As we come to the end of another year in the world of professional horse diving, the time comes to finally face the biggest problems threatening our industry. After a brief resurgence in 1947, the last 65 years have seen the number of professional horse diving acts -- as predicted through decades of work from our commissioned think-tank -- dwindle to the lower tweens. The continued existence of smart phones allows just about anyone to look up mainstream horse diving websites and download popular horse diving apps at their leisure, making live extreme horse entertainment nearly irrelevant in our modern age. It seems that audiences would rather pay for the cheap novelty of entertainment at their fingertips than experience the joy of watching a beautiful and terrified animal drop into several thousand gallons of the best water local ponds can afford.
After last year's memo about the dangers of hiring stagehands through local prison work-release programs, this year, only five instances of sexual harassment and twelve instances of horse assault have been reported by audience members. A reminder: when looking for a hired hand to care for a horse dealing with the stress of a professional falling career, ask your warden about chemically castrated inmates with a good record. You'll find them personable, easier to manage, and also that they can carry a tune much better than your unmodified violent criminal. And several of these men have since gone on to play Peter Pan in their community theater's production of the play by the same name.
As the carnival circuit raises the bar for modern entertainment, so must we. Onstage drunkenness must be reduced to half-drunkenness during strong daylight hours (1:00 P.M. - 2:30 P.M.). Splatter guards must be installed and cleaned daily, lest the streams of urine and sprays of feces from a falling horse land on audience members who came for entertainment, not horse-borne viruses. Fliers must remove all mentions of the free "ether treatments" once administered before shows in the early days of horse diving, causing countless suffocation deaths. The opium addicts we once paid with opium to predict the outcome of horse births must now be paid with the cash equivalent of their daily opium allowance.
The lesson the XFL taught us so many years ago is that we must remain relevant to competing sources of entertainment. Tell your friends and family members about the wonderful history of professional horse diving. Spread the world about the magic roughly 140 years of falling horses has brought this country. Recount the story of Patches III, who made a record 78 jumps on a single day in the summer of 1919, most of them happening pre-aneurysm and of her own free will. Recount the time Theodore Roosevelt visited the Buffalo World's Fair of 1901, and declared our treatment of animals "abominable," like the great and majestic snowmen of the north. But don't always dwell in the past; offer up the idea of an evening of horse diving as you would box socials, cuddle parties, and marijuana tastings.
The late 19th century ended a long time ago, friends, and it's time that professional horse diving accepted this fact. 2013 will be the year our institution finally registers an e-mail account, despite focus group testing informing us that most of our audience either doesn't have electricity, or isn't aware of the concept at all. Some of you have even reached out to the various classic rock bands visiting your local fairgrounds, and we must thank the Anderson Family Horse Expo of Canfield, Ohio for their spectacular work with REO Speedwagon, and wish them the best of luck in their ongoing investigation by the ASPCA. Stay strong, horse diving enthusiasts, and remember: "A Horse Unprodded is a Horse Unmotivated."
Management Baron, American Horse Diving League, Northeast Chapter
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