A Horse’s Prayer
Compiled and Edited by SBH Clay
To thee, my master, I offer my prayer. Treat me as a living being, not as a machine.
I always try to do cheerfully the work you require of me,
And day and night I stand for hours patiently waiting for you.
Feed me, water and care for me,
And when the day’s work is done,
Groom me carefully, for, remember
A good grooming is equivalent to half a feed.
Clean my feet and legs, and keep them in good condition,
For they are the most important parts of my body.
Provide me with shelter, a clean dry bed,
And stall wide enough for me to lie down in comfort.
Always be kind to me. Talk to me like a friend.
Your voice often means as much to me as the reins.
Pet me sometimes, that I may serve you more gladly
And learn to love you.
Do not make my load too heavy,
Or force me out of the regular gait: you will not have my strength when you want it.
And oh, I pray thee, have me well shod every month,
That I may serve you in comfort .
Never hitch me where water will drip on me.
Never tie my head in an unnatural position.
Never take away my best defense against flies and mosquitoes by cutting off my tail.
Never jerk the reins or whip me..
Never strike, beat or kick me.
If you insist that I wear blinkers,
So that I cannot see behind me as it was intended I should,
I pray you be careful that the blinders stand well out of my eyes.
Never put a frosty bit in my mouth,
But first warm it by holding it in your hands.
When I do not understand what you mean,
Give me a chance to understand.
Watch me and if I fail to do your bidding,
See if something is wrong with my harness or feet.
Without the power to choose my shoes or path,
I sometimes fall on hard pavement,
Which I have often prayed might be of such a nature
As to give me safe and sure footing.
I cannot tell you when I am thirsty,
So give me clean, cool, big buckets of water often.
I cannot tell you in words when I am sick,
So watch me, that by signs you may know my condition.
Save me, by all means in your power, from disease and injury.
Examine my teeth when I do not eat: I may have a painful tooth.
Give me all possible shelter from the hot sun,
And put a blanket on me — not when I am working but when I am standing in the cold.
And, finally, O my master, when my useful strength is gone,
Do not turn me out to starve or freeze,
Nor sell me to some cruel owner, to be slowly tortured, starved to death.
Nor bring me at auction, to be bought by a slaughterer and turned into meat.