What's Wrong With Mouthy Gift Horses?
"Never look a gift horse in the mouth."
What do horses have to do with giving?
When a veterinarian, equine appraiser or other expert assesses the value of a horse for sale, he will look closely at the equine's teeth. Horses' teeth change dramatically, as they mature and grow older. An equine dental examination can reveal the age of the horse, while providing a helpful indication of the animal's overall health as well. This checkpoint has thwarted many a shoddy horse trader's attempt to pawn off an older horse at a higher price than he warranted.
According to the proverb, if one is given a horse as a gift, then that person should accept the gift without seeking a closer look, at least in front of the giver. After all, a gift is free; if the recipient did not pay for the horse, then why should he nitpick about its age, health or other features?The gift horse metaphor does break down, though, particularly in modern times. Certainly, horses may be had for free, often by adoption or from equine rescue organizations. Such equines generally are not free, in the long run. Keeping a horse can be quite costly, even if the initial cost of the animal was little or none.
Truly, there is no such thing as a free horse. And, unless you happen to own acres and acres of grassy wilderness, there is no such thing as a free lunch for that free horse.
Want the inside scoop? Click here to see the full online article, "What's Wrong With Mouthy Gift Horses?" Or click here to subscribe to an RSS feed for this writer's helpful Helium content.