There is a North American poem in appreciation of the Trail Horse. I would like to amend that to the realities of the NZ back-country Trekking Horse.
I am a trekking horse
I work from Spring till May
In winter I am turned out
With just a bit of hay!
Then suddenly the sun shines
And out will come the gear
Am I to be the master’s mount
Or pack-horse in the rear?
A few short trips they say
To get the fitness high
Two and three hour walk-trots
A hill from sea to sky.
Then in the float and off we head
Rough road before we stop
They hang the kitchen sink off me
And then they jump on top!
Bogs and boulders, flats and bush
Matagouri’s thick so PUSH!
We’re going to climb that ridge by four
Two hours ’till lunch- so sweat some more!
The tussock flats a welcome cruise
We even have a track
Just when I pause to take the views
Some pigs run by-will they attack?
But I don’t shy or spin or rear
Cos I’m solid and I’m brave
I stand so still and hide the fear
My rider and my load to save
I balance on the narrow ledge
I ford the mighty rivers
I climb along the rocky ridge
That would give you the shivers.
Slide the scree and jump the creek
Log in the way? Give it a shove.
The hut is near, the grass is sweet
I’m tough and do the job I LOVE!
Mary Holloway, September 2018