“Just Like Them Horses”
Written by Liz Hengber and Tommy Lee James
It’s hard to put into words how exquisitely beautiful this record is. But if you’re familiar with Reba McEntire’s body of work, I’ll start by saying this. It could be dropped, as is, into the middle of the For My Broken Heart album and not only fit in, but elevate that collection.
“Just Like Them Horses” is a song about letting go of someone who is dying, which has always been fertile ground for timeless country songs. This one is special in that there isn’t an ounce of hesitation on the part of the one who is dying. He loves his wife, and will always carry that love. But his real life is just beginning, and the earthbound one he’s leaving behind was limiting in its restraint.
There’s a line at the end of the second verse that could’ve easily been, “I’ll see you again.” But instead, it’s “I’ll be home again.” Heaven is the destination, and he’s not looking back, “just like them horses when it’s time to run.”
McEntire is peerless as a vocalist, and there’s a moment before the final chorus where she communicates more emotion with a single breath than most singers can with a full range of notes. She manages to convey both grief for herself and joy for what awaits her departed, and the tears flow from these contradictory emotions that can only be brought into harmony through faith, hope, and a belief in eternal love.
“Just Like Them Horses” is one of McEntire’s finest moments, and is a timely reminder of how and why she is such a timeless artist.