JEFF BAHR Grand Island Independent
Vicki Pflasterer’s horse is so small he doesn’t need to ride in a trailer. She takes him around town in her Honda Ridgeline pickup.
The horse, named Short Stack, rides in the back seat.
As they ride, the horse pokes his head between the front seats, “because he likes to see where we’re going,” Pflasterer said.
Short Stack, a miniature horse, stands 28½ inches tall.
With Short Stack in the pickup, Pflasterer has gone through the drive-thru window at Sonic a few times. One day, they did drive-thru business at the bank.
A woman at the bank, who is a friend of Pflasterer’s, called her a little later and said, “Did you have a horse in your car?”
Pflasterer brings Short Stack to Fonner Park three or four times during the racing meet.
Short Stack is a big hit with kids, who like to pet the animal and have their photo taken with him.
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Pflasterer said if kids have never really seen a horse before, it’s nice for them to be able to touch and pet one.
Short Stack also gets plenty of attention from adults, too, at Fonner.
“It’s kind of funny because they want to get their pictures taken with him, too,” Pflasterer said.
Pflasterer used to load the horse up in her five-horse trailer. It takes a lot of work to put the horse and carriage in the trailer.
It occurred to her that loading the horse in the pickup would be less work.
One day she asked her husband, Jim, “Do you suppose we can get him to jump in the back seat?”
Jim said that probably would work.
“Normally I put a tarp down just in case he has an accident. So I put a tarp down and we just kind of worked with him and he finally jumped in,” she said.
The first time she drove Short Stack in her pickup, a group of women in Cairo “laughed hysterically” when the horse got out, she said.
Short Stack, who weighs about 200 pounds, still rides in the horse trailer at times.
“They always laugh when he jumps out of that, too, because it’s so big,” she said of the trailer.
When she takes the animal around town, the pickup is her preferred method of travel.
Pflasterer jokes that she and the horse collaborate in Carpool Karaoke while they’re driving around town.
When Pflasterer sings, it seems like the horse moves his head to the music. Some might say that’s horsefeathers. But sometimes it seems like it, she said.
What kind of music does the horse prefer?
“You know, we’ve done a little bit of everything,” Pflasterer said.
But he probably is partial to country.
“We like a little Shania Twain,” Pflasterer said.
Driving the horse in a pickup, she noted, saves on gas mileage.
Short Stack, who grew up in Fremont, is 12 years old. Pflasterer bought the animal four years ago.
The horse’s real name is Shadow. Short Stack is just a nickname.
Pflasterer, who also has three full-size horses, sometimes shows Short Stack, and she has registered the horse as a service and therapy animal.
She’s taken Short Stack to nursing homes in Grand Island and St. Paul.
Encounters with Short Stack prompt many seniors to share their childhood experiences with horses.
In one emotional visit, a woman talked about how she rode a pony to school.
Short Stack began making appearances at Fonner Park in 2019. At Fonner, the horse sometimes draws light-hearted remarks from jockeys and trainers. Jockeys ask, “Can I ride him?”
The horse, by the way, has his own Facebook page. It’s called Me and My Shadow—Miniature Horse Therapy.
In one photo on the Facebook page, Short Stack claims that he’s not little. He’s fun-sized.
Video, photos: Pets gone wild of Nebraska