DEAR ABBY: I found this "Horse's Prayer" in my late husband's desk in 1991, the year he died. He loved horses and took very good care of them.
My husband was a farmer and a dedicated man who took pride in his work. He unloaded horses and cattle for the Southern Pacific Co. for 25 years. -- CATHERINE E. LANFRANCO, FRESNO, CALIF.
DEAR CATHERINE: Thank you for sharing it. I know many of my readers who love horses will relate to it.
A HORSE'S PRAYER
Feed me, water me and care for me. And when my day's work is done, provide me with shelter, a clean, dry bed, and a stall wide enough for me to lie down in comfort.
Talk to me. Your voice often means as much to me as the reins.
Pet me sometimes, that I may serve you the more gladly and learn to love you.
Do not jerk the reins and do not whip me when going uphill.
Never strike, beat or kick me when I do not understand what you mean, but 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. Examine my teeth when I do not eat. I may have an ulcerated tooth that is very painful.
Do not tie my head in an unnatural position, or take away my best defense against flies by cutting off my tail. (I don't take away YOUR mosquito curtains.)
Don't smoke in my barn or leave me tied up overnight and perhaps burn me to death while you are sleeping in your comfortable bed.
And last, my master: When my strength is gone, do not turn me out in a pasture with no shelter and let me freeze to death, or sell me to some cruel owner to be slowly starved or worked to death, but take my life in the kindest way, and your God will reward you -- hereafter. -- AUTHOR UNKNOWN