Snopes: The Picnic Table Shelter

How many of you have seen this picture floating around on Facebook? Ever wondered about the real story behind it?

The story that generally accompanies the photo claims a farmer built the oversized table and chairs after a zoning ordinance prevented him from constructing a run-in shed on his property. But since there was no ordinance against building a table and chairs, he was able to skirt the law. Cute story, right?

But it’s not true! Snopes has the full scoop on the real story behind the photograph:

“Photographs of these horses standing in a meadow beneath an outsized table and chairs have been circulating on the Internet since 2003, typically accompanied by the claim that the unusually large furniture was constructed by a farmer as a way of working around a local ordinance that prohibited him from building a shelter for the animals. Although the photographs are real, the claim about the giant furnishings’ having originated as a way of skirting the law is a bit of fiction: the structures were built to serve the dual purpose of providing some shelter for the equines and serving as a visual advertisement for their owner’s business.”

When TIME Magazine printed the photo in 2003, the picture had the following caption: “Three horses try to hide from the rain under an oversized table and chair in a pasture near Doellstaedt, eastern Germany. The huge garden furniture was installed by a local wood merchant to promote his products.”

So there you have it, Horse Nation. The famous table and chairs photo does not show a rebellious farmer’s attempt to provide shelter for his horses. Rather, a German carpenter built the table and chairs to promote his business.

Go Riding.

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