I learned beauty by the shape of the horse


I was taught beauty

By the shape of the horse:

The flow of the mane;

The rise of the withers;

The soft hill of rump.

Pictures – cut out and pasted

Into Grandmother’s green folder:

Of right ways and wrong ways,

Of tight elbows and tucked pelvis,

Of chin up and heels down,

Of eyes between his ears –

Watching; ever watchful.



By the color of the horse:

Black, chestnut, dapple gray,

Paint, appaloosa, common bay.

Distinguished by:

The snip, the star, the blaze;

The blue-eyed, piebald face.



By the pieces of the horse and how they fit:

Conformed; not confirmed.

And yet … good conformation is confirmation of balance and performance.

Acceptable proportions

Where correctness means equal distribution

In function and form.



By the order of

Groom before saddle and,

Ride before grain and,

Never canter back to paddock

For horses – like people – learn

To run toward quitting time,

And miss excellence to the end.



By the soundness

Because to founder hurts the mount.

Learn early to feel for heat in

Hoof, pastern, fetlock, cannon.

Foreign words of secret parts

Made familiar by necessity.

Lest you lose your favorite seat to

The liquid in the syringe that stops the pain and ends

The ride.




By that day in the kitchen

In the house on the hill.

When, in passing, she reached out

And with her hand gave me a pat.

“You have a nice rump,” she said

And laid down for a nap.


In the dusk of her years,

Every beast bedded down,

My beauty

Confirmed by the shape of the horse.


WRITE CHALLENGE: How did you learn the definition of beauty? Share your story in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “Beauty

  1. Melissa Morison says:

    I love it. It reveals the depth and appreciation of inner and outter beauty and the devoted relationship of grace and acceptance. I wandered? is there a reflective underdstood beauty between horse and Kristy? Horses really-connect with their rider/writer…
    I am learning beauty is my scars. In the mirror I see my ashes, but there’s a spiritual beauty to being unfinished.

    1. Kristy Horine says:

      Mel, Funny you should ask about the horse/rider relationship. I first got on a horse when I was four. Didn’t get off until I was thrown off and seriously injured my junior year of college. Now, I tremble whenever I am around horses, and yet, I still find the definition of beauty there. Sometimes, those things that cause us harm help make us beautiful when our redeemer is Christ Himself. When I see you or read your lovely words I don’t see or hear the scars, although I am well aware of their placement in your life. I see the beauty in your Savior whom you have embraced and of whom you preach with abandon. I love you, Mel. Keep up the good fight. K

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