Poem: Rusty and the Petunias

by Shelley Goldbeck

This is also a true story. I learned some lessons, like never trust a horse, especially not an Arabian!


I was fifteen that summer: I remember it well.
My horse Jill was my best friend, all my problems I’d tell.

Jill foaled that May, Dad forbade taking the colt
So I borrowed Mom’s grey Arab, Rusty for my daily bolt.
Rusty pranced with pride; he knew he was a beaut.
Arrogant, like an MBA grad in a fresh Armani suit.

Dappled neck arched, nostrils flared, flag-like tail
Waving in the wind, reminding of a tall ship sail.
As an attention-starved teen I loved the feeling
Of the eyes on us, knowing we looked appealing.

At least twice each day that summer we rode by
Mailboxes, entrances and various welcome signs
And the wheelbarrow of petunias at Mrs. Graham’s lane.
We plodded by it everyday; everything was the same.

Near summer’s end, bound for home, we take our usual route.
I’m daydreaming, watching a rabbit or listening to an owl hoot.
Rusty, in typical Arab fashion picks that very moment to shy
At the wheelbarrow of petunias that every day we ride by.

Snorting. Sideways. Into the middle of the road, he leaps.
A startled driver swerves, panics, and his horn he beeps.
Almost unseated, clinging to MY horn, it takes me awhile
To recover my bearings, as Rusty tears home the last half mile.

For 58 days we rode past those stupid petunias
And on day 59 his Arab brain went loony! Aaah!
From what I know from others, not scientific, of course,
This behaviour is quite normal for the average Arabian horse.

Reminds me of some people who strut around looking fine
But when it comes to making decisions, well, they have an Arab mind:
Not so reliable when you need them to stay on course.
I’d trade a dozen dish-faced Arabs for just one Quarterhorse!