Photo & Poem: Soundness

Centering myself behind the horse as he walks away, bent
forward with my hands on my knees, staring his hips for
unevenness. Listening to his footfalls. Knowing he isn’t
quite right, I follow a few steps behind. He’s off but it

doesn’t show every stride. The gelding knows I’m watching
and the awareness changes his gait. He comes slower and
stops. Running my hand slowly down his leg, he pauses but
then offers his hoof, surrendering his first instinct to run.

It’s clean, no nails or sharp rocks. Returning his trust, I
gave his hoof back gently. He placed it carefully under his
shoulder, shifting most of his weight back on it, but not quite
all. There’s no heat in the leg, but he can rest a few days.

The lameness will show itself fully or his confident stride will
return. He arcs his neck to give me his eye, shining black
under a tangled gray forelock, for a long still moment as he
watched my movements; my effort to grow sound for him.

Anna Blake for Relaxed & Forward 

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Anna Blake

16 thoughts on “Photo & Poem: Soundness”

  1. Some of them know we’re trying to help and are SO good at cooperating. I had a mare – now gone – who made a special point of coming to me when something was wrong. Her daughters are similar but not as intense as their mother was…

  2. Yes, as Sharon writes, always elegance and a lesson in your poetry.

    This one touches me right now especially as I watch and wait for Bear’s underlying illness ( respiratory virus?) to either become worse or disappear, the temperature readings a sign.

    This journey is indeed to become sound for him, and for Cash.

    You are writing my story in many ways, Anna, and that’s why I latched on to your books and blogs several years ago. I think the more personal your writings are, the more universal they are.

    • Funny, isn’t it. I am forever fascinated with this hook horses have set in us. How hard we work to be right for them. Thanks, Sarah and ZenBear

  3. Sounds like he has a concerned, caring owner. It’s sometimes difficult to observe one of our “babies” in pain or distress, knowing they can’t tell us the problem.

  4. I had the thought yesterday that maybe we are here in service to them. And so we keep making those efforts to grow sound.

    • A few weeks ago, I wrote the title poem for the next book, with a similar phrase and yes, I think that is what we are doing. Exactly that.

      • That’s such a lovely photograph, thank you. Startlingly beautiful vulnerability. There’s a soul-swelling sweetness in those moments, and it’s just different with horses. Like this was the point of our being so captivated with them – so they could show us what service offers.

  5. I am still trying to figure out what it is that makes me turn and give a second look, knowing something isn’t quite right but not consciously seeing it. Whatever it is, I’m grateful for it.


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