World Animal Day was started in 1925. I was looking for an animal poem in my file. Looking back on this experience, we might question the animal welfare aspect. The horse seemed happy enough at the time.
The Arabian thoroughbred
and his blue-blood spinster
lodged with a middle-aged couple
living in the Dutch bible belt.
My parents despatched
my younger brother and me
that summer to acquire
circus skills in two weeks.
Each morning a child took
turns standing on the horse
as it walked round the ring
inside the stuffy canvas tent.
In the afternoons we swam
in the local pool, tried to get
the couple’s fat ponies to obey.
There were prayers, a lot of eggs.
By the end of the holiday we
balanced, arms outstretched,
on the trotting horse. We swung
off and on as it cantered.