In 1932, SMU found its mascot in a 150-pound Shetland Pony who we named Peruna. Since then, SMU has had nine Peruna’s and the current Peruna turned nine on April 15th. Many stories surround this small mascot. Peruna is the most deadly macot in the NCAA after he kicked the Fordham ram in the head many years ago. Peruna’s name is also derived from Perunatonic, a medicine that contained alcohol in it and was popular during the prohibition era. But here are some stories and facts about Peruna and his Handlers that you might not know.
There are currently seven Peruna Handlers. All of them are current undergraduate students who have a wide variety of majors. Two of the Handlers (Captain Adam Price and Charlie Albright) are graduating at the end of this semester after three years on the team, so there will be two spots open for incoming students this fall. Every Handler has been bitten multiple times by Peruna, and most have been kicked. Over the past two years, no Peruna Handler has fallen while running Peruna across the field, but it has happened many times before. Tryouts are held annually at the beginning of the fall semester, so if you are interested in becoming a Handler, keep an eye out for an email giving location and a time.
The best-kept secret on SMU’s campus is the location of where Peruna lives. The Handlers are the only students on campus who have knowledge of his stable. It is kept secret after the University of Texas at Austin claimed to have stolen and shaved Peruna. This ended up just being a random Shetland Pony, but ever since then, Peruna has been under high security.
When coming to the Hilltop, the chances are still high that you will see Peruna. He attends convocation, special events, football games, and more. He runs the length of the football field after every touchdown and boulevards for at least 2 hours prior to every game. If you see him, come up and say hi, he loves taking photos.
See you on the Hilltop and Pony Up!