The Barrel Race

A few weeks ago, we had to put down my 35-year-old quarter horse. He was one of my best friends, and when I was a teen we spent countless hours together. Barrel racing was one of our favorite things to do, and I wrote this poem in attempt to capture the inexplicable feeling of tearing around the barrels.

And We Fly

In Memory of Caleb's Jack Bar

Muscles tense and bunch beneath me,
dancing but not releasing.
Such a tiny being should not hold command
over so much power,
but the absurdly small bar of metal pressing against his tongue
and a great respect for the partner on his back
keep him waiting for the right moment.
The gate opens,
and though the reins remain tight,
he senses an almost imperceptible release
and shoots into the arena - at a mere trot.
"Control," wills the rider,
nearly jittering out of the saddle herself.
But then we're charging at the first barrel,
slowing to just this side of reckless to make the turn,
then suddenly the next one is in front of us, behind us,
a slightly longer stretch, and the final barrel. Turn.
Nothing before us but open sand.
His stride opens up,
and we fly.

Photos by Teresa (mom) and Paul (husband).

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