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Texas Agriculture Archive

May 7, 2004

We were watching the conclusion of the Kentucky Derby when Mel started recalling all the fast horses he'd known or owned.

"Ol' Juniper could shore run a hole in the wind. That wuz one fahn horse. Purdy bay with white stockins'. Then thur wuz Blaze..."

"With a name like that, he must have really been fast," I commented.

"Nope, had feet as big as syrup buckets, an it wuz a she 'stead of a he. Got 'er name from the blaze markin' on her face. We wuz saddled with that ol' nag fer a spell..."

"The Colonel wuz a mahty fahn animal," my husband continued, "a big ol' white horse with a regal air 'bout him. Always wuz one to trot. You could git him to act the fool fer cheese enchiladas, although he loved popcorn er Granny's leftover hushpuppies."

"With a name like The Colonel, you'd think he would prefer chicken," I said. "Isn't it unhealthy to feed a horse 'people food?'"

"Don't know why. They all got grains in 'em...

"Ah remember 'at outlaw hoss Ah sold Rick Edwards 'at tahm," Mel said, smiling. "Rick wuz plumb enamored with 'at colt an' wanted to buy 'im from me. Ah told 'at boy that colt ain't never had a saddle on 'im, but he insisted. Ah let him take 'im an' keep 'im fer a few days. Figgered 'at would discourage Rick. But no, he come back in a week or so an' said, `Mel, Ah wanna buy 'at horse. He's jist as gentle as can be. Let's me feed him an' walk all around 'im. Eben let me slip a halter on him.'" Mel paused and shook his head. "Ah wuz reluctant, but fin'ly Ah give in an' Rick paid me $400 fer 'im— an' me all tahm tryin' to tawk 'im out of it." Mel began to chuckle. "Coupla weeks later, Ah seen Rick at the cattle auction. His arm was in a slang. Asked him whut happened, an' he said, 'Ah wuz makin' sich good progress with 'at horse, a feedin' an' pettin' him. Ah eased a blanket on him, an' a saddle. Girded it. The horse acted lahk it wuz no big deal. Put my foot in th' stirrup an' mounted 'im. So far, so good. All of a sudden, that hoss pitched me up in the air so high a bluebird coulda built a nest in the saddle 'fore Ah come back down!'"

Next, Mel moved on to Shetland ponies.

"Once't knew a guy that had a Shetland pony fer a watch dawg. Nasty horse. He'd practic'ly foam at the mouth an' growl at anybody that drove up. Got in a standoff with a German pohlice dawg. Mostly jist a show uv teeth. Name wuz Jake, but we called 'im Fido...

"You seen them horses, like Fury, Trigger, an' Flicka, that could count with thur hoof? Well, ol' Ebenezer could add an' subtract."

"I don't believe that one," I said.

"Well he shore nuff could," Mel insisted. "You could put three apples in front of him an' tell him to leave one, an' he'd jist take two. You tell him to leave two, an' he'd jist eat one."

"That's subtracting," I said. "How did he add?"

"When you'd tell him you were short two apples, you could turn 'im loose an' he'd go pick a couple off the tree in Mama's orchard."

"Just what kind of horse was he, anyway?

Mel grinned. "An apple loosa."