Helping Earl meant bring your best
horse to stay ahead of trouble,
especially in Sulphur, a mount

that could cross the brushy draws
and stand up in scree, I’d imagine
the night before my young dreams—

a bay gelding who could read
the minds of renegades at 200 yards,
or the boot-tough brown mare

from Rudnick’s broncs before him.
They spent their lives making me
more helpful than I was, in or out

of the corrals. It was always Western
and I’d wake to saddle in the dark,
to be on time for wild adventure, enough

for all spread across the watershed—
simultaneous, far-flung accounts
polished in the shade for future poetry.


3 responses to “ODE TO GOOD HORSES

  1. Lenore Brashear

    Oh, for a good horse in bad territory!!!
    I rode a GOOD cowhorse once. As a green “Californy” city girl on a ranch in Wyoming I was given the horse nobody else wanted. A stout, flea bitten, gray gelding pushing 20 years. A “retired” cowhorse. That summer was one to remember as “”Ol Spook” showed me the ropes of the cow business from a horse’s point of view. .


  2. I have pictures of you on your old Bay, John – he was a grand boy! And…let’s not forget EJ and his BIG strawberry roan, “Doc” who could hold the biggest of Homer’s un-marked bulls. That was why Forest always wanted John to bring him. He was wonderful to put across deep water – he would just take a deep breath and bob across. One of the best!


  3. Yes! I’ve been breeding several generations now. The smartest (and more difficult) part of the backyard breeding program is culling the bad ones! Dawn



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