In Australian vernacular
he was a ‘flea-bitten’ grey.
Not dappled like a dream horse
but speckled like a rock and not a
fine large horse like Tom Cable’s
Dad, had traded for him- two rolls of barbed wire
and a fence strainer. He came with a used saddle
and bridle and the high spirits of
the seldom ridden.
Before he would let us mount him, Dad
knew he had to take the 'curry' out of him.
Rode him hard, through a ploughed paddock.
Rode him until he stood in a foaming sweat
ears sideways, subdued.
I can’t forget being led, those first few rides
“Don’t let go of his head, Dad” I’m not ready
yet,” and I knew the horse sensed the trembling
in my being, until one day his bone- jarring trot
became a solved puzzle.
I felt a gathering- a sense of balance between the
pony’s mouth, the stirrups and the reins
and from a secret fulcrum
I was posting, “Let him go now, Dad”
I shouted, and my heart and soul were
floated to some rhythmic magic.
Around the homestead once and back
I pulled the reins, “Whoa boy!”
That first halt, obeyed, filled my head
for days and days.