It is with a heavy heart that I am writing in fond memory of my horse. My last entry about him said that he had turned a corner and we were all breathing a sigh of relief. And we did, for a day, then he regressed back into being blocked and feeling awful. He eventually began to succumb to his ailments and his circulatory system began to shut down. We couldn’t fight for him anymore if he wouldn’t fight for himself. So, it is with fond memory that I write about what he taught me.
My horse is the reason I am who I am today. He was a birthday present from my father. But he was so much more than that. When he was brought to me, it was anything but love at first sight. He was a purebred Arabian, giving him a long skinny neck, a dished face, huge nostrils and eyes and gangly little body. Before he had grown into his features he was an odd horse to look at. He looked like a cartoon. He always stood at attention because everything around him electrified his senses. He was always the horse that acted like the kid at the birthday party that drank nothing but the free Mountain Dew and consumed almost an entire 2 liter on his own. But, with a few years and a few major lessons, I fell in love with that big guy. The little He taught me so much as a youngster. The biggest lesson he taught me was patience. He taught me, more than any other person or animal, patience. Because when a 900 lb animal is scared of a rock and he wont walk bye it there is no amount of man handling that will get him to walk by it calmly. He taught me that even though he is an animal, he deserves reasons and choices. He deserved a calm mom voice over an angry war lord on his back that will whip him with his reins until he sacrifices his fear of one for the other
He taught me that quiet is not such a bad thing. When I was going through some of the hardest times in my life he taught me to be quiet. He taught me that When someone you love is losing their mind and crying into your fur and possibly getting snot in your mane the best thing to do is to just stand there and take it, because those same people will be the ones to groom it out and scratch the itches that your teeth just can’t reach.
He taught me to be brave. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times my heart rode in my throat the whole time my butt was in my saddle. When he was young we had some really rocky rides. There were rides where my blood pressure was probably double what it was when I got on by the time I got off. But without fail, when we got back from one of those rides he would turn and nicker when I put my stomach across my saddle to slide my foot out, look at me with this smug look almost like he was saying, “But did you die?” He always had this way of being so expressive I never had any problem understanding what he was afraid of, watching, or where his pain was. I knew that even when I fell off, I could get back on and we’d do it again, successfully this time.
He taught me to have a sense of humor. When he would run circles around me while I was trying to simply hose him down I would be more wet than he was by the end of the whole “bath turned shower”. I would eventually, out of frustration, aim the hose at the sky with my thumb over the nozzle and wait for his expression that said, “THIS IS SO DUMB”. He would never make it easy on me. When he would wipe his neon green slime across my brand new baby blue t-shirt and I would try for 2 more washes to wash the spot out (unsuccessfully).
He taught me humility. When he and I would run barrels and do gymkhana, he was far from perfect. I was far from perfect. But together we were perfectly imperfect. I didn’t whip him because he missed a barrel or pole. He didn’t buck and rear because I put my heals to his ribs more one day than the other or I pulled hard on his mouth so he didn’t miss an obstacle. We ran because he liked to. I liked to. And we could enjoy it together. Not because we were the best.
He taught me forgiveness. He never meant to throw me. It was a very rare occurrence, but when he did, he was sorry. It’s very obvious when a horse feels badly about something. And he meant it.
It hurts to have said goodbye in the prime of his life, like this. I would have much rather have said goodbye while handing his lead to a little girl that would love him like I always have. But we can’t always choose our goodbyes. And sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much we pray about them. We can’t change them.
I don’t know why he was taken like this but I know that there has never been another person would could love him like I do. And I couldn’t be more sorry that more couldn’t be done for him. With heavy heart I say, goodbye old friend. Your memories are cherished.