Like us, a horse’s life is fragile. As horse owners, we know we could lose them any time and swiftly; to colic or an unforeseen event. So, I’ve made a spiritual practice: never to take my horse’s presence for granted. Through all of our years together, I’ve held this truth in my heart; whether together or physically apart; and whenever it’s time to leave, I always give Herz homemade horse treats, kisses and a big hug. Wrapping both arms around his massive chest, with my chest against his heart, I tell him how much I love him.
Yesterday, I was especially grateful to have another day with him. At his advanced age of 33, he was still with me after the 106-degree heat index we had the day before. After 29 years together, our bond is palpable. No words are needed, even the subtlest gestures and touch are clearly understood between us. Riding has been out of the picture for ten years, and ground work no longer an option five years ago. We simply savor being together, enjoy our friendship and my caring for him.
Yesterday, I gave him a heart-felt good-bye. He was standing in his stall, even though the door to the paddock is open at all times, to be away from the flies. I walked into the tack room, put things away and closed my trunk. I stepped out the tack room door and stopped in my tracks. Herz was at the water trough, facing me; his head raised, swallowing the last water he held in his mouth. With the straight on view and his chestnut coat gleaming in the sun, he looked young. My vision traced the white asymmetrical star on his forehead, the stripe and the dear snip to his left nostril. His look beamed directly into my chest, with the love and rich silence that fills my heart.
I was stunned at my own, genuine, astonishment, “I didn’t expect to ever see you again,“ I said to him out loud, “but there you are.”
As I took in the blessing of the moment, he beelined into the barn to avoid the flies. I walked towards the barnyard gate. Touched again, by the gift of my horse.