Horses, in their many settings, have always drawn my attention to them. They are beautiful and inspiring as they run or rest. For today’s post, I would like to look back to a childhood memory of horses.

2012 Horses at Plowing Match
2012 Horses at Plowing Match

I grew up on a dairy farm in southwestern Ontario in the 60s.

My Dad, born in 1910, had seen many changes in his lifetime as a farmer since graduating from the 8th grade in a one-room schoolhouse in King Township.

One of those changes involved the mechanization of agriculture, from horse-drawn equipment to a long green line of tractors and combines and ploughs. Farming was revolutionized, easier in some ways, more expensive in others.

For me as a child, though, I revelled in the stories Dad told about Mac and Dolly, the Clydesdales who trod the hills of our farm in planting and harvest seasons.  Tales emerged of equine personalities and preferences as they played their part in working the land.  There was an attachment to these amazing horses, one not felt for big-tired tractors.

Inspired by Dad’s stories, I recall pleading with my parents to buy me a pony. One day, it seemed that my prayers were answered when a beautiful Shetland pony trotted down our lane way. I rushed to meet him, name him Joe, feed him carrots, and give him a soft bed of straw.

My dream was short-lived, however, when a neighbour from across the way showed up in search of a pony that had recently been a gift to his daughter. Tears flowed, believe me, when I said goodbye  to  Joe; the dream of having a pony to ride was dashed.

Dad reassured me that horses were a challenge to maintain; a horse would eat us out of home and carrots!

Not really convinced, I had to settle for admiring horses from a distance, catching a pony ride here or there. C’est la vie, I guess, but sometimes, when the carrots are looking extra orange and tempting, my mind wanders back and I wonder whatever became of Joe.

Happy trails, All!

Note: I am sharing an original poem I wrote for the “cowboy” genre inspired by a Merri Melde photo in a prompt posted by Margaret at IGWRT


Out west

I fell in love with a cowboy

He nearly swept me off my feet

With tales of wild horses and tumbleweed twists

I wondered if his ranch really exists


Years later

I am still the wife of this cowboy

Yellow flowers perk up my day

As he rides range with the cattle

And, in his dreams, keeps the horses at bay.


Each day

I write poems and plays for my cowboy

Bake cookies and stews for his lunch

Make cool grasshopper pie in hot days of July

With love for my horse-chasing, wild prairie guy. 


© 2013 Patricia A. McGoldrick


Author: Patricia McGoldrick

Poet Writer Reviewer Environment, Nature, Agriculture, People, and History are favorite topics to write about. Upcycling materials into handmade books is a fun challenge!

16 thoughts on “HORSES & COWBOYS & POETRY?”

  1. I so enjoyed your introductory segment about your father, and the horses, and the pony! What girl doesn’t love horses?

    I am thinking that, like mine, your father was an older man. Mine was born in 1912. he often apologized to mke for not being able to the active things he had done with my (much older) siblings when he was younger, but he needn’t have felt bad. He was my hero when i was little. I miss him.

    Coal (Fireblossom)


    1. So glad you enjoyed the equine memories!
      You are so in sync with the family dynamic of which I write. Being second youngest of 8 children meant that my parents were much older, especially my Dad. He did have such a storehouse of knowledge about so many things–horses, trees, crops in the field and life!
      Miss him too & that is why I am so glad for memories of my parents, tried to share them with my own children, now in their 20s, who never knew the people who so moulded their Mom. Happy day! 🙂


  2. Such a bittersweet pony story. Too bad you couldn’t have a pony of your own. Your poem is so sweet, lasting love, the best kind! (I am commenting by using a wordpress account I set up and never used. WordPress wouldn’t let me sign in any other way…I am still Laundry Goddess and blogspot. 🙂


  3. I almost cried when your Joe turned out to be a neighbor’s lost pony. Such heartbreak, to have, and to lose, so swiftly.
    I love your prairie wife poem, Patricia. There are many such marriages here in our corner of the prairie.


  4. You’re right in it Patricia! How very lucky! Others can only get them through the movies,TV or books which are not the real excitement of the tough and tumble and smells of raw cow hide! Thanks for sharing!



  5. The story about your “almost” pony is sweet. And ponies are really easy keepers for the most part – and not that expensive. I wish you could have had one. The poem reads like a daydream 🙂


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