Borne Our Loads

photo by Nate Gibson
photo by Nate Gibson

And then, that evening
Late in the summer the strange horses came.

In the first moment we had never a thought
That they were creatures to be owned and used.

Since then they have pulled our plows and borne our loads,
But that free servitude still can pierce our hearts.
Our life is changed; their coming our beginning.

~Edwin Muir from “The Horses”

There is nothing that truly compels a horse to wear a saddle, pull a heavy burden, chew a cold bit until it foams warm, no fear of whip or spur or harsh word.  They, so much more powerful than we are, choose the work, to do what is needed, to serve freely, to be there because they were asked.

How much more we learn from the lather of their sweaty grace —  how to choose the labor that changes lives, how to offer up love in gratitude for the reward of a nose buried in sweet clover.

photo by Nate Gibson
photo by Nate Gibson

3 thoughts on “Borne Our Loads

  1. These thoughts are beautiful. I love horses, too. They are noble, proud animals. I rode quite a bit when I was much younger. It was my special treat paid for by my father. (I’ve always been a city girl.) The riding place I went to most often had a favorite gelding that I usually rode. He was gentle. He remembered me. He returned my affection a hundredfold. I liked to put my face right next to his and talk to him. When I was sad or hurting I really believed that he listened and understood. I think that, unless you have given and received love from a horse or a dog, you cannot know how empathetic they really are.


  2. They do listen and understand. Each night when I feed (I’m not currently riding for health reasons), I stroke my horse’s neck. When I stop he lifts his head from the bucket and, still chewing, touches my arm with his nose as if to say, ‘don’t stop touching me, I love you too’.


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