About Joe Peters
Ride to Fly
It’s a small, quiet spread way up high in the hills,
Not too far from the ocean at Portuguese Bend.
There’s a couple of acres and not many trees,
With a tack room, a feed shed and wooden, fenced pens.
And the cavvy is small, only four in the pens.
Besides Jack, they hold Beau, ‘long with Shana and Doc.
These are old, well-used horses who still have a spark.
They won’t win any prizes; they mostly just walk.
First there’s Shana, the Morgan, Queen of the herd.
She walks like the devil, and makes your teeth rattle.
When she pins her ears backwards and lowers her head,
No horse in the county would give her a battle.
Then there’s Beau, the Arabian, small and elite.
He is second to Shana as boss of the herd.
Arthritic and creaky, he sure hates the cold,
But just ask him to work, and he won’t be deterred.
It is Jack who’s the juvenile, clown of the bunch.
He’s a line-back, a dun, from the quarter horse strain.
If he’d only grow up and start acting his age,
Then we’d start to believe that he still has a brain.
Doc is blind in one eye and the biggest of all.
He’s a bay and he carries the B slash S brand.
When you work around Doc, you had best be on guard.
He’s a little bit skittish, not liking to stand.
All these horses have problems, but they’re on a mission.
They were trained to the saddle and eager to go.
And many folks need them, who are anxious to heal,
So we put them together and watch them both grow.
Shooting baskets from horseback is Bill’s favorite sport.
When he’s mounted on Jack he could take on Shaquille.
But to get Bill aboard it takes patience and skill;
Finding courage to mount is his toughest ordeal.
Red haired Jimmy is seven, and small for his age.
He’s a little bit awkward and slow to respond.
When he climbs aboard Beau, we can see a big change.
As he breaks out a smile—there’s some kind of a bond.
Back when Mary was healthy she rode in the shows,
But those days are long past; M. S. trampled her dream.
So now she and old Doc ride the patterns alone,
And they make perfect circles—they make a good team.
Every word is a struggle, locked somewhere inside,
But her grin tells the story: Jill loves to go fast.
So we trot her on Shana, who also likes speed,
And it’s easy to see that they’re having a blast.
The invisible pens have surrounded us all,
And they isolate people who cannot get by.
But a fence is no problem astride a good horse,
So to soar like an eagle, we must ride to fly.
© 2010, Joe Peters
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
Joe Peters comments about the inspiration for the poem, "Since I had been a Therapeutic Riding Instructor, the topic was a natural—the poem practically wrote itself."
About Joe Peters:
Wally McRae's poem, "Reincarnation," got me started on cowboy poetry when I heard Glenn Ohrlin recite it on A Prairie Home Companion radio show. I have always been a back porch guitar picker, and the poetry seemed to be a natural extension of my interest in music and songs. My wife and I started traveling to poetry gatherings and with encouragement from her, and a lot of coaching, I decided to try my hand at writing.
Currently, I am a livestock volunteer at the historic Rancho Los Alamitos, helping to train and care for the horses that are kept on site.
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