• Kate Richards

Crazy Horse: The Warrior, the Strip Club and that Grey

Crazy is a word that really cuts to the chase. Crazy is also a word that has implications ranging from the passionate to the batshit, depending on where one is from, where they work and the intention in the context that it is exclaimed, as in “crazy about that girl” or “she is so crazy that she is 3 fries short of a Happy Meal.” Where I am from…it can be a term of endearment or to describe as in he is crazy about that dog to indicate enthusiasm or a clinical concern as in being described as three shades of crazy. And where I am from, there is a high tolerance of the clinical variety. No hiding of any form of crazy malady as we love anything involving medical terminology and practice-diagnosing. It is no small wonder that southerners love web.md and pharmaceutical paperback guides. It has been that way since Coca-Cola was invented as a medicinal elixir.

Crazy Horse was an infamous Oglala Lakota Sioux warrior who did some major damage to “Gen. Blond Ambition” Custer as well as in other battles, when his tribe’s hunting lands were threatened.  The origins of his name, his actual status within his tribal sect and his recorded photographs have long been debated. His monolithic stone image that has begun to rise from the Black Hills of South Dakota is a reminder of the legends that spring from his life of a mere 33 years.

Crazy Horse was called Tashunka as a little boy and was born with oddly lighter skin and curly hair, qualities that made him different to other children and somewhat excluded. His early prowess as a horseman leveled the playground, however, and his father awarded him the hereditary name of Crazy Horse.

He was the third male of his family to carry the name, which translates into “horse-is-crazy” in Lakotan. Where I am from that would carry three sticks or the third. So actually…he was Crazy Horse III. His younger brother, called “High Horse” was killed in his teens. A shy as well as a strikingly handsome man, he was an architect of ride-byes and strategic battle formations yet adhered to the values of his father, to provide for others before himself. C3 rode a pinto called Inyan (rock/stone) bare-chested and with a lightning bolt painted on his face, a stone stuck behind his ear and with curly dark hair loosened to his waist. Even more exotic was the scar on his face dealt him by the jealous husband of a tribal woman. Tribal elders stripped Crazy Horse of his warrior shirt as punishment for that assignation and in doing so made his greek god-like appearance even more menacing to the white soldiers that lived to recount a Crazy Horse attack. I would cast Henry Cavil with extensions and a spray tan for this biopic. After all, Henry played Superman so this is appropriate with the abs and all.

Evidently…he was something of a mystic and believed in his dreams. His cousin Black Elk was interviewed extensively by John G. Neihardt in a book published in 1932 which recounts the dreams Black Elk claims that CH 3 shared about riding a shadow horse that danced;

      “…the trees and the grass and everything were made of spirit, and nothing was hard…everything seemed to float. His horse was made only of shadow and that is how he got his name, which does not mean that his horse was crazy or wild…it danced around.”


One of the raciest legacies of the name of ‘crazy horse’ also relies on the vision of one Parisian showman named Alain Beulaine, who opened a nightclub in 1951 dedicated to avant-garde burlesque. His dreams were of magic and beautiful women, and a certain Indian warrior. His club and spin-off Las Vegas revue reflect the original concept. The uniqueness of the “Le Crazy Horse” brand is that all of the women are almost indistinguishable. All of their lady parts as well as their height were matched excepting in the 1990’s, there was more of a skin color infusion. Diversity. One is more conscious of the staging…or at least I was. Yes…I went there on a vacation with a husband. No Eiffel Tower for me…got to hit the Crazy Horse where a glass of wine costs about $25. So ashamed. Yet these dancers were so well formed that there was an element of menace and wonder for the female audience. I would imagine that those pasty white Calvary soldiers encountering the real Crazy Horse had a similar primal reaction. Nekkid can be beautiful and scary. And that was Monsieur Beulaine’s intent.

The phrase crazy horse can mean a few more things other than a depiction of a certain grey horse that is running in Belmont Stakes 2016. Lani. That colt has garnered some fans in the last few weeks. We were introduced to Lani in the Dubai G2 qualifier for the Kentucky Derby and the grey having won was shipped into Churchill Downs complete with his Japanese trainer, jockey, groom and exercise rider. The son of Tapit, Lani’s dam is by 1989 Kentucky Derby winner, Sunday Silence, and is owned by Japanese magnate, Mr. Koji Maeda. Lani beguiled the fans and the media with his “I will or I won’t” and “vant-to-be-alone” demeanor. The last misanthropic Japanese owned horse that we witnessed during Derby week in Kentucky was the eventual Derby winner, Fusaichi Pegasus…like Lani, fast and hard-headed. Are there language issues on the backside of the track? hmmm.

Well, Lani, a handsome light grey colt, is in isolation at Belmont Park and is living up to his Ribot/Northern Dancer pedigree, yet turning in some reasonable works. Another one of Tapit’s progeny showing up and showing off in Elmont is the bucking-boy Creator. I remember a certain other goof-ball that I used to root for on the track by the name of Gate Dancer. That horse was dead fast…in all directions. Yet once this helmeted warrior turned his attention towards his business, he was very fine.

Sooo…let’s consider Lani, the crazy horse, as the sleeper in this year’s Belmont.

And just maybe, once Lani has won…he will have earned the right to be called eccentric. Where I am from that means crazy… with money.


Top Story Image by A.E. Sabo at www.offthepace.net


Neihardt, J.G. (1932) Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux. William Morrow & Company Publishing, 

NY Debates on photographs & name https://www.indians.org/welker/crazyhor.htm


2 lrg. Avocadoes, peeled, pitted and mashed

2 dark Hershey bars (chop 1, melt 1)

1 cup white sugar

1 tbs. brown sugar

2 tbs cocoa

2 large eggs

1 sm. Box instant white choc. Pudding mix

¾ cup flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

3 tbs avocado oil

Preheat oven 350. Melt 1 bar of chocolate and set aside. Crack eggs into a small bowl, wisk and set aside. Sift pudding mix, flour, powder, soda & salt. Set aside.

Spray or butter a brownie pan.

Using electric mixing bowl, combine melted chocolate and avocadoes and mix until smooth, add sugars and mix again. Scrap down the sides of the bowl. Alternately add eggs with the dry ingredients. Mix lightly (to avoid toughness). Add avocado oil and mix until just evenly distributed. Remove bowl from stand and stir in Hershey bar pcs. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until center is set. Cool. Frost.


1 avocado, mashed

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tbs vanilla                            

Whisk together until smooth. Crazy & tasty.

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