And today in Things To Delight And Surprise You, we have this: An Arizona teen tried to ride a horse through Starbucks’ drive-through and is subsequently going viral. Alas, she wasn’t actually able to complete her order — but, I mean, points for chutzpah. Also, snaps to whoever wrote the chyron for the broadcast segment on this story; “Galloping to Drive-Thru Rejection” is absolute perfection.
According to a report on Phoenix-area ABC network ABC 15, teenager Aspen Cline recently attempted to take her horse, Scout, through the drive-through of a Starbucks in Anthem, Ariz. She and a friend who also rides made the trip together as a birthday outing for Cline; the plan was to get Frappuccinos for themselves and cups of whipped cream for the horses. (Fun fact: It’s perfectly safe for horses to eat most types of people food. Said Sarah Ralston, VMD, PhD, Dipl. ACVN, to equine health care publication The Horse in 2004, “If we can eat it, most horses can eat it in relatively small amounts — less than one pound per day.”)
Alas, though, it didn’t quite go as Cline and her friend had intended: They were turned away from the drive-through, horses and all. “We weren’t given any reason — just, ‘We can’t take your order,’” said Cline to ABC 15.
Starbucks’ official policy according to ABC 15 is that the drive-through is for cars only; however, a spokesperson also said that accommodations can sometimes be made with advance notice. It’s likely that Cline’s rejection was largely due to the barista’s surprise — which, I would argue, is fair. On the list of things I would expect to encounter at work as a Starbucks barista, “horse in the drive-through” is, uh… not high.
Then again, maybe it should be. It turns out that there is a big, huge, wonderful world of videos of people taking their horses through the drive-throughs of various restaurants on YouTube. This one filmed in Norco, Calif., for example, has found its way into quite a few articles about Aspen Cline’s story; it features a pair of riders taking their horses through a Starbucks drive-through:
It’s worth noting that Norco is also known as “Horsetown, USA”; its horse and equestrian populations set it apart from many other cities (especially those in Southern California), and as the YouTubers who shot and uploaded the video write in its description, horses in Norco “are given a wide range of privileges that other cities may not allow.”
But that’s just one of many videos along these lines that exist. There’s also this one from an unidentified location shot from an observer’s perspective — that is, someone driving by a Starbucks spotted a couple of people on horseback in the line for another Starbucks drive-through and decided to catch it on film:
This one featuring a rider going through a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through in Whitney Point, New York (which may, in fact, be the only Dunkin’ Donuts in Whitney Point, according to the donut chain’s online store locator. As someone who also grew up in a one-Dunkin’ Donuts town, this amuses me):
And this one shot at a Wendy’s in Pittsburgh, Pa. (the horse got a Frosty):
This one at an unidentified Dairy Queen:
And this one, in which a horse and buggy stop at a Tim Horton’s in Norwich, Ontario in Canada:
That one is my favorite.
However, like Cline, not all riders who have attempted to take their horsey pals through drive-throughs have been successful. For example, a 2013 report from CNN recounted the story of a mother and daughter who were turned away from a McDonald’s drive-through in Manchester, UK (and what happened when they, uh, took the horses straight into the restaurant instead. Pro tip: Don't do that):
And in a report from 2015, Canada’s CTV News noted that that riding horses through drive-throughs isn’t permitted in places like the city of Selkirk in Manitoba out of concern about “vehicles and horses mixing and the safety of motorists and pedestrians”:
Whether or not certain drive-throughs in certain locations are cool with horses seems to be a sort of a “your mileage may vary” situation; some might be fine with it, while others may not. As the CTV News report points out, though, it’s probably worth checking your local laws before you attempt to take My Friend Flicka out for a coffee.
If you do manageto make it work, though? Please post pictures. The internet lives for this kind of thing!