Bringing in the Horses


Bringing in the Horses

In winter, we bring the horses in
at four o’clock. The stables spill
yellow light across the yard. The radio
is on counting shopping days left till Christmas
while we bustle to and from the barn,
filling and tying up nets of hay for the night.

The horses know the routine.
They mill around the gate,
where the mud squelches,
and grow fractious and keen.
We hump brimming water buckets to each stall,
fluff up clean straw beds,
mix oats, bran, barley and treacle into separate feeds,
all warmed with water from the kettle.

Then, with each stable ready,
we slip the gate’s bolt
and the horses push through.
We need do little then
but steer the timid,
scold the bossy.

Swinging the half-doors closed behind them,
we secure the latches and then, loose-lipped
and vicarious, lean over the stable doors
to watch the horses settle for the night.

Whatever the weather - still moonlit frost
or hammering hail - we leave the stables
warm and happy and safely gathered in.

Published in Going Gentle (Gomer, 2007)

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