The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Growing up on Tuggles Creek - King of the Road

By YKW © 1984

Issue: February, 1984

growing up on tuggles creekLeft - YKW mounted on King. Right - Loy Harris on Diamond. This photo was taken "goin' a courtin'" around 1921.This is a story about a horse - a horse that was almost human and loved by all our family as if he were.

When we first acquired “Old King” he would break and jump and come down stiff legged like a western horse with rodeo experience. However, he soon became a very smart, gated saddle horse.

He had only one failing, his passionate love for his “home,” a stable in our barn. He did not like being tied up anywhere else and went to all length to let us know it by pawing the earth, weaving side to side and knickering constantly.

I used to ride him when I went courting and he never failed to let me know it was time to go home. On a few occasions he managed to get loose and headed home, leaving me to walk several miles to get home. But, knowing his love for home, I always forgave him.

When Dad retired from his mail route, he traded Old King off to someone. I never knew just who. Anyway, as the story goes, someone started using him as a draft horse - which he must of deeply resented. It was said that he dropped dead of a heart attack while gallantly trying to pull his part of a load. He died in harness, something like the tradition of the western gunman who “died with his boots on.”