Loving Horses

April 28th, 2014 25 Comments


Alyssa, small version


“With one particular horse, called Nugget, he embraces. The animal digs its sweaty brow into his cheek, and they stand in the dark for an hour like a necking couple. And of all nonsensical things, I keep thinking about the horse! Not the boy: the horse, and what it may be trying to do…”

That’s the psychiatrist Martin Dysart in Peter Schaffer’s play, “Equus,” wondering what is gained or lost on either side, boy or horse, by such contact. It’s a magnificent play, but those lines could only have been written by someone who was not a horse person. Horse people know.

My sister sent me a poem recently, by Robert Wrigley, and its arrival coincided with the arrival of the photograph above of a young friend, Alyssa, seventeen and just about to graduate high school, loving on her horse. I thought I would include both for your enjoyment.

Kissing a Horse

Of the two spoiled, barn-sour geldings
we owned that year, it was Red—
skittish and prone to explode
even at fourteen years—who’d let me
hold my face to his own: the massive labyrinthine
caverns of the nostrils, the broad plain
up to the head to the eyes. He’d let me stroke
his coarse chin whiskers and take
his soft meaty underlip
in my hands, press my man’s carnivorous
kiss to his grass-nipping under half of one, just
so that I could smell
the long way his breath had come from the rain
and the sun, the lungs and the heart,
from a world that meant no harm.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. Hugs, hon!

  2. Anonymous says:

    That was a beautiful poem and a beautiful picture. Made me think of our old horse Black Bess in a way.
    Have a good day
    Nancy Darlene

  3. Anonymous says:


    I have seen this type of therapy on the news. It seems that the horses help autistic children calm down.

  4. Anonymous says:


    My daugher and I saw a pink t-shirt the other day that said “Will trade husband for horse”. While waiting to pay for the dog food we discussed the chances of anyone being willing to give me a horse for her father. NONE!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I remember horseback riding once in my life when I was in my twenties. A group of friends including me decided that it would be a good idea to go horseback riding. Never mind the fact that none of us knew the first thing about horses or horseback riding. In Michigan there are places usually a ranch where people can pay money to go horseback riding for fun (yeah. right). We went to one of these places and everyone paid to ride a horse. The people who owned the place came out with horses that were already saddled and ready to ride. Each person got a horse. I took one look at that horse and I thought ” NO way.” I am a short person and I did even know how I was going to get on the horse never mind ride it. I was tempted to forget the whole thing, but I had ridden in someone else’s car and I had no way to leave. A cowboy or at least I think he was a cowboy had to help me get on the horse. We all had about five minutes of training on riding a horse. You pull on the reigns to get the horse to stop and I think we were suppose to use or legs to get the horse to move.
    Anyway, everyone started out on the trial following the leader of the group. About fifteen or twenty minutes into the ride my horse decided he did not want to keep going on the trial. He wanted to go back to the barn. I tried to stop the horse, turn the horse, but that horse just kept on going back to the barn. At that point I thought “oh the heck with it. I just let him got there” So I rode back to the barn. Someone helped me off the horse and I waited another 45 minutes for everyone else to come back. I was the only one who had a problem with the horse. Everyone else completed the ride. I have never gone horseback riding again.

  6. Anonymous says:

    That’s true love! Wonderful to see/read 🙂
    Many thanks!


  7. Anonymous says:

    Adorable JP I have never ever in my 43 years been horse back riding i guess i’m timid to get on. I adore them as they are beautiful magical animals. Their eyes are so soft and warm.

    Tena French Halifax, NS Canada

  8. Anonymous says:

    Kissing a horse kind of sound disgusting. I think you would really have to love horses to do that.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can imagine a few people a lot more disgusting to kiss than the soft nose of a horse…


    • Anonymous says:

      I MUST beg to differ–horses are GREAT kissers, IF they like you in return! Which brings up(ahem!) the “Corollary Regarding Animal Nose Composition”, which can and should be utilized as terms of endearment with your critters. Which is that all dogs are rubber noses. All cats are eraser noses. And horses are the best of all, because all horses are velvet noses!…..L.B.

  9. Anonymous says:

    JP I forgot to ask if Simon&Simon will ever be available on itunes? We got the DVD collection but looking forward to it being available on itunes 🙂

    thanks JP

    Tena French Halifax, NS Canada

  10. Anonymous says:

    Weren’t you in the play “Equus”? or am I confusing you with someone else?

  11. Anonymous says:

    I had a slight idea of what the play “Equus” was about. Then I googled it and found out. A boy has sexual feelings for a horse? That is bizarre and disturbing. The physicist who is working with the boy doesn’t seem to want him cured in which case he should be promptly fired. I have heard of people who were able to get along with animals better than they were with people, but sexual feelings for a horse. No, Way. I am sure that people who ride horses love their horses and care for them, but I doubt that anyone who is sane has sexual feeling for a horse. I don’t know if using that play is the best example of how someone should relate to a horse. I get the idea that “normal” can seem boring, but I know there are people who would like to be “normal”. In fact, they would give anything to be normal.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I grew up riding from time to time. Neighbors of my family had horses and their kids would invite my sister and I over to ride on occasion.

    The best time I had riding and being around horses was back in 1992. My father and I had a chance to go on a pack in hunting trip in Utah. Of course we rode horses and spent several days camping, hunting, and riding. It was a great time and I got to see a lot of pristine country that most people don’t and all from the back of a horse.

    After the hunt ended my father and I decided to spend some time in the Loa Utah area and let our elk get a good freeze at the butcher shop. Our guide was gracious enough to let us stay in a pop-up camper on his ranch. That whole part of Utah was outlaw trail country and a lot of the land I saw was used by the Butch Cassidy coming and going from his many hiding holes, in fact our guide took us on another horseback adventure after learning I was a fanatic for Butch and Sundance history, to a remote grove of incredibly old aspen trees out in the middle of nowhere, where he showed us a tree that had ‘Butch Cassidy 1897’ carved into it. It looked old, but I was skeptic as to it being legit. I found a picture of the tree online here: http://legacyoutdooradventures.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/april-24-may-1-2012-cowboys-and-indians-adventures/

    Anyway, the hunting, the history, and of course the horses made it a trip I will never forget. Seeing that country from horseback with a lever action tucked into a saddle holster… it still fills me with excitement.

    TD Bauer

    • Anonymous says:

      Those are some beautiful photographs and wonderful looking horse. I was amused by the photo of one of the horses rolling in the grass. I didn’t know that horses did that.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is interesting. I remember seeing the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid.” The movie made them seem heroic instead of being outlaws.

      • Anonymous says:

        Some outlaws ARE heroic! What was that promo for a Robin Hood movie years ago(paraphrased), “Sometimes in seeking justice, one must break the law.”…..L. B.

  13. Anonymous says:

    YES!!! Amen to that!
    I even used to call my dog “rubber nose” sometimes….. 😉


    • Anonymous says:

      …of course all pigs are rubber noses, too. And ferrets are also eraser noses. But cows are plastic noses…..L. B.

  14. Anonymous says:


    Three years ago My husband I saw this movie called “War horse”. The movie is about a boy named Albert and his horse called joey. The father buys a race horse instead of a plow horse which his wife tells him to return. Albert becomes attached to the horse and trains him to plow fields. Word War I erupts and the horse is take for war. The war is seen through the horse’s eyes. Later as a young man Albert joins the war in part to find his horse. The movie is not only about the horse’s and young man’s bravery, but it is also about their enduring friendship.

  15. Anonymous says:

    “Horses and children, I often think, have a lot of the good sense there is in the world. ” ~Josephine Demott Robinson

    For me, horses are one of the most beautiful creatures of God.
    Our horses have come to the pastures yesterday. It is so wonderful to see what a joy, energy, and life is in the horses.We have many older horses with us. 3 horses are already 27 years old.But these horses are still full of life.They buck and run across the pasture.Our foal, now 1 year old ran with the old horses together then quickly back to the mother.Here you can look if you like:http://www.the-happy-hufies.de/galerie412715_1.html

    The poem what your sister sent you is beautiful,
    also the photo.It shows love, trust and respect for the horse.
    Horses are no sports equipment that you can replace or throw away when they are old and broken.Unfortunately, many people forget that.


  16. Anonymous says:


    this song is called “I’ve been to the desert ( on a horse with no name). by America

  17. Anonymous says:

    Je reviens d’un petit voyage en Normandie. Nous étions au cœur de la nature et entourés d’animaux. Dès le matin, ma première activité était d’emmener mon petit fils, âgé de 3 ½ ans voir les chevaux, les ânes et les chèvres. C’était émouvant de le voir parler à ces animaux.
    Ce matin, avant de reprendre la route pour le retour, il a fallu s’arrêter pour qu’il puisse leur faire ses adieux. Voir mon petit Tristan respecter les animaux me fait vraiment plaisir.

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