I was a leader – swift and fleet with my own herd around my feet I fought and won to keep my mares oblivious to envious stares from younger stallions who might try to steal them at days first light my voice would make the mountains ring – their challenge answered – echoing.
But that was then and this is now and change has come about somehow. We found ourselves so harshly driven and lost the freedom we were given - freedom that Governments rescind. We can no longer chase the wind across the mountain slopes again, our lives have changed. I’ve felt its pain.
But I’m the lucky one – I live. I share a bond with those who give me care and who nurture my pride which they know is still there inside and when sometimes they see me stare across the paddocks they know where my heart has gone for just a while, they sympathize and gently smile.
My presence one cannot ignore though I be stallion no more I still command pride and respect. If given it I’ll not reject the hand of friendship that you proffer and in return I’ll gladly offer my fealty to you to keep and we will forge a friendship deep.
He was only a young bloke a tiny wee scrap and his horse was much bigger than him but they had a rapport which was quite plain to see when together - just like Huck and Finn The horse was a brumby, a fine looking mare a chestnut with gleaming red hide. The little bloke’s hat was just a shade too big but his ears kept it clear of his eyes.
They didn’t need words to express how they felt they shared every hour of their days, the little bloke holding onto the lead rope and the chestnut mare content to graze. Sometimes in reflection they both sat and stared at the distant horizon and hills. She dreamt of the freedom of running the range and he dreamt of a fast ride and thrills.
He wasn’t quite big enough yet his Dad said to take Adelong for a ride but soon he’d be five and then Dad had promised that he could mount up, sit astride. She hadn’t been broken to saddle as yet but they’d both learn together you see. He’d learn how to guide her and coax her along and she’d learn she was no longer free.
And yet she was lucky – a small price to pay for she’d only find gentleness here. No more would she run from the choppers bright blades, no more would her heart pound with fear. For here she was valued – no feral pest this but a cobber, a friend and a mate though sometimes a hint of sadness crossed her eye as she gazed at far hills from the gate.
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Do You See ME? By Lynette Sutton
Do your eyes see the battle scars that lay inside my past? Do you recall the men and boys who battled to the last? Do you see me in harness– ploughing, harrowing a track? Do you see little children, laughing, riding on my back
Do you see golden wheat fields that my great strength helped to grow or country schoolrooms full of kids we carried to and fro? Do you see precious letters delivered from near and far? We brought those too in wind and rain beneath our southern stars.
They set us free as gratitude for deeds so bold and true We were the beast who carried you through history and new We served you well and now you’re done, you say we have to go. So what fate now awaits us? Do you really want to know?
To spend our final days in fields close by you would be great a place to run or graze alongside our old lifelong mate. Not chased by choppers with a rifleman sitting above. Is this what we are destined for? An ending without love.
The saleyard has so many horses lined up in a row and few will see the end of day or get a chance to grow. The world now lacks compassion – to the slaughterhouse we’re sent yet we are the beast of burden whose broad willing backs bent.
We helped to make your country; we helped to make your home and worked for very little. Is this how you atone?