Horse Play

The NEW Tennessee Walking Horse—for Laidback Lifestyles

In 1885, the first Tennessee Walking Horse was bred—for what purpose, people no longer remember. The animal required extensive training and upkeep, and it possessed only one sales point: the ability to walk more slowly than the most decrepit human being.

Historians have speculated that the Tennessee Walking Horse was envisioned as a rural strolling companion. It’s well-known that in the years before the breed was developed, owners would tie a leash around their horse’s neck and promenade around the neighborhood. Exhausted from running, jumping, and cantering alongside their animals, these owners created the Tennessee Walking Horse.

These excellent creatures have now graced us with their presence for more than a century. Unfortunately, though, with the ascent of the SUV, suburban sprawl, video games, and other modern conveniences, the evening stroll has become a relic of yesteryear. With an ever-imploding range of human interests in mind, we now suggest a few Third Millennium updates to the Tennessee Walking Horse:

The Tennessee Just A-Kickin’ A Can Horse

For those who abhor vigorous exercise—and isn’t that all of us, folks?—the Tennessee Just A-Kickin’ A Can Horse offers perfect inspiration/enablement. A distant cousin of the Tennessee Just A-Leanin’ Against a Building and A-Spittin’ on the Sidewalk Horse, this fine breed noodles along, noodles along, noodles slowly along, taking their slow, sweet time when going about “their business.”

Tennessee Just A-Kickin’ A Can Horses have a genetically altered “air” about them—that air composed mainly of ether or possibly nitrous oxide. Don’t risk a strained tendon or pulled muscle. Slow down and take it easy with a Tennessee Just A-Kickin’ A Can Horse.

The Tennessee Lounging Around in a Polyester Gym Suit Horse


For those attuned to disco-era nostalgia—or for that little bit of early-to-mid-1970s Elvis in us all—we offer the Tennessee Lounging Around in a Polyester Gym Suit Horse. Equally adept at eating potato chips and throwing the emptied bags on the floor, the placid Tennessee Lounging Around in a Polyester Gym Suit Horse will happily allow you to select the afternoon’s reruns.

The Tennessee Lounging Around in a Polyester Gym Suit Horse features a flexible aluminum foil tail, which can serve as a TV dinner protector or as a television antenna in rural areas. Comes complete with fleece-lined yellow chickie slippers and universal remote.

The Tennessee Utterly Inert Horse


Developed from the same strain, or overstrain, as the Tennessee Lounging Around in a Polyester Gym Suit Horse, the Tennessee Utterly Inert Horse is the perfect companion for the very, very, very, very inactive. The Tennessee Utterly Inert Horse serves as an excellent and unique doorstop, throw-cushion, or large piece of bric-a-brac. (Second-story hoist optional.)

The Tennessee 2016 Virtual Horse™

Not an actual horse but a hyper-realistic hologram, the Tennessee 2016 Virtual Horse surfs the Internet, sparing owners the misery of Carpal Hoof Syndrome. This cyber-equine tracks sports standings, television program updates, and international hay and feed markets. The Tennessee 2016 Virtual Horse is stored on a very slow “flash drive” and is bundled with an anti-static wristband and the VirtualTrough™ Virtual Hay Intake software. The Tennessee 2016 Virtual Horse is a perfect addition to any terminally laidback modern household, allowing users to do away with all real-life animal care requirements, not to mention self-respect or reasonable expectations of any kind.

About the Author

Chris Sumberg has had short stories, humor pieces, and essays published in Bitter Empire, Urbanite, Broad Street Review, Chronogram, The Partially Examined Life, and other magazines and journals.