Archive for August, 2008

The Buggy Horse

The good old horse-and-buggy days:
then you lived until you died and
not until you were just run over.

[Will Rogers]

Grandpa Jim had raised Morgan horses when he was younger so he prided himself in having such a beautiful team and buggy horse. We didn’t have a very good buggy horse and so one day he found someone in town who had a horse for sale. It was a good looking animal so he bought it and brought it home.

My mother was pleased to have a new buggy horse. The first time she and I went to town, we drove along pleasantly and stopped at my Grandfather Black’s home. As we started home the horse didn’t go very good, so she jerked on the reins to help it get started. It started trotting. Then she wanted to slow him down and she pulled hard on the reins. The horse started to run faster. Well, she held me against the buggy seat with one elbow, while she drove with the other hand. She kept trying to stop the horse—it was going down Main Street at a dead run, and we were coming to the corner where we had to turn South. She didn’t know what to do so she guided it around a big turn. and we headed south at a dead run. People gapped at us as we went pass—and her trying to stop that horse.

Well, she didn’t make it. It ran two miles and she wondered how we were going to get stopped. We came to our house, she slackened the lines, and the horse begun to slow down. When she got the lines real slack, it stopped. Well she couldn’t understand that. She’d never driven a horse under those conditions before.

She scolded Grandpa and my father, “There’s something wrong with that horse.”

“Oh,” Grandpa said. “I forgot to tell ya, he’s a [harness] race horse. He injured a foot and he can’t race any more, but he’s a good buggy horse—the harder you pull the faster he will run.” Well, of course that told the secret and after that we were very careful how we handled him. He was a good buggy horse.

The following is an MP3 audio file of Mama telling the same story as quoted above:

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