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Apollo, God of Ice Cream Cones


by Pam Gamble
Many mid-southerners have visited the commercial carriage companies in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. The horses seem so mild mannered as they nap while waiting for the next customer.  Non-horse people might mistake their body language as “being tired,” but horse people know better.  The horses are displaying complete relaxation and acceptance of their urban environment. 

If you look closly at the Belgians, the “want- to-be” Palominos, you might see one horse with more than a few stories to tell. Apollo, named after the Eqyptian sun god, stands about 16 hh and is a little lighter built than others. His lineage is speculative at best, but it is thought that he is crossed with a Quarter Horse. What does it really matter if he is registered?  The mutts are the best!

From Apollo's early days, he has always been quite a character. Even though he is accepting of his job, with a good work ethic, he occasionally reminds his people, in no uncertain terms, that horses are not machines! 

When Apollo was still a new horse on the street, his driver would always swing by an ice cream shop on warm afternoons.  She would buy an ice cream cone for herself and one for Apollo. We are told that Apollo's favorites were the ones that had been dipped in chocolate.  This became a tradition as the summer waned, and the tradition continued until events transpired on one fateful summer evening. 

Apollo was parked at the Peabody Hotel, when a floppyhatwearing, little dog walking, ice-cream cone eating group of  tourists came up the sidewalk.  They were unaware that the eye of the Sun God had turned toward them and that tribute was due.  Apollo stepped onto the sidewalk and pinned the terrified group against a photo of Elvis Presley, which was displayed in a nearby plate glass window.  As Apollo grabbed  an ice-cream cone and slowly retreated to his position on the curb, the driver stood open-mouthed, watching the events as they unfolded!  After that, Apollo was never bought another ice cream cone!      

Apollo is also known as a Houdini horse. He is able to open any latch, bolt, etc., and if he is in the mood to kick up his heels in the courtyard, nothing seems to stop him. One morning when the barn manager arrived to feed, Apollo was found dragging all of the trash out of the dumpster and methodically placing each piece of cardboard around him until he seemed to be floating on a sea of trash. Apparently it was one ton of fun!

Apollo is also a horse who can sleep through an entire fireworks display from two blocks away, but is suspicious of the light on your cell phone.  What a character!

If you are in downtown Memphis, ask to pet Apollo.  You may pay homage to him, but don't bring an ice cream cone.  Let sleeping gods lie!

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