The Horse Report

First we, the owners, managers and employees of the town livery stables would like to make one thing perfectly clear: Serious mistakes were made. As the residents may know, we have been implementing the latest in equine monitoring and containment technologies for some time. After careful testing and evaluation, we felt that these technologies had eliminated many old fashioned and tiresome equine containment methods and protocols. It seemed that we had gotten beyond the need to tie horses in their stalls or bother with other trivial tasks, the shutting of stable doors for example.

It is indeed true that, at the time of the unfortunate incidents - which we regret more deeply than you do, rest assured - we were all gathered at the local saloon enjoying a few celebratory drinks and congratulating ourselves on our modernization of the stables. Think of it as a sort of performance bonus.

No one could have foreseen that the town's horses would now be spread over the better part of six counties. We, the undoubted experts in the matter of equine care and management, certainly did not.

And, as professional horse keepers, we feel that nothing is to be gained by recriminations. Rather we would like to propose a plan for reform and recovery.

First it is important to insure that the town will have livery stables in the future. To accomplish this we prepared to accept large donations from the town government and citizens. Some of this money will be used to repay certain of our larger commercial clients who have suffered a substantial loss of stock and now suggest that they might want to discuss the matter in court. The rest will be used to cover necessary expenses, including retention bonuses to keep our best employees, payments of profits to our owners and morale building, off site events. In addition we will finance research to devise improvements in the equine containment strategies that so mysteriously failed.

It is of course impossible to finance this out of income because, following the sudden dispersion of the town's horses, we have no income to speak of.

In addition we would like to see the appointment of a blue ribbon commission which, after suitable deliberation, could recommend reforms in livery stable practice and governance which might prevent unfortunate incidents of this sort in the future.

There are some rash individuals in the town who are advocating other actions. We do not think that these will be fruitful. A general search of the six counties for the missing horses may produce some results but it will not restore the town to its full complement. It is true that wild horses might be captured to make up the difference. We feel that the time and money spent on these projects will draw valuable resources away from our efforts to restore the foundation of 19th century transportation, the livery stable industry.

Of course we also reject out of hand the idea that people in the industry, who have worked so long and hard to benefit the town, should be made to ride out after the missing horses or to pay for the efforts of those who do ride out. This would surely drive us out of business, leaving the town without a valuable service.

We also feel that tar and feathers would be counterproductive.


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