Mel Coleman, chairman of Coleman Natural Meats, sits atop a horse as he receives a hamburger from the drive-through window at Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard in Denver, Colorado.
Photo: Craig F. Walker (Getty Images)

Aspen Cline just wanted to do something fun for her 14th birthday last weekend—not a sleepover or a mani/pedi party, but a horseback ride to the Anthem, Arizona Starbucks drive-thru. Her hopes were dashed, though, when she, her mother, and the horses they rode in on were denied service at the drive-thru.

“The employee at the drive-thru was startled by the horse and asked the family to come inside to place an order,” a Starbucks spokesperson told The Arizona Republic.

Aspen and her mother, Tandy Cline, felt embarrassed and left, but Tandy Cline took to Facebook later to vent her frustration at not being allowed to trot through the drive-thru.

Once a Starbucks district manager heard about the kerfuffle, the coffee chain invited Aspen, Tandy, and Aspen’s horse back for a do-over. (We regret that we cannot name Aspen’s horse, because it is referred to as both Flash and Scout in different newspaper accounts of the incident.)

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“While the drive-thru is intended for motor vehicles, if a customer has a special request we ask them to just give us a call beforehand,” a company spokesperson told The Republic.

As a former Arizona resident who’s been to Anthem, I can attest that—while not an everyday site—horses at bars and restaurants are not totally uncommon in the state’s ranching areas. One of my favorite bars in Arizona is The Hitching Post in Apache Junction, whose name is definitely intended literally. Sitting on the deck with a few beers, you’ll have a great view of a line of horses tied up to a post while their riders spend the afternoon line dancing inside.

Here’s hoping Aspen was satisfied by her second chance at the Starbucks trot-thru, and that the staff there gave her horse an XL version of a Puppuccino.

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