Apr 29, 2009

Picture in Need of a Caption

While downtown recently, I took a picture of a mounted patrol officer, and after I snapped the picture I realized the scene was a bit surreal, perhaps even ironic. TARTA stands for the Toledo Area Regional Transportation Authority, which provides less-than-thorough bus service in Northwest Ohio. I really just wanted the image of the stoic horse, but now I have an image that begs for a descriptive tag.

The few people who have seen this picture generally laughed without being prompted, and yet I cannot think of a decent caption. There is the contrast between traditional transportation (horse) and modern forms of transit (bus), and there is the irony that one could probably reach some parts of town faster on a horse than by taking the bus.

Then we might consider that the officer stands a chance of being laid off this Friday, as Toledo's mayor has threatened to cut 150 uniformed officers in an effort to close a $20-plus million budget gap. Finally, both the officer and the horse seem to be patiently waiting for something, which in this case might be one of TARTA's late or out-of-service buses.

Anyways, if you think of a decent caption, leave your suggestions in the Comments section. I look forward to reading your witticisms.


Mad Jack said...

The horse isn’t stoic. His head is too high and his expression is all wrong. I think Officer Portly just gave him a little jerk on the reins to keep him from walking.

The tack he’s wearing is a little unusual. He’s got a very long shank on a curb bit, which generally means that the horse has a hard mouth. Since we can’t see the port there’s no way to tell how severe the bit is, but I’m going to guess the bit doesn’t have much of a port on it as the reins have been pulled but the horse’s mouth is closed. He’s wearing a breast collar that’s attached to the saddle (which is uncommon) and to the girth. The collar is pulled too tight, indicating the saddle either doesn’t fit correctly or Officer Portly doesn’t know what he’s doing when he saddled his horse that morning and has the collar adjusted incorrectly.

Officer Portly’s left hand is about a foot and a half higher than it should be. Poor horsemanship. If you pull back on the reins with your hand that high, you’re asking your horse to raise his head. That is not how a horse stops, but it is what a horse does before it rears up. Ergo, Officer Portly is asking his horse to rear. Officer Portly’s stirrups look a little short to me, causing him to sit and ride somewhat like a jockey. If Officer Portly continues to rely on his stirrups instead of his knees and balance, he’s going to by himself some real estate when he has to ride instead of just sit.

I’m not very good at captions. I might venture, “The new, greener TARTA – an important part of Toledo pride.” - paid for by the commission for Carty reelection.

dr-exmedic said...

Mad Jack,

Thank you. I've ridden enough to know that something looked silly about the horse and rider, but not enough to put my finger on it. :)


I don't know about a proper caption but it should probably say something about "two equally worthless modes of transportation," even though that isn't technically true.

Mad Jack said...

Thank you, Dr-ExMedic.

Maybe something along the line of:
Both need fuel. One produces fertilizer and the other pollution.

Anonymous said...

Faster Service. Same Amount of Gas.
OR TARTA = Thoroughbred Association Revives Transportation Authority

Carol said...

"A Much Smaller Footprint In The Global Warming Dilemma"

Tim Higgins said...


Great photo, though it looks like both participants might be suffering from a bit of gas.

As for the caption, might I suggest:

"TARTA - A feeble replacement for an outmoded form of transportation"

The A-Hole Lawyer said...

One more day big fella (Friday) One more Day!!

historymike said...

Excellent suggestions, all. I especially appreciated the detailed horse info from MadJack about Officer Portly's mount.

steve said...

"Makes frequent stops - Do not follow too closely"

ProfessorSeal said...

"Approach me from behind to get an up-close view of Lloyd Jacobs!"

Anonymous said...

i noticed the tree has no leaves. as if it's dead and u say the bus system isn't vibrant. and the policeman looks quite burnt. just my impressions. thanks
ck in san diego