No matter what term is used to describe it, you can’t beat a big, stout usin’ horse.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not particularly hip, trendy or up with the times with most things—especially when it comes to cowboy terminology. Naturally, this will land me in an awkward situation once in awhile. Sometimes, when one of the “cool kids” throws a slang horse term my way, I’m unsure of how to react.
A while back, a fella walked up to me and told me that the horse I was sitting on sure was a “big, soggy colt.” I looked at him, blinked and didn’t know what sort of reaction to have. Soggy? Is that good or bad? At first listen, I assumed he meant my horse was bogged down and couldn’t move its feet (which was not true). But I didn’t know for sure. So, instead of asking him to explain himself, I just defaulted to my generic, friendly smile and replied “Yes sir, he sure is.”
Of course, hoping that the conversation wouldn’t escalate, I trotted off and figured I had to know what exactly constituted a soggy horse as soon as possible. I asked around and—thank goodness—was relieved to find out that it wasn’t an insult at all.
Now, unlike a milk-soaked piece of bread or a salad that has sat too long, the term “soggy” for a horse actually carries a positive connotation. Naturally, it conjures up the image of a poor old gelding left in a rainstorm, water running off of his forelock, dripping into his face, his body heavy and saturated with moisture. (At least it does for me.)
However, a soggy horse is one that is obviously heavy with muscle—very strong, thick and stout. If the term is describing a mare, you can bet her big frame and hardy self can carry and sustain a colt easily. If it’s describing a gelding, understand that he’s the type you would feel confident using to rope, dally and hold a big ol’ bull.
Where did this term come from? Well, rumor has it that is started back in the days of cattle drives, when the cooks would make bread for the hands in their dutch ovens. Often, the bread was doughy and undercooked—and the cowboys called it “soggy bread.” They bridged the term over to the strong, heavy horses that pulled the chuckwagon and worked tirelessly, dubbing them a beautiful “soggy.”
So heck, if you see a big, strong, ranchy-type horse that you would like to compliment, don’t be afraid to throw the term “soggy” its way. Who knows, you may even get a grin and expression of gratitude.
Just be sure to clarify that you mean the horse, and not the lady riding it.