The Horse Video

ABOVE: Youtube link to a film made
by the British Equestrian Federation
with a reading of the poem over
images of horse sport showcasing
their equestrian legacy project: 'Hoof'.

The Horse - a poem by Ronald Duncan

A poem entitled 'The Horse' is Ronald Duncan’s most popular poem.

Many people who have worked with or love horses have felt this poem
captures the essence of the horse. Duncan bred Arab horses in Devon
and was a keen horse rider himself, in this poem he seems to understand
the horse historically, physically and emotionally.

Every year 'The Horse' is read at the climax of the Gala Night of the
International Horse of the Year Show. It was written by Duncan in 1964
after Mike Ansell asked him to write the poem. Colonel Sir Mike Ansell
(1905–1994) was blinded during the retreat from Dunkirk during the
Second World War.

After the war, Ansell committed himself to the interests of the horse in the
United Kingdom. He was Director of the Royal International Horse of the
Year Show (from 1949 until 1975) - and his friend's poem is still read today.

The Horse

Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
friendship without envy, or beauty without vanity?
Here where grace is laced with muscle and strength by gentleness confined.

He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent;
there is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.

England’s past has been borne on his back.
All our history is in his industry.
We are his heirs;
He is our inheritance.

Ronald Duncan

This poem may be copied, reprinted, or placed online. There is no charge.

We ask that if you do reproduce the poem please contact his Estate ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) and let us know where it is to appear.

Also please credit the author’s name: Ronald Duncan - and add the following:

© (Copyright of) the Ronald Duncan Estate.

Thank you


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all content © 2011 Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation | website by Daneswood