Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Horse Stories/Mort

I loved the responses from you guys on my last post. Thanks. I had a hard time writing that one. I feel guilty on many levels for going public with that stuff. But my guilt is for another day.
I need to leave the dark side for a while. I'm thinking I'll intersperse these tales of whoa with some favorite horse stories. Here's my first.

Mort/Chapter 1

Mort may have been the love of my life. Tall and handsome, volatile, funny and totally unpredictable. He was ill-mannered, wild, and lived fast. The first time he leaned over the fence and blew into my nostrils I was gone.
I was a lot like Mort. Not as tall, definitely not as good looking, but the rest pretty much fit.
One look into his big golden brown eyes and I was ready to follow him anywhere.
My parents, in a somewhat desperate attempt to help me find some balance in my life, were letting me buy a horse.
This horse would come with strings. I had to support him myself and keep him in a self-care facility. Good behavior on my part equalled keeping him.
Entering the horse world meant I had to take on the work and expense myself. They figured this would prove soon enough if I really wanted a horse. Eternal poverty, here I come. I never looked back.
I knew absolutely nothing about what I was getting into.
My experience consisted of a few years of riding lessons at the neighborhood riding stable and a close friend who owned horses.
I watched a lot of John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Bonanza.
Bring em' on.
My poor parents were even more naive than I was.
When I tried Mort out the owner was waiting for my dad and me. He held the pretty dun, already saddled, his hand wrapped tight in the bridle. I got on, he handed me the reins and backed away. We headed into the city park at an extended trot. By the time we hit the trees we were at a fast lope. As we rounded the first bend in the trail we were at a dead run. I might have figured out he was running away with me if I had ever tried to stop him, but my reins stayed slack. I only steered, and he always went where I pointed him.
This was how John, Roy, Little Joe, and now I rode.
When we blew into the barn an hour later I knew we were meant to be.
"I love him!" I shouted as I swung down, already showing my developing prowess as a horse trader.
"Really?" The owner said, his eyebrows shot up high enough to make his Made in China, wool felt hat almost slide off his head. "Er, that's great."
As soon as it could happen I was the proud owner of Charro, soon to be known as Mort, a registered grandson of Poco Bueno.
Already in love, I failed to notice a few warning signs that a more seasoned horse woman might have picked up on.
The fact that he was the only horse at the boarding stable kept in a padlocked, six foot high run.
His scarred and lacerated tongue.
The two inch scars on both corners of his mouth.
The mechanical hackamore with a rubber covered, bicycle chain nose piece, that came with the horse.
The constant toss of his head that only subsided when he was running flat out.
The wicked glint in his eye. (OK, I saw that.)
I did notice the only things that mattered to me.
His big cheeked, heart stopping face.
The perfect diamond on his forehead.
The way his muzzle fit in my hand.
His blazing speed.
The power he was willing to share with me.
The way he laid his head on my shoulder, for just a second, after I dismounted from the first of thousands of rides.
It was all I needed to know.


  1. This is my first visit here- I was drawn in after reading this post on The Power Guides.

    Must say that I am impressed with what ihave seen so far! Your first horse sounds a lot like a few that have owned me over the years- when I was much younger that is...;)

    These days, I like them a bit more laid back, but to see That Glint in the Eye brings back many happy memories.

    Thanks for sharing. It was a great way to begin the day here, and I look forward to coming back more often for more!

  2. Glad to have you! Writing about Mort always cheers me up....I had him for 15 years.

  3. I'm also enjoying your blog - it's a pleasure to read such well-written commentaries as yours and FHOTD.

    Boy - your story about Mort is so like mine with my buddy Rebel (and, judging by the picture, our experiences were probably contemporaneous). Reb was a fugly horse who had literally been out to pasture for two years when I first saw him. Although he promptly bucked me off, my 13-year old self was thrilled that I had enough money to buy him ($250). After a few interesting outings, we came to an understanding and went on to have many memorable adventures together.

    Looking forward to hearing the next installment!

  4. Love the story... Its intresting that so many people that are still 'into' horses have stories about our own first horse that we would never purchase for a new rider. And how we would never give that horse up no matter how 'wrong' he/she was.

    My own first horse was hell on 4 legs. Our first show we ended up running over 3 pony clubers. (he he he) The next show the local vet came and tranked him (on her own but with my coach's premision after his antics in the warm up ring)so that he would get through the day in his stall without killing someone. And yes we didnt show him for 3 more years. We ended up winning several high points (years later), and he turned into a trusted lesson horse when I started teaching, but it was a long process.

  5. I love that name "Mort"... did he come with that, or did you in your infinite wisdom choose it for him?

  6. My family traditionally had a naming party for each new member, human or animal. His official call name was Mortimer Snerd. We later added Murray the Arab.
    Where did they come from? Deep in the dark crevices of my clan's warped minds. Bwah ha ha ha.

  7. mugwump,
    That story is beautiful. Reminds me of my first pony. Thank you for sharing. Now I have to go take care of the lump in my throat.


    P.S. You write beautifully...you should consider a novel. Could squelch some of your money problems... :)

  8. I wish I would of read this first!

    All I can say is, YES! YES! YYYEEESSSS!!!! I got the SAME look from the "cowboy" I bought Tango from. My parents gave me the SAME rules, only Tango lived at home with us but if I didn't keep my nose clean and my grades up, bye-bye Tango. I had to do all the chores which included hauling 5 gallon buckets of water out in the dead of winter MANY times a day. Looking back, he ran away with me COUNTLESS times. He had this "extra" gear that he would kick into as soon as those reins went slacked. My dad drove behind us once and said he had the truck up to 54 mph and was pacing us. I know that's not a formal speed, but still, there was a 100 pound teenager on his back at those speeds! I didn't care! We were one! It's like when you're watching the Black Stallion and you see him galloping along the beach. You just know that feeling of being 1 creature.

    The signs I missed? I'm sure there were a lot, but I was so blinded by love, I don't remember anything! He was huge. Snorty. Pushy. Ridden with a tie-down before I came along (ick). Had HUGE strides, Laid into the bit. Too sensitive to be ridden bareback. GIANT and powerful hip. And I was 100 pounds, soaking wet, with little experience other then my insane appy mare and begging anyone that had a horse to let me on them! I never had a lesson in my life.

    Okay, now that I'll be late for work, I'm going to go hug Bubby (tango) and run away so I can pay for his mush!