Photo & Poem: Birds and Horses


Fences mended with twine until there’s more time.
Scrubbed water tanks filled fresh, drank down
to half by noon. Shoveling muck into the cart, I
would be done by now, but for the meadowlark

aerials just above. But for the Canada geese
inspecting the tall weeds at the edge of the pond.
But for the horses rising from naps and the
shedding blade in my back pocket. Pause the

work to curry, revealing copper and silver and
chocolate strands to the light. Clumps of hair
come loose and float in the air, stick to my teeth,
roll with the breeze to be gathered by robins to

soften their twig nests. By swallows to weave them
with mud, drying as strong as cement to the barn
rafters. Chores should take longer in the spring.
Walking to the house lost in thought, having stood

witness to nature, the boots come off in the porch.
Understand the link: horses and birds are bound to one
another by bits of hay and dirt and horse hair, while
absentmindedly brushing the same from my clothes.

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm

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38 thoughts on “Photo & Poem: Birds and Horses”

  1. Oh so accurately said, I can feel the horse hair on my lips now and am reminded how trying to brush it away with fingers equally covered in hair makes it truly challenging!

  2. I love horses and I love wild birds. For the first time now, I see the interwoven connection! Thank you for this, Anna.

    Rain is falling this morning, the gentle mist greening away a winter that has been reluctant to leave. A puppy sleeps under my desk and robins and yellow-crown sparrows sing outside. This season of mud and dirt and horsehair and birds is absolutely magical.

  3. I think of bird nests too, when I gather up the piles of hair after grooming in spring. I often find tiny nests made exclusively of mane hairs. I think they get blown out of the oak tree before they are complete. They are very precious keep sakes of my herd in the sky, the nests now residing in my house on tv stand and book shelf.

    • I’m so hooked on barn swallows because they build with brick and attack humans in defense of family… it’s like the story of the 3 pigs, only with nests. Thanks, Judy.

    • I’ve been traveling for the last month giving clinics and it’s wonderful to be home. Thanks Diana. Very nice!

  4. Spring time, horse hair and birds. All I hear out here are birds. Sounds like a hundred different varieties. Moult, bird feathers, horsehair and the fine hairs from my dog’s brush. Just a wee short haired foxie type dog, but the fluffy undercoat you never see is dense and warm, follows the seasons. All for the birds, yes, an interesting and practical co-existence with perfect timing. But our moult is 4 months away. “The stupidity of wearing fleece…..” Life is earthy, absorbing nature while mucking, pausing to scratch and commune. Only the fleece is unnatural, and has never deserved or earned the right to be called fleece. Maybe the animal hair gravitates into it to help make it warmer?

      • Fleece. Insular, but not warm. Made of petro-chemicals (I believe recycled drink bottles spun out) it interferes with the body’s electro-magnetic field. My last dog was a mini Chihuahua, wrapped her in a fleece jumper one night at a BBQ, she couldn’t warm it up. Wrap her in wool and the whole nest would be like an oven. I read a book by a child psychologist, ADHD kid tearing about wearing glossy track suits every visit (aunt works in a clothing factory, gets seconds) advised the mother to put him in natural fibres, wool, cotton. Kid was instantly cured. Horses? All the rugs (blankets) are now synthetic and filled with it too. Used to be cotton canvas with a wool felt lining. Saddle blankets are mostly man made fibres, poly or the like. Even saddles, bridles and girths. All my gear is leather, mohair girth, saddle stuffed with horsehair and lined with wool serge (fitted every horse I’ve ridden in the last 40 yrs, from 11 hands to 16), the blanket under it is a thick dense piece of English wool felt about 30 years old. Serge saddle lining clings to the felt which never shifts. Is it merely co-incidence that I and the horses I’ve ridden are almost always cool, calm and (un)collected and never experience sore backs or girth galls? Oooh, your fleece got me ranting.

  5. Oh my…I live and love birds and horses.
    I am a bird rehabber, migratory songbirds…
    It is my life.
    Love this!

    • Wonderful, thanks for all you do. I live on a small migration route (overland water) and am awestruck every month! Thanks, Evangeline.

  6. Shedding out my 32 year old Saddlebred, left me with a pile of horse hair that resembled a Wolverine. Perhaps it could line a local Bald Eagle’s nest! I share space with Barn Swallows as well. They seem to get more aggressive each year; perhaps it’s because I don’t offer any resistance. Maybe a helmet for barn chores is in order?

  7. Oh gosh, Anna! This is SO my life and so beautifully described! I hear the hummers buzz me while I am enchanted watching my barn swallows swoop in and out of the barn; I wonder if they are the same family that arrives every spring. And I curry gobs of Scooter’s hair and think of birds using it for nests – they could make mansions of it, there’s so much! And all of a sudden, an hour has gone by.

    • Just smiling thinking of Scooter. She could line the nests of a major metropolitan area!! Time sure does fly “bird-watching” and so cool that you are hearing more of them now. Yay, you! Thanks, Barb

  8. I was right there with you, with the quiet and the peace. I know it’s work, and sometimes we hate it, but most of the time, for me, it is magical. I have a bird nest that I keep on my dashboard, it’s made from Status’s, one of Amy’s boyfriends, tail, which is colors of white, black and brown, so it’s quite beautiful. See you in a couple of weeks.

  9. I was right there with you, with the quiet and the peace. I know it’s work, and sometimes we hate it, but most of the time, for me, it is magical. I have a bird nest that I keep on my dashboard, it’s made from Status’s, one of Amy’s boyfriends, tail, which is colors of white, black and brown, so it’s quite beautiful. Can’t wait to see you when you come to Linda’s. I’m just going to audit, no more truck/trailer.

    • It’s the thing I miss most when I’m away; I hurry home to muck! Best time to watch calming signals, best time to figure out what I’m going to write about next. Thanks, Judy. See you soon.


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