Two Horses

Dustin Welch, Super Rooster Music (SESAC); Mark Germino, Black Rhapsody Music (ASCAP)

I ride behind two horses side by side
They both profess to be my only guide
Each one’s fast and sure afoot they race
When one takes off the other keeps the pace
I ride behind two horses side by side
The young one tries to lead me with his pride
While the older horse whose pride was lost in youth
Tries to lead me down the righteous path of truth

Both those faithful horses have their whims
Born with strengths and weaknesses that blend
I used to ride them both alone most anywhere
But it takes both horses now to get me there

I ride behind two horses swift and strong
The first horse tries to break loose on his own
To leave the beaten path he calls a jail
While the other horse prefers to keep the trail
I ride behind two horses jointly bound
Both are always fed and watered down
I talk to them and keep them pointed south
And I never shove a cold bit in their mouth

Both those splendid horses lose their breath
Should one horse run the other horse to death
They lead me to the river when I’m lost
But it takes both horses now to get across

I ride behind two horses pulling slow
They’re harnessed but they’re always in control
Should I ask them both to pick up speed
They prepare themselves in tandem to stampede

Lord, you know them well and you know me
We’re bred to love and cry out to be free
I’ll try to understand them like I do you
For they were born inside a stable, too
Yeah I’ll try to understand them like I do you
For they were born inside a stable, too

Dustin Welch: acoustic guitar, piano, percussion, vocals; Bukka Allan: accordion; Brian Standefer: cello, Joe Beckham: upright bass

My dad was reading a book called, ‘How the Irish Saved Civilization,’ by a fella named Thomas Cahill and there was a quote from Plato he recited to me that essentially said that our souls are like a horseman driving two horses: the horses correspond to our spirit (easily controlled) and our appetite (difficult to control) while the horseman himself is our reason, which we are supposed to develop so we can better control the horses. I immediately turned around and decided there needed to be a song about this. So, I brought it over to our friend, Mark Germino. Mark has known me all my life and took me under his wing when he realized I was always gonna be a writer and there was nothing anybody could do to talk me out of it. I’ve never known a more proficient artist, or a person as dedicated to the work that goes into what we do as songwriters. This song reflects the duality and structure of our soul. It’s a synthesis of the internal conflict that drives us, what we’re made of, the substance that keeps us going and keeps us looking to the heavens for answers. My dad has always talked about the ‘engine’ that keeps us running. The idea that, no matter what, the one certainty we have is the promise that we will all die, that we are mortal. But our first instinct, the way that we’re programed, is for survival. Against all odds, we must survive and procreate. These two things rub up against each other in ways we can’t always understand. The two horses which guide us are not aware of the contradiction. They serve nature, as somehow, we all wish we could.