Richard Ord: Red Gum?

Paul Newby with his horse Star, fit and healthy after an operation to remove a rare tumour from her bottom jaw was a success.

Paul Newby with his horse Star, fit and healthy after an operation to remove a rare tumour from her bottom jaw was a success.

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Why don’t farmers ride around on cows?

They have plenty of them and are so much more environmentally-friendly and cheaper than 4x4s and horses.

They run on grass and, unlike horses, you don’t have to devote your life to them.

You could chop and change your cow at the drop a hat. Trading it in for a younger model … and a beef Sunday dinner.

The more I think about it, the more I can’t understand why farmers galloping around fields on cows is not a more common sight.

I suspect it’s a vanity thing.

Surveying your land atop a Friesian is not a particularly majestic image. The cow would feel special though.

Perhaps it’s to keep the herd happy. Plucking a cow from the relative obscurity of the herd could be a cause of resentment among the other cattle. I don’t know.

Could a farmer get in touch and enlighten us?

Horses are unlikely to be usurped by cows in the short-term.

They are undergoing a bit of renaissance at the moment with the release of the movie War Horse (War Cow? Nah, doesn’t have the box office appeal).

This movie inspired a great headline in the Echo this week. The story was about a showjumping horse called Star that had undergone pioneering surgery after being diagnosed with cancer.

Star had to have his jaw removed by surgeons at Glasgow University so that a tumour could be treated. My headline suggestion of Why the Long Face?, was rejected in favour of the far superior Jaw Horse.

But for the pressure of time, a headline submitted by a reader on Twitter would have carried the day. Alas, the headline Red Gum fell at the final hurdle.

How, you may well ask, does a horse without a lower jaw eat? It was a question I raised immediately on reading this incredible tale.

You needn’t worry, I have it on good authority that the horse uses a straw.

The removal of Star’s jaw, however, means the poor animal has now lost one of its two main defences against attack.

When feeling threatened a horse can either bite or kick. Thankfully the kick is still there, and I am reliably informed, if cornered, Star can still give you a nasty suck.