Many people find it a shock that the university’s mascot, Peruna, is a Shetland pony.
Standing with Peruna before games, I have heard countless times that Peruna is not a real horse or a real mustang. To set the record straight, he is both.
Shetland ponies are a breed of horse and a mustang is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a wild or unbroken horse.” Peruna is both of these. Contrary to popular belief a “mustang” is not a particular breed, but a general term for any wild horse.
Peruna has received a lot of scrutiny lately and he is in danger of no longer being the SMU mascot. There are many at our university, both students and faculty, who would like to see SMU purchase a full size horse to be present at the football games.
In my opinion this is simply unacceptable. What would we do with a full size horse? We would not be able to run it across the field like Peruna. The first game of this season Peruna got away from the handlers and was loose on the field for a period of time. Can you imagine what a full size horse would do? If someone were to ride a large horse around the stadium, it would completely defeat the purpose of a mustang and would make us too similar to the Texas Tech Red Raiders. We would be left with a highly sedated horse standing in a pen near the end zone.
The biggest argument against keeping Peruna is that he is small and not very intimidating. Please consider the fact that Peruna is the only mascot to have killed another mascot. Peruna sent a fatal kick to the head of the Fordham Ram making Peruna the nation’s deadliest mascot. Or think of the time that Peruna kicked the University of Texas longhorn in the stomach sending mighty Bevo to the ground.
More recently a very excited Peruna attempted to mount the Texas Tech horse. Our mascot is named after an alcoholic beverage from the Prohibition era, “Peruna Tonic.”
Larger horses would not be able to navigate the Boulevard the way Peruna does. Although he is fierce on the field he is very friendly around people and children. Before each game he walks along the Boulevard and makes stops at tents and takes countless pictures.
If we were to get rid of Peruna for a full size horse we would lose one of the best traditions at our school. The last eight Perunas have served SMU since 1932, making Peruna one of the most recognizable features of the SMU.
My fellow Mustangs, I am asking you, the student body, to support Peruna the way Peruna has supported SMU for more than 75 years. That can be done by friending him on Facebook, visiting him at the football games or even by writing a letter to President Turner telling him how much you love Peruna. If you love our mascot as much as I do you will not allow SMU to replace Peruna with another horse.
Jake Torres is a sophomore English, Spanish and education triple major. He can be reached for comment at email@example.com.