The ancient and vaguely shady art of horsetrading

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You’ve gotta love horse-trading.

Horses have been domesticated for about 5000 years and I suspect the first victim of a shonky deal was found about a day later.

His name is lost in the shadows of history but, without doubt, as soon as we had horses, we suddenly had horse traders.

A whole new career was born.

Darlings, I don’t doubt that many of you have been taken for a ride in one way or another at some time.

Of course, in this modern era, the whole process can be shrouded in respectability, with vet checks, X-rays, drug tests and so on.

The powers of modern science can be brought to bear on the age-old art.

However, when the circumstances arise, the dodgy horse-trader genetically encoded from our deep and distant past can easily come to the fore.

Let’s take the parasailing donkey. In mid-July, a donkey was strapped in a harness and cruelly sent parasailing over a Russian beach.

Anapka the parasailing donkey
Anapka the parasailing donkey.

Animal advocates were outraged and the British mass-circulation tabloid, The Sun, leapt in with the roubles and bought Anapka.

The newspaper reportedly forked out 70,000 roubles, or £1500, for the hapless 17-year-old donkey, which is many times the going rate.

What the heck. This donkey was international news!

Since then, the Russian-language tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda has claimed the real donkey is named Manya, and she remains with the Russian businessman Vasily Gorobets.

Gorobets was reported by The Guardian newspaper as saying: “I can’t believe they [The Sun] didn’t notice the trick. Manya’s with me and I’m guarding her closely. I wouldn’t give her away for anything.”

While Donkeygate is likely to roll on for a while yet, you have to admire the brazenness of this particular horse-trade.

Despite international condemnation, Mr Gorobets – if the report is to be believed – knew the rules of supply and demand and took The Sun for a ride.

As for Anapka, she’s residing in luxury stables in the Kremlin and is awaiting her trip to Britain, where she will no doubt be welcomed as a superstar. She’ll probably be staying mum over the whole parasailing thing.

Therein lies the beauty of horse-trading. You don’t have to a parasailing donkey superstar to be at the centre of a little trickery.

We came across a little account on hurriyetdailynews.com about the rubbish collection service in the southeastern Turkish province of Mardin.

The municipality runs a fleet of 44 donkeys in its rubbish collection division, the animals proving ideal for navigating the 500 or so streets in Mardin’s centre which are too narrow for motorised traffic.

The provincial fathers have decided to replace 10 of the older donkeys for younger, fitter male donkeys aged two to three years.

Once this was known, prices for such indispensable beasts of burden rose nearly four-fold in the province, a local news agency, Dogan, reported.

Authorities are now looking further afield in the hope of finding cheaper donkeys.

Has anyone developed a horse-trading video game yet? Just think of the drama, deceit and intrigue that could go on!

Felicity Foxhunter

If you have something juicy or concerning to share, do drop me a line - felicity.foxhunter@gmail.com. Never fear, your secrets are safe with me.

2 thoughts on “The ancient and vaguely shady art of horsetrading

  • August 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm
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    Great idea you’re onto here but let’s take it further. How about a horse trading reality tv show? The viewing audience could be in on some things and not on others, watch buyers and sellers position themselves for the kill, and then the network has call in voting to see who got the upper hand, i.e. who was taking whom, buyer or seller? And as weeks go by, disgruntled buyers from previous weeks could come back, angry about the behavior problems and unsoundness issues that emerged in the horses they bought. It would be brilliant. Script development would be a breeze as we all have stories to tell!

    Reply
  • January 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm
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    well yes,having recently been the victim of a behaviorial problem with a horse,it truley would have made a great movie all the rubbish i was told,especially as the problem was because the horse didnt know me so therefore bucked like a bronc everytime youd attempt to get on the thing.I was very gullible and beleived what the previous owner said.However a huge leson learnt and never will i buy a horse unseen again.Sadly for the poor horse he was dog tuckered as I had enough of an honest streak not to pass the problem on to someone else.Id love to see a program that dealt with these cases,it may even make a few more honest sellers,dont you think

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