Spider-Man pointing at another Spider-Man, who is pointing back.

Everyone Loves Sugar, the Sleeping Horse That Just Doesn’t Want to Work (Same)

But is Sugar REAL?!
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This weekend, over a campfire, a fellow freelance worker and I reminisced on that fateful moment when pandemic unemployment just … stopped. For us, work hadn’t become easier to come by—quite the opposite. After a year and a half of … you know … intense, isolated reflection about what you want in your life and career, many workers had to backtrack their plans and resign themselves to low-wage jobs with long hours. All of this is to say: When the internet was presented with a horse who, when confronted with labor, lies down and refuses to get up, there was a resounding sentiment: “Same.”

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Jim Rose, of the Jim Rose Circus, shared the story of the horse in question. (If you watched the Travel Channel in the early 2000s, you might remember him. I did not watch the Travel Channel then or now, but he suddenly has my attention.) Sugar, according to Rose, “doesn’t like to be ridden. If Sugar is approached with a saddle she lyes [sic] down and pretends to be asleep. Sugar refuses to open her eyes until the riders leave.”

What’s incredibly important to understand here is that an adult horse can weigh between 800 and 2,000 pounds. If a horse flops over like this, you are not getting them back up. Only they will decide when to return to their duties. This shows ultimate power over your work life. As such, many people on Twitter flocked to the Sugar fan club. Sugar demands respect.


But here’s where the plot thickens. As the tweet above points out, apparently, horses don’t sleep lying down; they sleep standing up. Really, rather than pretending to be asleep to avoid work, this horse would be playing dead, which is even more amazing, I’d argue. Maybe Rose didn’t know the ins and outs of horse sleeping patterns, just like I didn’t. That’s fine. But if that incongruence makes you suspicious of the legitimacy of Sugar, you have good instincts. Lisa Hanawalt—the character designer from BoJack Horseman and creator of Tuca and Bertie—made a shocking discovery. Sugar is a stock photo! If her name is even Sugar at all!


Lest you get too upset, there is a real horse who refuses to be ridden by flopping to the ground. His name is Jingang. There is ample footage of his owner trying hop on Jingang’s back, and Jingang collapsing as soon as his foot hits the stirrup. Jingang is the real hero here. He is a special boy. All hail Jingang.


However, as Twitter user @fugnuggins (ahaha, oh people) points out: “Sugar is an idea and you can’t kill an idea.” fugnuggins is right. Obviously, the fiction of Sugar has struck a chord with the masses. It doesn’t matter if Sugar is a stock photo. Sugar remains in our hearts. And, for me, Jingang remains even louder in my heart.

(featured image: Disney)

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Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.