Chestnut Mare Lyrics - The Byrds

Review The Song (7)



Written by Roger McGuinn and Jacques Levy

Always alone never with a herd
Prettiest mare I've ever seen
You'll have to take my word

I'm gonna' catch that horse if I can
And when I do I'll give her my brand

Well I was up on Stony Ridge after this chestnut mare
I'd been chasin' her for weeks
Oh, I'd catch a glimpse of her every once in a while
Takin' her meal, or bathin
A fine lady

This one day I happened to be real close to her
I saw her standin' over there
So I snuck up to her nice and easy
And I got my rope out
And I flung it in the air

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I'm gonna' catch that horse if I can
And when I do I'll give her my brand
And we'll be friends for life
She'll be just like a wife
I'm gonna' catch that horse if I can

Well I got her, and I'm pullin' on her, she's pullin' back
like a mule goin' up a ladder
I take this chance and I jump up on her
Damned if I don't land right on top of her
Well she takes off, runnin' up on to that ridge
Higher than I've ever been before
She's runnin' along just fine, till she stops
Something spooked her
It's a sidewinder, all coiled and ready to strike
She doesn't know what to do for a second
But then she jumps off the edge
Me holding on

Above the clouds
Higher than eagles were gliding
Suspended in the sky

Over the moon
Straight for the sun we were riding
My eyes were filled with light

Behind us black walls
Below us a bottomless canyon
Floating with no sound

Gulls far below
Seemed to be suddenly rising
Exploding all around

I'm gonna' catch that horse if I can
And when I do I'll give her my brand
And we'll be friends for life
She'll be just like a wife
I'm gonna' catch that horse if I can

And we were falling down this crevice, about a mile down I'd say!
I look down and I see this red thing below us
Comin' up real fast and it's our reflection in a little pool of water
About six feet wide, and one foot deep
Crawling down right through it
We hit and we splashed it dry
That's when I lost my hold and she got away
But I'm gonna' try to get her again some day


I'm gonna' catch that horse if I can
And when I do I'll give her my brand
And we'll be friends for life
She'll be just like a wife
I'm gonna' catch that horse
I'm gonna' catch that horse
I'm gonna' catch that horse if I can
I'm gonna' catch that horse if I can






Click here to submit the Corrections of Chestnut Mare Lyrics
You're being played!! | Reviewer: SJS truckin@twcny.rr.com | 12/7/12

I guess you hopeless Romantics need enlightenment. Here goes. Roger seems to be in touch with his feminine side. Now if a girl wrote about this kind of horse lusting nobody would say boo. All that aside just google his coauthor. He's some kind of a Shrink talking about eating, bathing, a rope she's pulling on, jumping on her, snales, taking a leap and falling into the abyss, the sun & the moon, staring down surroundedby black and crawing to the red, splashing it dry, and finally loosing your rope.
I never met a Shrink that didn't need a Shrink. Shrink's come in two types, Freaudian & Skinnerian. If he/she is a Freaudian they can't help themselves from thinking like this and it's more than probable they never did acid. If he/she is a Skinnerian they can have some fun with this and call the local radio station and dedicate it to their rival Freaudians with the added comment choke on "this"!(not a Freaudian slip) I think that maybe I'm dreaming.......

Sexual allegory | Reviewer: Anony-moose | 9/9/12

I always heard these lyrics as a not-so-subtle allegory for an attempted sexual conquest -- the narrator pursuing a beautiful woman, who is symbolized by the horse. Funny that no one else ever seems to mention this interpretation, which seems really obvious to me.

Chestnut Mare | Reviewer: Richard Niege | 7/31/12

I'm very sorry that some college gave a paper on this an A++ - the music to this song is sublime but the lyrics are woeful. Example: 'she'll be just like a wife' - referring to a horse! I've always loved this song but I suspect the other Byrds were laughing their heads off and just said "sure - that'll be fine". Essentially, if you reject any potential esoteric symbolism, which is really not apparent - a guy falls in love with a horse - end of story.

Byrd Lover | Reviewer: Doug Hood | 10/12/11

It is a beautiful song and you can read into it WHAT YOU WANT. I wrote a paper about it in my Western Lit class in college. I inerpreted as a Roger McQuinn BRYDS eye view of trying to find yourself and your destiny...really has nothing to do about a horse!! I got an A++ for the paper...I looked down and saw this red thing below us...our reflection in a little pool of water...

So Good! | Reviewer: Byrd Watcher | 5/18/11

Don't listen to the other review-this is a true classic. Its a long song because McGuinn originally wrote it for a play that never ending up seeing the light up day, and eventually he decided to record it with the Byrds. If you want to read bestiality into it...well, fine, that's what your mind gets out of, but its really just a beautiful song about a bygone time and the connection between man and nature. Beautiful 12-string picking by McGuinn and acoustic fills by Clarence White.

why?! | Reviewer: Nobody Special | 2/26/08

I grew up digging the Byrds' folk-rock, and their covers of Dylan were ace, but what is THIS? the chorus itself is bad enough but this song is way too long to say way too little (apart from: this guy better not live where bestiality is illegal, until he decides whether he wants to ride that horse or - ahem - 'ride' it).

hmmm .... if a mule is the offspring of a mare and a donkey, what do you call the offspring of a mare and a byrd?

I know a proper review means I should look closer at the lyrics and the song structure and what-not, but when I actually think of the words --!

this song gives a bad name to 'drug-music'.

Why?! | Reviewer: Nobody Special | 2/26/08

I grew up digging the Byrds' folk-rock, and their covers of Dylan were ace, but what is THIS? the chorus itself is bad enough but this song is way too long to say way too little (apart from this guy better not live where bestiality is illegal, until he decides whether he wants to ride that horse or - ahem - 'ride' it).

hmmm .... if a mule is the offspring of a mare and a donkey, what do you call the offspring of a horse and a byrd?

this song gives a bad name to 'drug-music'.



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------ Performed by The Byrds

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------ 09/18/2014

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