Col. Potter leading Sophie for a walk around the camp in "The Colonel's Horse" (Season 5 Episode #12)
|Job/Role in Unit:||personal horse of the Commanding Officer|
|Home:||Korea- MASH 4077th and Orphanage.|
|Hair Color:||Chestnut with white blaze|
|Born:||approximately 4 years before introduction|
|First appeared in:||"Dear Mildred" (Season 4)|
|Last appeared in:||"Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"|
|Appeared on/or in:||M*A*S*H|
|Played by:||various horses|
Sophie was the name of Col. Potter's horse who first appeared in Season 4 "Dear Mildred". Throughout the run of the show until the last episode, Sophie, a mare, was played by various horses, sometimes males, sometimes female.
Sophie first appears in Season 4 "Dear Mildred". A helicopter pilot lands in the MASH and asks Hawkeye, BJ and Radar if they have a sharpshooter. The pilot had just spotted an injured horse and wants to shoot it. Radar refuses to allow this to happen and persuades the two doctors to attempt to rescue and treat the horse.
With much difficulty and misadventure, the horse is successfully roped and treated for shrapnel wounds. Radar hides the horse in the motor pool but the doctors tell him he is unlikely to be allowed to keep it as a pet. Fortunately, it is Potter's wedding anniversary, and Radar has the bright idea of presenting the horse to the Colonel as a present--that way Radar will get to help look after it. Potter is delighted with the gift--to him, slipping on its manure is like "a tip toe through the tulips". However, in a continuity error, Potter refers to the horse as a "he". In later episodes, the horse is female.
In Season 5 "Bug Out", Potter is seen riding on Sophie while leading the MASH convoy during the bug out and its subsequent return. Later, in "The Colonel's Horse", Sophie falls sick while the Colonel is on leave in Tokyo. The whole camp chips in to help treat the horse, which had been left in Radar's care. This episode is also the first in which the name "Sophie" is heard.
In Season 6 "Temporary Duty" B.J. and Winchester are desperate to get rid of Captain Roy DuPree who has just applied to be posted permanently to the 4077th MASH, so they devise a plan to trick the drunken DuPree to ride Sophie in the middle of the night without Potter's knowledge. This angers Potter so much that he orders DuPree off the camp immediately and permanently.
In Season 7 "The Price" Radar and Potter discover that Sophie has gone missing. She turns up the next day being ridden by a man dressed in full Korean military regalia. At first Potter is surprised and annoyed. But it turns out that the rider is Mr. Pak, the camp laundryman, who was actually a Korean cavalry officer who has fallen on hard times. Feeling depressed, he had taken Sophie to forget his humiliation and remember the old days when he was treated with respect. Dismounting Sophie, Mr. Pak begins to shamble away but Potter is so touched by the sight that he generously decides to give the horse to Mr. Pak. "This horse means as much to me as any animal I've ever owned. But she means more to your father," he tells Mr. Pak's daughter. Mr. Pak passes away the next evening, and his daughter returns Sophie to the camp, thanking Potter for allowing her father a last moment of happiness.
In the Season 10 episode "Wheelers and Dealers", Col. Potter receives a traffic citation and is required to take a remedial driving course taught by Sgt. Rizzo. At the tail end of the episode, Potter has to visit another unit, but instead of driving (and risking another ticket), we see him in full cavalry garb riding Sophie down the road and saying, "Giddyup, Sophie, and no speeding!"
When the war ended, Col. Potter lamented not being able to bring Sophie back to the United States. Instead, she was donated to the orphanage where Father Mulcahy volunteered--on the provision that Sophie be used for work, not food.
(work in progress)