There is a funny scene in Fiddler on the Roof, during the opening number, “Tradition” when the villagers are arguing “It was a horse; it was a mule; horse/mule/horse/mule…”
We have a Morgan, Mica, and this has become one of his theme songs. Visually, he is a stunning representative of the breed, striking the quintessential pose without cue, luxurious mane and tail, conformation and balance, black with a thin white blaze. Sighs and murmurs follow in his wake, he is that gorgeous.
But we think he had his ears docked, and maybe a brow job, because inside this handsome gelding is the heart and mind of a mule plain and simple. Mica is smart, really smart. We can see the cogs turning in his equine brain. We watch him try to pick locks. Outsmart us. Find the easy way home.
And self-preservation. Mica does not want to cause bodily injury to himself. We have witnessed him back into stacked fencing, while refusing to go where he should.
Where mere horses might have panicked and started kicking or flailing, Mica stops, thinks, the delicately extricates his feet from harm, still refusing to go up the trail. In refusing, he has gone over cliffs, up banks and into trees, never bolting, bucking or injuring himself.
Along with his many refusals to ‘work’, the word stubborn, let me say that again, STUBBORN comes to mind. We can not count the miles man and horse/mule have lounged on the trail. Like a pocket round pen. My husband has shown impossible depths of patience—I am in awe. Not to mention dizzy from all the circling.
Despite all this mayhem in and out of the saddle, Mica has got the kindest eye. He is sweet and friendly, not a malicious bone in his body. He never bears a grudge for all the ‘work’ we try and get out of him. We laugh ourselves silly over his antics. He has that much horsenality.
Vocalizations-is it a Morgan or mule thing to talk so much? Mica truly believes the world is entitled to his opinion and he shares it body and voice. Grunts, groans, sighs, exhalations. Aristotle on the trail; the great equine philosopher. Charlie McCarthy to my husband’s Ed Bergen.
We have been half owners of Mica (now 7) for almost 10 months. With my husband’s continuous tenacity, saintly patience and his own stubbornness, Mica has gone from crying, whining, shaking, sweating, diarrhea and constant refusals (Russ too!), to realizing he will not meet with some foul and devious end out on the trail. If nothing else, he is learning it is easier to walk down the trail than lounge it.
Russ and Gabe are the only people fit and capable to ride this fine specimen, and Mica may prove to be a one or two man horse. He is well on the way to becoming a truly great trail horse/mule. Maybe one day he will again deem me worthy of a ride.
So, the burning question, is he a horse or a mule?