Texas Tech’s longest-serving horse, Midnight Matador, dies after surgery

Midnight Matador

Very sad! Midnight Matador was well-known to many Texans. Texas Tech’s mascot since the 1950’s has been the Masked Rider. The horses that carry their mascot have always been held in great esteem. Midnight Matador represented Texas Tech from the age of 3 to 14 years of age – quite a long career. ~ HfH

From: Lubbock Avalanche Journal

Midnight Matador

Zach Long / A-J Media file photo
Longtime Texas Tech horse mascot Midnight Matador passed away Tuesday. Feeding Midnight Matador is Ashley Wenzel, Masked Rider for 2012-13.

Former Masked Rider recalls Matador’s personality, presence at Tech football games

Midnight Matador, the longest-serving horse in Texas Tech’s Masked Rider program, died Tuesday of complications from colic surgery.

Matador was the 13th horse in Tech’s Masked Rider program and served for 11 seasons — three more than any other Masked Rider horse, according to a news release from the university.

The horse mascot carried 11 riders from 2002-13, and it’s estimated Midnight Matador traveled more than 100,000 miles.

Bradley Skinner, Masked Rider in 2011 and 2012, fondly recalled his time with Matador before and after the horse’s retirement from the program.

“He had a personality,” Skinner said. “He liked to pick on people sometimes, not in a mean-spirited way, more of a way to entertain himself.

“He’d always test you, especially new riders, to see how much you knew.”

Skinner said Matador seemed to enjoy the attention that came with representing Texas Tech at football games and other events.

“In parades, at appearances — he was definitely a different horse than if I were riding him by myself,” Skinner said. “As soon as you get him in that football stadium, no matter how tired he was, he’d perk right up.”

Matador’s favorite part of the job seemed to be running across the field at the start of Tech football games.

“Of all the things that people remember about a Texas Tech game, they’ll always remember that run,” he said.

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
  • arlene

    Is there video of midnight matador Football field run, for those who have never witnessed it !!!!!!

    February 5, 2015
    • Posted by Habitat for Horses

      Here is a video from Midnight Matador’s retirement. Enjoy

      February 5, 2015
  • MS

    What a magnificent horse — it seems he had a beautiful, fun, cheeky and loving life — thank you to the humans who made this possible! I’m sorry that he passed away — I’m always sorry when great people and animals pass on … it’s very sad, deeply and poignantly sad …. I know they wanted to live, yet it seems they had to go …. I’m so sorry …..

    February 6, 2015