Here they are – the lyrics & music to Old Gray Mare song. They are courtesy of the Mississippi State University Library & in PDF format. Did you know there were a lot more lyrics than the ones you think you know? In reality, if you dig into them, they tell a story about a pretty awesome old horse that did a LOT. But after really pondering the lyrics that most folks are familiar with, I honestly think they should read ALL of them. And, I’m left wondering why folks have embraced the sentiment & agree that the song presents a very negative view of older horses and, in our culture, is applied to older women as well.
The Old Gray Mare lyrics suggest that the correct conclusion is that as they age, horses & female humans are worthless because they got old. There is no denying that as we age, we physically are NOT the same as when we in our youth. However, I have a lot of first hand experience with older horses, and now that I’m over 50 too, I’ve learned something I think is valuable. After thinking about it, I’m very sure that it’s not a bad thing to BE an old gray mare. How about that?!
First of all, I don’t want to be as I used to be. I know I’m BETTER than I used to be. Do you remember turning 20? Pretty scary times, as you knew you had to launch yourself into the big bad world. 30? Well, I’m here but not exactly sure of my place in the world yet. 40 wasn’t so bad and for the first time, I thought I could really speak & act with authority. Then 50 came around & it wasn’t awful at all, despite the turning 50 negativity our world perpetrates about that particular birthday.
Who Needs Birthdays?
Now I’m beyond the time of counting the numbers & years. I still love rock ‘n roll & no, I don’t just listen to the oldies stations & love the new bands out there. Most of all, I’m still as horse crazy as ever & still ride – quite a lot. And not just a sedate walk on the trails but all gaits including full-on gallops with my 20-year-old mare, who doesn’t seem to know she’s older too.
If offered a young horse or an old horse to take home, I’d pick the old one first, hands down. They’ve been there, done that, and any problems are evident. It’s a choice of experience over “needs more training & miles”. Maybe I appreciate the value of experience more now that I’m older too. Years ago, when I chose to ride older horses, my riding improved dramatically too.
No matter what the song says, I disagree that old horses and older folks are worthless & past their prime. Old gray mares, horses AND women, are just plain better. The moral is that we’re still the same person inside, but better, I think, because our years on earth have given us wisdom that only comes from living. And old horses? They are certainly better too!