When you’ve ridden a four-year-old half of the day
And, foam to the fetlock, they lead him away,
With a sigh of contentment you watch him depart
While you tighten the girths on the horse of your heart.
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There is something between you that both understand
As it thrills an old message from bit-bar to hand.
As he changes his feet in that plunge of desire
To the thud of his hoofs all your courage takes fire.
When an afternoon fox is away, when begins
The rush down the headland that edges the whins,
When you challenge the Field, making sure of a start,
Would you ask any horse but this horse of your heart?
There’s the rasping big double a green one would shirk,
But the old fellow knows it as part of his work;
He has shortened his stride, he has measured the task,
He is up, on, and over as clean as you’d ask.
There’s the water before you-no novice’s test,
But a jump to try deeply the boldest and best;
Just a tug at the leather, a lift of the ear,
And the old horse is over it-twenty foot clear.
There is four foot of wall and a take-off in plough,
And you’re glad you are riding no tenderfoot now
But a seasoned campaigner, a master of art,
The perfect performer-the horse of your heart.
For here’s where the raw one will falter and baulk,
And here’s where the tyro is pulled to a walk,
But the horse of your heart never dwells or demurs
And is over the top to a touch of the spurs.
To you who ride young ones half-schooled and half-broke,
What joy to find freedom a while from your yoke!
What bliss to be launched with the luck of the start
On the old one, the proved one, the horse of your heart !
William Henry Ogilvie