New evidence, published today, has finally proved beyond doubt that the legendary animal known by story-tellers down the centuries as a ‘horse’ does not really exist. The study, carried out at the University of Graham, looked into over fifty unexplained sightings of the mythical beasts over a period of six months. In one instance, academics led by Dr Jake Reilly, spent over twenty minutes in the south eastern corner of a Cumbrian field that had been subject of a number of unsubstantiated ‘horse’ sightings. Not a single horse was seen. Claims that the horses had simply moved to another part of the field have been ridiculed by the doctor. He also dismissed the animals seen cantering majestically through the mist in the far corner of the field as being ‘probably cows, ghosts, or maybe leopards’.
The claims have been met with anger and disbelief by members of the equestrian community. Sandra Hatton of Redruth claims to have owned horses for over forty years, saying ‘I have fed, watered and ridden horses every day for as long as I can remember. I think I would notice if they didn’t exist’. Other people previously claiming to be ‘horse’ owners have been more circumspect. Upon hearing the scientific proof, Mr Colin Lehman, a horse enthusiast from Cardiff, inspected his prize winning ‘steeds’, only to be forced to admit that they must just be big dogs with unusually long noses and a taste for grass and sugar lumps. He told this reporter that, although he felt cheated by the dealer that sold him these horse-dogs, the animals had become part of his family, though he would stop riding them and try to train them fetch sticks instead.
Horses have remained at the forefront of popular culture in recent years, a rise that is attributed by many to the runaway success of fantasy films such as Black Beauty, The Horse Whisperer and Peter the Horse that Runs Around. However, scientists believe that because many people are increasingly unable to differentiate between make believe and real life, horses became widely accepted as being real animals. Speaking at an emotionally charged press conference, Dr Reilly said ‘I understand that these findings will cause distress and anger for many people who believe they have seen horses, or claim to have owned, bet on and stroked what they thought were horses in good faith. However, I stand by the conclusions of this scientific study. If anyone can provide me with irrefutable proof of the existence of horses then I will eat my own face.’
The case has clear parallels with a spate of fraudulent pet sales in 2003. Following the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy there were over thirty reported cases of people having been sold strategically shaven monkeys, believing that they were hobbits. Hobbits are in fact now extinct in the wild and can only be kept in captivity under strict licensing rules.
25th April 2008