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New horses? Of courses!

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Old age has not been kind to your critic. Suffering as I do from osteoporosis, that pernicious bone-wasting disease, I have lost more height over the last 30 years than Tom Cruise ever had. I don’t want to burden you, dear loyal reader, but I am virtually half the man I used to be.

So is it any wonder that I find myself intoxicated by the two new miniature horses at the Prospect Park Zoo?

Abe and Bogie are their names and you’ll never meet a more playful pair of equine rascals. More importantly, they’re the perfect height for this shrinking octogenarian critic and the 10-year-olds who can’t seem to get enough of them.

My great-granddaughter, who loves Aggie the cow, didn’t even pay the bovine any mind the other day when she accompanied me to the zoo on my fact-finding mission. She couldn’t keep her eyes off the “little horsies” (cute kid).

See, Abe and Bogie aren’t ponies, who grow up into big horses and then leave us for greener pastures. And they aren’t mules, those bastard children of the animal kingdom, who can’t even reproduce.

Abe and Bogie are miniature horses (I call them equus caballus, but I was always a good Latin student). Yes, I’ve heard the speciest slurs — “Pigmy horses,” “Midget ponies,” and, the worst, “Equi-hogs” — but I don’t care. Miniature horses are not ponies, which have different proportions to horses. Miniature horses are like the real thing only smaller (I vaguely recall one of my ex-wives using the term to describe me once).

I was lucky enough to spend a few minutes with Abe and Bogie the other day in the barnyard area of the zoo and found them to be delightful — and certainly a heck of a lot more “person”able than that damn Jacob’s Four-Horned Sheep or that half-blind goat who always bites my great-granddaughter when she tries to feed him.

If I wasn’t a vegetarian…!

And the best part about Abe and Bogie, is that their relationship is so out of the stable.

Yes, theirs is a forbidden love that seems to know no bounds. They nuzzle. They play. They cavort. They feed each other alfalfa.

OK, they don’t actually feed each other hay, but they do almost everything else.

Best of all, Abe and Bogie come to us from the Bronx Zoo, which means we in Brooklyn can brag about yet more urban refugees who ended up in our fair borough.

Abe and Bogie at the Prospect Park Zoo (enter on Flatbush Avenue just north of Empire Boulevard). Admission is $6 (adults); $2.25 (seniors); $2 (kids 3-12); free (kids under 3). The zoo is open 10 am–5 pm on weekdays and until 5:30 pm on weekends through Nov. 4. For info, call (718) 399-7339 or visit www.prospectparkzoo.com.

Thurston Dooley III has been reviewing puppet theater, juggling and mime for more than three decades. He is a member of the International Puppetry Hall of Fame (writer’s wing) and is editor emeritus of Modern Marionette magazine.

Updated 3:08 pm, October 3, 2008
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