The Copper Pot Pony; by Carole Mercer

The following is a story written by our blog friend, Carole Mercer, who submitted many great stories earlier this year. Carole has been very busy farming this summer but was able to send this story to me to post:

The Copper Pot Pony

This story starts about 25 years ago when I first move to Southern Oregon. Money is tight as the economy is in a downturn somewhat similar to the economic downturn happening today.

I buy a ranch and set about to live my life long dream as a “cowgirl/rancher/ farmer hand” on my own ranch. I love my new life and I love my job, but I find myself always short of money. I begin to do some “horse trading” to stretch my income and help the out flow of dollars from owning a ranch. I dabble in quarter horses, but my heart is with Morgans. I begin to dabble in Morgans and find out that I can buy, train and sell Morgans as long as the horse is a “Classical Morgan”. I buy and sell two to four horses a year. I am not a big time operation. I just get the horses going really well and then sell them.

This side line brings me to a couple of horses that I will call “Chuck “and “Samson.” These two hoses have lots of Brunk and UVM breeding in their background. Samson is black and Chuck is the color of a shiny copper pot.

A friend who lives in La Pine calls me one morning and says.

“Carole, there are two Morgans over here that this guys wants to sell.”

“Are they broke?” asks I.

“Nope. But they do lead and you might be able to get them into a trailer.”
“OK. “Says I. “How much?”

“Not much. You might even be able to trade something.” Says my friend.

Please remember that this conversation is taking place almost 25 years ago and Oregon and especially La Pine, Oregon is still very rural and fairly Western. Horse trading is horse trading in every since of the word. A person could trade a material object and lead home a horse.

I call the number that my friend gives me.

“Hello.” I say. “I understand you have two Morgan geldings for sale. Are these horses registered and do you have the signed papers.” (This is a very important question to ask in the horse trading business.)

“Yes to both questions.” comes the answer.

I now commence to begin horse trading. “How much do you want for both horses?” The geldings are not babies. I will have my work cut out for me.

“I want a hundred dollars for both horses and papers.”

My heart breaks. I don’t have a hundred dollars. Plus I have to pay for the fuel to drive three hours from Eagle Point to La Pine, Oregon. I need money for fuel as well.

“Would you be willing to trade something for the horses?”

“Sure. What do you got?”
My eyes raced around the house. I had just picked up a huge copper pot at a yard sale for ten dollars. The pot is an antique and worth a considerable amount of money…maybe even two to three hundred dollars.

“I have my mother’s antique copper pot.” (At this moment in time, the pot became a family heirloom)

The guy on the other end of the phone says “Bring the pot and if I like it you can have the horses.”

I drive the three hour trip in my old pickup, hauling my old trailer.
I follow the directions to the guy’s house in La Pine. I see the horses. He sees the copper pot and I come home with the horses. The copper pot stays in La Pine. I don’t know what happens to the “family heirloom” copper pot. But I do know what happens to the two horses. The horses come home with me.

I sell the black horse to a neighbor who eventually sells the horse to someone else. At that point Samson disappears into the mists of ownerships.

Chuck on the other hand continues to resurface in my life for the next twenty five years.

I sell him to a trainer in California. That trainer sells him to another trainer who sells him to a lady named Nancy Summers.

She and Chuck fall in love with eachother. Nancy Summers boards the horse at another lady’s barn- Nancy Hazelwood Savage place in Sacramento, California. I don’t know either of these women at this time.

Then seven years ago I meet both women. Nancy Summers tells me how much she loves Chuck and thanks me for him. Chuck and Nancy win lots and lots of ribbons together.

I tell Nancy Savage the copper pot story, but we never tell Nancy Summers the story because she paid a lot of money for the horse. Chuck died about two years ago of old age. Nancy Summers died this summer.

I bought from her estate the western show saddle that she used on Chuck. The instant I step up on the stirrup and sit in the seat, that saddle fits me perfectly. I make no adjustment.

The copper pot horse has come full circle as I ride in the saddle that Nancy Summers used on Chuck. When I ride my “Western Ride and Drive” performance in Nancy Summers and Chuck’s western show saddle, I think that these performances all started with a copper pot.

8 Responses to The Copper Pot Pony; by Carole Mercer

  1. This sounds very familiar. That is the way that Carole Mercer and I met. I looked at a horse that Carole had at her ranch in Eagle Point when we lived in Loomis, California. She put me on the horse and we had a great trail ride on her ranch. Little did I know that that was the beginning of a friendship that lasted through the years. We are now in the midst of a wonderful time at our barn on Wednesdays where five women get together with their horses or mine and Carole trains us and we train our horses. So much fun as Carole is a gem of a teacher and she has been all over the globe taking lessons. Now, everyone is fluffy here but we have so much fun, we will continue our lessons. Time marches on. Her story is wonderful. We have had some copper pot stories of our own during the years!

  2. Kristi Hill says:

    Carole always brings tears to my eyes and sings to my spirit with her short stories. I can sit for hours and listen to her re-enactments of her daily life.
    Carole helped me to re-discover my joy for horses after a horse accident left me scarred emotionally. I am forever greatful and my sweet mare sugar bear thanks her too.
    XO Kristi Hill

  3. Margaret Gordon says:

    As a non-horsewoman, I always particularly appreciate the vivid picture Carole paints of Western life and values.

    I’m curious, however, about the past and future adventures of the copper pot. I bet it has a story to tell too – or maybe Carole can make one up.

  4. Lynda Hamilton says:

    I was so excited to see your name pop up on my email. I love your stories. They touch my heart!
    I thank you also for sharing your world and love of horses with me. I still get giddy each time I ride.

  5. Paula Schell says:

    You always have a place around our campfire. The stories we could tell about each other would have them rolling, but the best one was the day I bought my beautiful Morgan mare “Miss Sally”. She has been such a delight for the past 18 years, and I hope to have a lot more with her. Thank you for the memories and never give up your love of writing.

  6. Daniel Millard says:

    Another great story… It’s almost unreal how these horses and people and pots and saddles are all woven together in this big adventure of life. You are a wonderful teacher, story teller, writer, and friend. I miss you very much! Oh how I would love to come see you and take a sleigh ride and listen to the bells. You are a mystical, magical woman. I’m so blessed to know you!

    Luv Daniel

    p.s. didn’t Sarah and Kevin do some vaulting on Sally when we were kids?

  7. Mocha Mom says:

    Hi Carol,

    It’s great to hear from you again. I wondered what had happened to you over the summer. I was afraid that you had given up Above Level. It didn’t occur to me that you must have been busy too.

  8. Sabine says:

    dear Tante Carole,

    The story is wonderful.
    Wow, a family-pot for 2 horses and new wonderful friends and now you ride Nancy´s S. saddle on shows and you have her in great memories.
    I give your story to my friends her in Austria and Spain. They will enjoy it much.
    Thank you to have such a good friend and that you share a part of your life with us.
    I´m sad that you live overseas – very very far away from me here in Europe.


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