Cowboy Poetry and Music and More at the BAR-D Ranch


Prescott Valley, Arizona
About Heather Erwin



The Power of Horse

There's somethin' we've lost with asphalt and steel -- our lives lean towards sterile and fast;
And somethin' is missing in hurtling ahead if we can't clutch the gold from the past --
A past strewn with secrets of sun, sweat, and air -- of sacredness swaying in trees --
A four-legged partner to shoulder our weight while troddin' out tension to ease.

There's somethin' that shows in the eye of a horse -- a stillness reflectin' earths treasures --
Somehow we're reminded we're more than ourselves as hoof beats change madness to measures.
A healing--filled field with the sun on our backs -- horses know to indulge with deserve --
And a muscle-bound gallop can vibrantly pound out a falterin' heartbeat with nerve.

2003, Heather Erwin
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


The Healing

Off the Track, completely wild,
"Never fit for any child;"
They dumped the Thoroughbred in my stall
He paced and pawed and kicked the wall.

To feed him was a daring task,
To lead him -- just don't even ask;
We let him rest for several weeks,
But couldn't touch his mud-caked cheeks.

He put on weight and seemed to calm
With no demands-- Time helped to balm
His hurried heart that knew no love
When tacked and pulled and worked and shoved.

I stood in there one hot still day,
With no intent -- I planned to stay
And stand with no advance or threat
At first he tensed, and paced, and sweat.

I smiled, and stood -- ignored him still;
And knew I would not force his Will
Which had been forced a thousand times
With crops amongst the gated chimes.

Not every horse is born to run
And cruelty can quash the fun;
And he had drawn a sour hand
That marred him like a heated brand.

How long I stood, I don't recall
But somehow in that quiet stall
He made a choice I could not give;
He cast off fear, and chose to live.

He came to me and sniffed my face,
As if to say he'd like some Grace;
He let me scratch his muddy cheeks,
And so began the healing weeks.

And now he's proud, but not too high,
He walks the ground, but holds the Sky;
And loves to play, permits the tack,
And totes a child upon his back.

2003, Heather Erwin
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


Heather told us that this poem "is about my horse, K.C.R.'S Country.  I got him off the track and was actually afraid of him for a while because he was so wild.  I now use him in Search and Rescue, and he just went to his first Dressage class.  And, he is gentle enough for my daughter to ride."

Sherwin Erwin, The Windsucking Yearlin'

Tobiano Quarter Horse Paint, sure looks good, but good he ain't;
Oh, he behaved a week or two, until the honeymoon was through.
Once comfy with his stall and pails, Sherwin took to suckin' rails.

I'd never seen it done before, and hope to see it nevermore:
He placed his teeth upon the steel, and pulled back hard with each bent heel.
The sound that came from out his throat was like a bloated half-crazed goat.

I panicked, and I called the Vet, who said he'd "not seen one cured yet."

I asked a Quarter Horse Hall of Fame-er -- what he said was even lamer:
"Try that brand new Non-Crib Collar -- make it tight so he can't swaller --
If'n he done try it again, take it up a notch, and then
Take it up another three, but if he croaks -- just don't blame me."

With that in mind I just felt fear, and thought real hard for a career
To give to Sherwin so he'd find a brand-new owner, dumb and kind.

He couldn't jump, 'cause they use poles -- he'd stop and suck them in the shows;
To drive a cow would take a rope -- he'd chew it like a Teen on dope;
Perhaps he'd race -- he sure can breathe, but on the trophy, he might teethe.

Or I could keep him penned in wire and love him like I was his Sire.

I'm Stuck with him; it's just my luck, 'cause he's one cribbin' Son O'Buck.

2003, Heather Erwin
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.

Heather told us this "is another true poem about my husband's new yearling."


My Green Ford Truck

I bought it back when trucks were square --
So keep your aerodynamic air
And Scientists from "slick-air" schools  --
Mine drives just fine through molecules.

It's dented, scratched, with faded paint;
I could move up, but swear I ain't,
'Cause when I look beneath the hood
It looks the way an engine should.

It hauls the hay and goes off road
And once a brand new pickup towed
When some hot shot with foreign-built
Got stuck in knee-high mud and silt.
It helped me teach my son to drive
And helped to keep us both alive --
He drove up hill and missed the gear --
We bounced bed first through brush and fear.
And though it has no cool air
I'll take a breeze blown through my hair
Before I'll buy one off a Lot
And wake to owe more than I got.
There's something good in holding on
To something good before it's gone
Or traded in without a thought:
Not all alignments can be bought.

2003, Heather Erwin
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


About Heather Erwin:

I grew up in Arizona and currently reside in Coyote Springs just North of Prescott Valley, Arizona.  As a child, my parents had a summer cabin at the base of Bill Williams Mountain, where I learned to ride bareback up and down the mountain and through cattle country.  At the age of eleven I began to show Hunters and Jumpers. Currently, my husband and I own race horses and are also working with some of the Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds that don't make it on the track in an effort to re-train them. At present, I am working with a Thoroughbred named Country.  He won a couple of races, and is now retired at the age of 11.  I am training him to jump and to do Search and Rescue [see her poem The Healing, above for more about Country].

I am a member of the AQHA, and AQRA, and am in training to be on the Yavapai County Search and Rescue mounted posse. As for schooling, I attended UC Santa Cruz and studied English Literature and Poetry.  My current writing effort is being directed towards a children's novel, The Mustang and the Mountain, which is set at the base of Bill Williams Mountain and involves the process of three children breaking some wild mustangs and is sprinkled with tales of the Bill Williams Mountain Men as well as racing anecdotes and culminates in a horserace up the mountain to save some leased land owned by a ranching family.

heatherirwin.JPG (17575 bytes)

The photo above is of me and Country.  He actually inspired "The Power of Horse" poem.  The worst I have ever felt is when I have gone months at a time working indoors in front of a computer without enough rest and nature.  It's easy to get caught up in the fast pace of modern life.  We all need the outdoors for healing to get us back in touch with what really matters, and a horse can sure expedite the matter.  You can't think of anything else when you're working with your horse.  And the "muscle-bound gallop" in the poem was speaking about the search and rescue training I took him on.  We had to travel fast, because if someone is lost in the woods, you need to hurry.  As we get older, it becomes harder and harder to get thrown off a horse, but in the excitement of the gallop, fear is forgotten as well as the stress and anxiety of everyday life.



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