OPINION — Longtime readers may remember a column I wrote a couple of years ago about goat yoga. Which would probably be worth watching, if it was the actual goats doing the actual yoga. Unfortunately, goat yoga is a thing where people go to a farm and pay actual US currency to be allowed to lie down in pens with baby goats, and let the goats walk all over them. I’m thinking it’s something in the water, because normal people don’t act like that.
But lest you think goat yoga is the dumbest idea you’ve ever heard, let me disabuse you of that notion pronto. Because earlier this year I wrote an entirely different column about alpaca yoga. There’s a place in England called Rosebud Alpacas, where the owners, Nick and Lucy Aylett, raise alpacas. And if you’re vague on what alpacas are, they seem to be sort of uppity llamas, as near as I can tell. Sort of high end goats, or something.
There are evidently a lot of English folks with way too much disposable income and also way too much time on their hands, who like yoga and don’t mind scandalizing alpacas when they practice it. I’m still a little foggy on exactly what yoga is, and I’d very much appreciate it if no one filled me in on that. All I know is it appears to be the kind of thing my gym teacher, Mrs. Bode, used to try to get us to do in second grade during PE class.
Regardless, these people pay Nick and Lucy in English money, pounds or quid or bob or whatever they call it, to go out and do their yoga nonsense in the field with the alpacas standing around watching. You’d think someone would, at some point, take these people aside and calmly explain that the alpacas might rather not have overweight doofuses in stretchy pants, doing the lotus flower, or whatever, while they’re trying to eat grass in peace, or whatever type activities alpacas engage in. It’s strange.
But it gets worse. Now there’s a new thing going on in upstate New York called ‘cow cuddling.’ There’s a place up there called Mountain Horse Farm, and the proprietors have started charging people to go out an lay around with their cows. Seriously.
James Gregory, one of my favorite comedians, once described what joining a gym amounts to. He said it’s like you go to a businessman in your community and say, “Listen, if I give you some of my money, would it be all right if I come over to your place after work and lift something heavy?” And the guy says, “Well, yeah. Do you have any stupid friends you can bring with you?”
That’s pretty much my impression of cow cuddling. An article about it in Healthy Food House claims that ‘experts’ say it’s a ‘beneficial wellness method,’ whatever that means. I’m sure it’s beneficial to Mountain Horse Farm, because it ain’t cheap, but I have a hard time seeing what it does for people, except cause them to smell like cows. Which is actually not such a bad thing.
The farm charges folks three hundred bucks for what they call a ‘Horse & Cow Experience that lasts an hour an a half, but if you’re a tightwad you can just cuddle with the bovine of your choice for an hour for $75. I have no idea what the cows think of all this, but I doubt they’re overly impressed.
Now, I’ve been around cows all my life. We raised a few cattle while I was growing up, and I’ve worked at two different cattle auctions. I’ve fed cows, herded cows, rounded up cows, doctored cows, vaccinated cows, marked cows, shaped cows, and even roped cows. And I have to admit I enjoy being around cows. But I would also like to point out, for the record, that I have never, not once in my thirty plus years, had the slightest inclination to cuddle a cow. I’m not sure that’s even legal in most states, and you can forget transporting a cow across a state line for that sort of thing. It’s creepy.
You’re not likely to find such a service in Texas. We know what cows are for, and although we’re generally rather fond of our cows, we don’t cuddle them. We raise them so they don’t need it.
Interestingly, just as this cow cuddling story popped up, one particular steer in Texas is also making news. A longhorn named Bucklehead, who belongs to a young lady named Marceala Gonzalez in Rocksprings, is set to break the world record for the widest set of horns, ever. The current record belongs to a bovine named Poncho, whose stickers measure 10 feet 7.4 inches, but that one lives in Alabama, which won’t do. Bucklehead’s horns were recently measured at a show in Oklahoma at 11 feet 1.8 inches. So, thanks to Marceala and Bucklehead, top honors will soon belong to a Texas longhorn, where they belong.
You might be fortunate enough to meet Bucklehead at a show sometime. If you do, my advice is don’t try to cuddle him . . .
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