I _________do agree on this date of _________to abide by the rules of Squabbler’s Gulch, Oklahoma (hereinafter referred to as One Horse Town) when utilizing the services of Bill the Appaloosa (hereinafter referred to as the Horse).
In order to borrow the Horse, you must put in a formal Horse request with Miss Doubleday, the schoolmarm who has been voted this year’s “Horse Steward.” You can find Miss Doubleday at the One Room Schoolhouse, One God Church, or One Book Library.
The Horse may be borrowed for twelve hours at a time and no more than once per week. Assistance with numbers and letters is available for borrowers lackin’ booklearnin’.
The Horse must be refilled with premium oats.
Acceptable uses for the Horse include galloping, riding off into the sunset with your best gal, trotting, sharing secrets you’d never tell another living soul, walking, and teaching a young girl the power of friendship.
The Horse’s name is Bill. Please do not confuse the Horse with nicknames like “Sugar Rump,” “Mr. Cloppy,” or “Irma Carter.”
Do not be tricked into gambling away the Horse by a man in black who blows into town looking for trouble.
Whoever is in the possession of the Horse on Sunday must bring him to the One God Church for Pastor Williams’ eight am service. We must ensure the Horse is a good Christian so we may all ride him in Heaven.
The Horse is permitted to bite, kick, or stomp any person in possession of him but you are not allowed to reciprocate, Mr. Crenshaw.
If there is a quarrel over the Horse, the fighting parties will duel* at high noon. The survivor will be allowed to borrow the Horse for the next 12 hour period the Horse is available.
*The Horse will not be present at the duel. RIP Mustang Molly
Be kind. Rewind the bridle if it comes undone.
Do not decorate the Horse with lace, baubles, or the clothing and hair of your late wife Irma Carter.
In case of emergencies, a bright lantern and bell may be strapped to the Horse in order to alert the town and speed the progress of the rider. Those allowed to use the Horse in this manner are Sheriff Greene, Doc Watkins, and Ice Cream Man Parker.
If you attempt to abscond with the Horse you will be hanged.
If you attempt to keep the Horse and trick us by returning a shaved donkey, you will be hanged.
If you attempt to convince us that you never had the Horse, have never even heard of a thing called a Horse, and forbid us from investigating the neighing coming from behind that pile of barrels, we won’t fall for that trick a third time Mr. Crenshaw. Just because you’re the town Hangman does not mean you can’t be hanged.
No demeaning jokes while in possession of the Horse. Do not put carts in front of him, gifts in his mouth, or ask him why the long face.
After you are done with the Horse, please leave him in a spot convenient for the next rider. Inappropriate places to leave the Horse include in the middle of the desert, behind a giant tumbleweed, and in The Scarlet Room of Madam Ada’s Pleasure Parlor, especially when the next rider is Pastor Williams.
Bringing other Horses into town strictly prohibited. Squabbler’s Gulch has always been and always will be a One Horse Town. If you don’t like that you can move elsewhere as most people already have.
Emergency Horse requests may be made to the “Horse Steward.” Only polite requests will be considered. Storming in, covered in blood, requesting the Horse to avenge the death of your wife Irma Carter at the hands of Howling Buck Gunner will not move you higher in the Horse queue.
If the Horse dies while in your care, report it immediately so we can work to procure a new Horse as quickly as possible. Also, you will be hanged.