the Horse That Knew No Master
by Colonel S. Meek
This story is about a U.S. Army post that was stationed on the Panama Canal. The main characters are the officers at the post, but the horse is central to the story. Frog- so named because he has a habit of suddenly springing forward and unseating his rider- has such a bad reputation as a vicious horse, that he is going to simply be destroyed. A new man is transferred to the post who has a reputation as a very good horseman, he takes Frog on as a personal project. Under his hands the horse learns that not all men mean him harm, and comes to love his new master. The horse then acquires new skills- being taught to play polo, and is involved in many escapades. In one chapter he is used to ferret out a spy among the new recruits, in another his skills on the polo field convince a Major that the sport improves both men and horse, so it is not banned as a frivolous activity. He is involved in bringing a local madman under control, in getting rid of a lady who insists on using all the horses (to their harm), and undertakes a grueling midnight run to deliver a message- which his rider hopes will prove to the Army that horses are still useful and shouldn\’t be replaced by machines. He runs in a race, even while influenced by drugs (administered by a man who has a grudge against Frog\’s rider), and on another occasion carries an officer\’s daughter into the jungle to pick oranges, where he protects her from a poisonous snake. In all, lots of adventures, amusing dialogue and a bit of intrigue between the characters.
It\’s mostly about what life was like at the Calvary post, based on the author\’s experiences. Those men were very fond of chicken- any time a bet was laid, the winner got a free chicken dinner. It must have been an item hard to come by, or expensive? Beef steak was second choice to chicken! It\’s nice to know that in this story: the horse doesn\’t die. He isn\’t perfect either- he still has setbacks, is poorly treated by his new master once due to a misunderstanding, and acts out whenever new riders abuse him. He\’s a feisty one for sure. I liked this book enough I\’ll keep my eye out for any others by the same author I might come across.
I finished this one a few days ago, but had no time to sit down and write until now. From my e-reader.
Rating: 3/5 302 pages, 1933