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A horse is a horse (or a designated driver)

January 18, 2011 - Taste Buds
A Montana Department of Transportation public safety video featuring a horse picking up a rider at a bar is intended as a metaphor to encourage drinkers to get a ride home. But the spot has caught the attention of many folks in Big Sky Country and beyond including The Taste Buds right here in Martins Ferry!

In the 30-second public safety spot, a saddled horse, known in real life by the name of Outlaw Rooster, is shown "hoofing" it down the highway with a beautiful Montana sunset in the background.

Outlaw Rooster casually makes a stop at a flashing red light, looks both ways and proceeds down the road, making a stop in front of a bar where in the background, an officer is conducting what appears to be a sobriety test.

A bar patron is then shown inside the establishment handing a cell phone back to the bartender. He then meanders out the door and mounts his steed to safely head for home. Outlaw Rooster, a Montana Paint Horse, has become a popular figure on YouTube after horsing around for this particular safety advertisement which was filmed in Hamilton, Montana in November and took more than 10 hours to complete.

The "Sober Friend" television commercial is part of a statewide effort by the Montana Department of Transportation, titled Plan2Live and aimed at educating drivers about safe travel.

But some folks are having a little issue with the commercial. According to Helena Police Chief Troy McGee his office has received numerous calls from residents wanting to know if riding a horse while under the influence is legal. McGee has gone on record saying it is perfectly legal to saddle up and ride off into the sunset on your horse because Montana law carefully defines a vehicle, and excludes those running under animal power.

In Ohio, the law differs. It is illegal to ride a horse while intoxicated. In fact, there have been arrests made of individuals who were "riding" in a buggy that was being pulled by a horse. During one such court case it is reported the DUI suspect went on record saying, "I wasn't driving him. He knew the way home!"

The judge allegedly didn't take too kindly to that remark and found the man guilty of driving under the influence.

Does this mean Montana horses are smarter than Ohio horses? Or could it be that the way of life in Montana is different than that in Ohio?

Regardless, The Taste Buds encourage our readers to always have a designated driver if they plan to imbibe.

Because, as the old saying goes, friends don't let friends drive drunk ... even if that friend is a Montana horse!

You may reach The Taste Buds at


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