Horse Pull

I secure my hat and give reins to Dad’s
roan horse. This morning as I lead our horse toward the gate,
the sky reflects the clear image of my breath-songs when
I inhale all that is pure and layered. I pause to unhitch
the wire from fence post and feel the flow of wind
traffic, parallel with earth, hurry toward the other
side of town. The horse senses it too, the busy sound
of morning energy. My dad always reminded me to
relax, let the horse know you trust them. I take the
easement land next to the pavement. Dogs set up a
wild argument, black birds scold. We hurry past and
head for open grass. High up on one of
the line poles I hear a hawk signal and wonder if the
mate is near or if I’m riding through its field of food.
This acre is full of holes so I turn west and rein to a walk.
Suddenly, the horse seems shy of forward movement.
He whirls and wants to kick. I grab the saddle horn,
pray not to fall and shout my father’s words of calming.
We become one, Dad’s spirit takes control, I feel my
knees move forward, my body feels light as I lean into
the horse. Then, just as sudden as the need to move,
the need to relax was upon us. I thought now was the best
time to return home. Why the horse pulled and
went back to view the subtle movement in the grass, I
figured was just curiosity. Later, sharing the story of the ride with
my father, he said he always goes back to see what the alarm
was, if it was worth the trouble. That’s what his horse did.

Front page image by David Noah.

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Lois Red Elk

About the Author

An enrolled Dakota/Lakota tribal member, Lois is a poet and teaches at her Tribal College on the Ft. Peck Reservation, MT. She has written two books of poetry and prose. Her book Our Blood Remembers won best non-fiction from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, 2012. She and her husband have two children and 8 grandchildren.
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