I Salute The Working Horse



RON KERR – reminiscences of a working drover



I Salute The Working Horse


The working horse was use and abused
Some worked without their shoes
They were the breadwinners and everyone’s transport
These horses that could do most thing but talk


From the 1770s these animals played their part
Was the backbone to get this a start.
They were yoked to everything that had wheels
At night you could see the sparks from their iron shod heals


In the days of need the horse was a treasure
Some were yoked from morning to dusk to suit the masters pleasure
Others were rigged in stylish harnesses looking rather cute
Some were worked with sweat and dust, whipped by heartless brutes


This adaptable animal had to be admired
Serving as a slave to carry out what was required
From the frozen snowy mountain range
To the heat and flies, of the desert plains


The loaded wagons of wool were a sight to be seen
Pulled by a sixteen span of a Clydesdale team
These powerful Drafts from the hills of Scotland
Pulled their freight and scooped out our dams


Access roads made by horse and dray
Back and forth they went day after day
They hauled the timber from scrub and ridges
Down to the sawpits making billets for bridges


Our explorers were carried over this land
Expeditions and working horses went hand in hand
There were more explorers than horses that came back
As some dropped dead under their packs


It’s unreal how quick history can vanish from people’s minds
Like the working horse and what it done for mankind
They were first over the mountains and plains
They served in the front line, time and time again


Both Banjo and Henry wrote about them with pride
Both had good reasons – walk or ride
But they paid tribute to the wonderful horse
Their poems were their feeling, what a way to endorse


The saddest thing about the horse that they worked and died
For this country that came from nothing, to hold its head in pride
All because of the working horse for untold centuries
Had served man kind well, over the years without even a sanctuary