Little Doris Helps Clabe With the Horses

Dad drives the horses in from the field,

to the water tank, where they guzzle.

Smarter than tractors,

they head to the barn on their own.


I follow Dad to the barn.

He unstraps harnesses,

a slapping leather sound,

takes the metal bits from muzzles,

the big creatures snort.


Dad adds halters, flings flynets over,

strings with knots tied at ends.

Aroma of dust, leather,

and horse sweat.


Dad hands me a three-pound coffee can

to measure corn for the manger down the center,

room for six to eight horses,

teams double-stalled together.


I add so many double handfuls of oats

from the bushel basket while Dad

pitches hay down from the mow,

then into the manger.


Munching is comforting,

I feel safe with my dad,

helping him with the horses.


After they eat, Dad lets them out

in the pasture, where they lie down,

feet flailing, rolling to scratch their backs.


  1. I absolutely love this! There is a lot of work with horses. I had a horse in high school and I cannot tell you how much fun I had…but, there was work too. To this day, I remember so vividly the smell of the barn… I love your description of the ‘aroma’. I am back there now in the barn…dust, leather, and horse sweat! 🙂

  2. Such a sweet illustration of a time gone by (for the most part). My grandmother had several recollections about her father, who was quite a horseman and always used them on the farm, well into the automotive era.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.