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Remembering Blackjack


By Amanda McGee

We had to say good-bye to Blackjack in mid-September. He was the pony little girls dream about: fierce, brave, strong, and loving. He was our daughter’s best friend for years and then went on to be a source of joy for so many others. He had more personality than any animal I’ve ever seen. He was exactly what our family needed and he fit perfectly with the wacky craziness that abounds in our house.

He won Oak Grove Hunt Club’s Horse (Pony?) of the Year award in 2014 and, for years, was faster than every other horse out there and unwaveringly brave. He gave pony rides and hugs; he learned to open our doors and demand treats; he went to church, and to the opera. He was one well-rounded guy.

When we thought he was in his 30s, it turns out he was more likely in his early 50s. I can’t imagine how many other children he taught, how many houses he broke into, or how many hearts he warmed in that half century. It’s been several weeks since he left and we keep looking for him to be sleeping on a dog bed on the back porch and sharing our apple cores with him. We miss you Blackjack and we will always be grateful to the magical childhood you gave our daughter.

Publisher’s Note: BlackJack was a pony with an indomitable personality. He was independent, as most ponies are, but willing to do anything he was asked, no matter how strange. He was used by Opera Memphis as a supernumerary on stage in several operas (see MSHR article March 2020 issue, as well as in Church nativity scenes.

His preferred “run in shed” was the McGee’s covered back porch, where he would sleep on the wooden deck next to the back door. Guests were often warned to keep the door closed, less Blackjack would walk right in and make himself at home.  He was so cute that no one could walk past him with giving him a hug and a pet.

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