For a dozen Montana high schoolers getting ready to go on summer break, it was time to pull a fast one on their principal. According to an antiquated Montana state law, if students ride their horses to school, the principal must take care of the animals during school hours. At Conrad High School in Conrad, Montana this task fell to principal Raymond DeBruycker, who watched over a herd of horses that students rode to class that day.

Principal DeBruycker tending to one of the student’s horses. (Raymond DeBruycker photo)

It’s become a traditional Montana high school prank practiced at another school as well; however, there appears to be scant evidence that such a law actually exists on the books.

There is, however, mention of our four-legged friends as student transportation in a 1992 report called Montana’s School Transportation Policies and Funding. The report references that, “Horse stables and hitching posts were common on school sites well into the 20th century and were maintained at some Montana rural schools into the 1960s. The first ‘buses’ provided by school districts were horse-driven and required maintenance of a horse barn on school property. Until the 1971 recodification of school law, the definition of ‘nearest practical route’ to school, used to determine individual reimbursement, included horse and buggy tracks.”

Mind you, with the cost of fuel these days, this student prank is also practical!