As It Happens

How would a horse wear pants? With suspenders, of course

Winston the retired racehorse sports denim pant legs held up by suspenders to keep the flies at bay while he heals from a leg injury.

Winston the retired racehorse rocks jeans to keep flies at bay while healing from a leg injury

Winston, a retired racehorse from Nashville, Tenn., rocks a pair of jeans held up by a suspender to keep the flies at bay while he heals from a leg injury. (Submitted by Ben Voytas)

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 The great debate of how a horse would wear jeans has finally been settled. 

It's not, as many have argued, four-legged denim pants covering the animal's entire bottom half. Nor is it, as others insist, a regular pair of jeans pulled up over the horse's rear end and back legs.

"It's a third option of him in suspenders," Ben Voytas, co-owner of Winston, the denim-clad retired racehorse, told As It Happens guest host Susan Bonner. 

"I don't agree with one way or another. I just think it looks awesome."

Winston sports his cuffed "hoof-cut" jeans on his front legs, chaps-style, held up by suspenders. The creation was the brainchild of Voytas' wife, Nashville, Tenn., veterinarian Juliana Santiago.

Winston is a "very playful horse" who is prone to injuries, Santiago said, and he came home recently with a wound on his leg. 

She treated the injury and tried to let it heal, she says, but the flies wouldn't leave poor Winston alone. 

"We were wrapping the wound, using fly spray, different medicines and that just to try to keep the flies away from it. Nothing was really helping," she said. 

"So the barn manager and I kind of came up with [the jeans] idea to see if it would help. And he loved it, and it kept the flies off."

The jeans cover both legs, she said, because when only one was covered, Winston kept kicking his other leg to keep the flies at bay. 

Retired racehorse rocks jeans and suspenders

2 years ago
Duration 0:08
Winston the horse struts about in his denim pants, designed to keep the flies away as he heals from a leg injury. (Submitted by Ben Voytas and Juliana Santiago)

When Santiago texted a picture of Winston's spiffy ensemble to her husband, he knew he had to share it with the world. 

"I'm like, oh, I need to tweet this out immediately," he said.

His tweet, posted on July 18, has received 9,000 retweets and 66,000 likes as of Friday. 

"Honestly, I totally forgot about the already-existing meme of how a horse wears his jeans," Voytas said. 

The meme in question originated in 2015 with an illustration asking how a dog would wear pants, according to the internet archive site KnowYourMeme. It later grew to encompass a wide variety of four-legged creatures. 

Juliana Santiago, left, and Ben Voytas, right, pose with their retired racehorse Winston. (Submitted by Ben Voytas)

While some have questioned whether Winston is comfortable in his pants, the couple insists he quite enjoys them, and even likes to strut about in them, showing off his fresh style.

In fact, Santiago says he gets excited when she comes into his stall in the morning to put on his pants.

"He took to them very quickly," she said. "He definitely was a little confused [at first], but like I said, I think he is just happy to not be stomping around because of the flies."

Winston's wound is healing nicely, she said, though she might keep the jeans around just for fun. In fact, Voytas says Winston might branch out, fashion-wise. 

"I did get some replies in the tweet that people need to see him in a hat. So if we come across a hat that we can put on him and he likes it, which I'm assuming he will, then we could probably make that happen, too," Voytas said.

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Lisa Bryn Rundle and Chloe Shantz-Hilkes. 

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