, you let out several exasperated expletives under your breath. You have no desire to care about other people’s days — you just want to vent.
If that’s the case, your horse roommate is the ideal go-to guy. He’ll listen respectfully, never interrupt, nod occasionally. He’ll placidly weather most changes of emotion. He won’t tell you that you’re dumb, or wrong, or crazy — silent encouragement is the name of his game.
Unfortunately, there are some cons.
n An unwelcome personal alarm clock. On that one day you don’t have an early class, or on a weekend morning when all you want is to erase the sleep deprivation you’ve accumulated throughout the week — put simply, you can’t.
Horses don’t sleep in. They wake up really, really early. Immediately, they want breakfast. And they will make it known with several loud, insistent, high-pitched whinnies.
n Sharing an approximately 10-foot by 10-foot space. Equine ground manners aren’t the most polished. And horses are large animals — he might accidentally invade your personal bubble and cause unanticipated chaos.
Don’t be surprised to see your freshly made bed become trampled sheets and flying pillows within a few minutes. Horses don’t have Facebook and Twitter to help them pass their downtime — they have to resort to other methods of entertainment.
n Maintenance. I have yet to meet a potty-trained horse. You’ll have to spread shavings over most of your floor and keep two or three pitchforks at hand to muck out the room on a regular basis.
Expect to go through a can of Febreze every day. And be prepared to lug the manure bucket down several flights of stairs and out to some remote location well off campus at least four or five times daily.
n Parking. Once you get to class, you’ll have to assume your horse will graze peacefully behind the building for the next 50 minutes. Bringing him into the classroom might not be a great impression to make on your distinguished university professor.
Guess I’ll have to nix the horse roommate idea, for now. But if living arrangements that could conveniently accommodate both horse and human became available, I’m game to give it a go.
Stay tuned for more on that front.
Contact Sarah Brown at email@example.com.
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