Have you ever really read all the lyrics to Old Gray Mare song? You can, through the courtesy of the Mississippi State University Library & they’re in PDF format.
There were a lot more lyrics than the ones you think you knew. 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 the lyrics. 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 the conclusion is that as they age, horses & female humans are worthless because they just got old.
About Getting Older
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 good to ponder. 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 To Count?
Now I’m bored with counting the numbers & years. I still love rock ‘n roll & no, I don’t just listen to the oldies stations. I love the new bands out there and love it when can sing along to the tunes my grandkids think are cool. Most of all, I’m still as horse crazy as ever & I 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 horse, who doesn’t seem to know what old means either. However, jumping unless necessary IS off the menu!
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 don’t seem to mind either!
Sheet music can be found at Sheet Music Direct