Dancing Morgans Story

Simply put, I simply love my Morgan Mares. I just do. Currently I own five (or six) Morgan mares if you count the one mare that lives with a teenage girl about two miles away from home.

I use my mares at home on the ranch. These mares earn their shoes. They pull carriages for weddings here on the ranch. I used to take them out in the other villages and towns for weddings away from the ranch, but the traffic over the last ten years has increased to the point where the horses are good, but the auto drivers are not so careful.

In the past and in the future, I feed cattle in the winter with a hay wagon pulled by my pairs of mares. There is nothing more peaceful and useful as driving a wagon full of hay: bumping over the winter ground followed by cattle ready for dinner. No diesel fuel to buy and using the horses for a real job and getting the cattle fed at the same time is wonderful for the soul.

Four of these mares have been used in the local stockyards to turn the cattle into the pens as the cattle come off the scales. The job is tricky and dangerous. In the summer it is hot and dusty and loud. In winter the job is cold and slick and loud. One mare, Mercersbird, can do the job without me. I truly believe that I could get off her and she would know the routine perfectly.

Behind every horse and every person is a story. Here is mine. In 1997, my only child, my daughter Sarah, then nineteen years old, was waiting, by the side of the road, behind the white line, to cross the road so she could continue jogging down a trail. She was hit by a speeding car and killed instantly. My world collapsed at the instant of her death. I lost my past, present and future. I became deeply depressed and very suicidal. Several months after her death, I stood on a chair in my barn with a rope around my neck. Just as I was ready to step off the chair into death, my dogs came around the corner. I could not kill myself in front of my dogs. I removed the rope from around my neck and stepped off the chair into life instead of joining my child in the world of death.

My friend, Diane Berto, knew that I was looking for a pair of Black Morgan mares to train to drive as a pair. She called me the day after I stepped of the chair and told me about the mares in an ad in the Capital Press. I called about them and purchased them sight unseen.

I didn’t usually purchase what I call ” mail order brides”, but at least half of my mares do come to me sight unseen. Sometimes my purchases work and sometimes the purchases do not work. I have about the same amount of luck with the mares that I purchase when I go and look at them. These purchase methods might just reflect my ability (or lack there of) choosing horses. Anyway, back to the Black Mares…they were pretty much wild and were about 4 to 5 years old. They are half sisters born of different mares – same father- four days apart. I have gentled these mares and practiced with them over a period of six years. I call them Bob (wheeler) and Valentine (leader). Their registered names are Rockway Razah 0133825 and Rockway Queen Nativa 013384.

I developed a Performance called the “Dancing Morgans”. I met a woman named Nancy Savage. She liked the dance. Nancy and her husband Tom Savage took me under their wing and encouraged me to perform at the Western States Horse Expo in 2002. What a journey that was. I was like a goose in the new world. Then Nancy said we needed to make videos and I needed a website. Tom gave me an old computer. I got a web sight. I got email. Nancy got me bookings. The Mares and I danced all over California and had a wonderful time. Nancy encouraged me to teach her Stallion, “Farceur’s Fool’s Gold” and Tom’s stallion, “Juvat” the dance. I taught them to dance and we caught it on our “Dancing Morgans Tape”. They are beautiful to watch. These stallions are so handsome to have as dance partners.

With the guidance of Pat Patterson, my producer, we made the videos. We made four videos in a year. Phew! Talk about hard work and very long hours. I have had lots of good help. Making videos is a winter project. I have to write a script and Pat directs and runs the camera. We draft others to run other cameras. Then Pat does all the editing. I went over to his studio and marveled at the amount of creative energy that it takes to edit videos. He is an extraordinarily talented man. Luckily for me I met Pat when he filmed a program about me and carriage driving for our local Rogue Valley Community Television several years ago. He is a real professional and a pleasure to work with and for. His productions of “the Dancing Morgans” and my “Teaching Tape One” have been on RFD_TV Nation Wide several times as have been my performances at Western States Horse Expo. The tapes are available at www.carts-carriages.com or writing to me at Carts-Carriages for Hire, Inc. 2890 Alta Vista Road, Eagle Point, Or. 97524 541-826-5998 they are also available at www.hazelwoodsts.com which will give you chance to see Farceur’s Fools Gold and Juvat.

Traveling is very hard work. I have four people who replace me while I am gone from my ranch. One of them is a great lady who even lets my little dog sleep with her while I am gone. My fields get watered. My yards get mowed. If I am gone for a week …I loose 56 hours of my working time on the ranch. Traveling is difficult and requires many hours of planning the routes and stops I need to make along the way. I go with four horses and two dogs. I really am not alone.

The time I spend learning from and teaching these mares to dance is incredible journey for me. Their legs become my legs. We move together. Their bodies become my body. We move together. Their power becomes my power. Their grace becomes my grace. Their swiftness becomes my swiftness. Our minds communicate the chorography of what we are about to do. We enter the arena and the music begins. We dance.

The dance is beautiful, but dangerous. The stages (arena) change with every performance. Sometimes the footing is slick and lethal. My horses and I must dance together. We move with precision at high speeds. The mares must be soft in my hands. I am 55 years old and not very big. They can pull me out of the saddle. Soft, soft, soft without fear to produce beauty in a dance comes from hours of practicing with the tiniest parts to create one step at a time. I dance without a watch. I dance with joy. Come learn how to dance with us. Learn how to dance with you silent partners. We dance the dance of life. I dance for my lost daughter.

The Dancing Morgans have literally changed and saved my life.
The crystal ball of the future is always an unknown. Where we go and whom we meet awaits us all. I only hope that we have the opportunity to dance into your future with our future. We are all partners in this Dance of Life

8 Responses to Dancing Morgans Story

  1. Linda says:

    Wonderful story and it just shows how God is in the business of intervening as we need help.
    Carole, you should perform at the Regionals in Redmond, Oregon. I am not a part of the showing but surely would love to see more demonstrations as to how our Morgans are so versatle and smart to work with. Hopefully we will see you more often in the Morgan shows. They are missing out if you do not come!

  2. Linda says:

    I just found that my horse had calcified side bones and she is 7 years old. Her feet are good sized and she hasn’t done that much work. I would appreciate anyones information on sidebones with the Morgan horse. What genetic flaw might that be. Should I breed this mare?

  3. Jeff Wilding says:

    It is amazing what compels people to do things. Some good and some bad. You had a great motivation to do either and thank heavens your dogs were sent to motivate you to do good. Keep up the good work.

  4. Paula Schell says:

    Wow!!! What can I say. Another wonderful segment of the life of Carole Mercer.

  5. Leah Young says:

    What a beautiful story.God works in mysterious
    ways…

  6. kim Malloy says:

    LOVE HER – LOVE HER STORY!!!!!!!!

  7. kim Malloy says:

    WOULD LOVE TO GET CAROLE TO TELL US MORE OF HER EXPERIENCES. NO BODY KNOWS MORE ABOUT HORSES – AND HAS HAD MORE STORIES TO TELL!!!!

  8. Sabine says:

    thank you for your sharing with us.
    I´m so glad that you came to Europe and that I was alloud to met you.
    We saw your DVD´s – without words.
    Carole, you are a horsewoman
    thank you for all

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