The Secret Lives of Horses

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If you have ever lived with and truly loved a horse, you know it’s not just a phase you go through.  They are entrenched in your heart and your connection with them is part of the fabric of your soul,  and if you take enough time to watch and listen to them, you may be lucky enough to witness amazing moments,  because when they trust you, they let you into their private world, and you become a part of their herd.

I was born in love with horses.  For as long as I can remember, I wanted a barn filled with these beautiful, noble creatures.  My dream came to fruition when I scrimped and saved to buy a beautiful quarter horse mare with an incredible show pedigree –a gray yearling with a kind heart, Jackie Bee Lucky or “Lucky”.   I kept both her foals, a palomino mare, Juliette, and gray gelding, Junior.  Those were my happiest days when I walked out my door and saw my dear friends, waiting for breakfast or dinner, or a simple hello.  It was my barn full of beauties.

I think the most difficult thing about this existence is change that involves the loss of loved ones, human and non-human.  As the years passed, my friends left for the pastures across the “rainbow bridge.”  Lucky died six years ago on the eve of my birthday, and more recently, my precious Juliette, on June 29th of this year.   Yes, they will always live in my heart, but it’s only in my dreams that I can brush their manes and tails, or ride them across the back pasture overgrown with  golden wildflowers.

When Juliette died, Junior, who had never left her side through her illness, ran to her gravesite and pawed the ground.  I’m not sure who was in worse shape, he or I.  My grief over losing her turned to concern over his emotional state.  He was clearly in mourning and sinking into a depression.

There’s a lot of truth to the expression, “when God closes a door, he opens a window,” and through this window arrived Extra Little Halo, a beautiful black thoroughbred mare.  Her owner had tried her in racing and she was seemingly not interested.  So he thought  some hunter/jumper training might work for her, and that didn’t work out either because of an annoying injury, which was quickly remedied.

When she arrived on July 4th, it was as if she had come home.  Junior and I both fell in love with her.  Her disposition is as sweet as Lucky’s.  Junior shares his hay by dragging his pile over to her.  They eat side by side in the pasture.  When his foot was bothering him and he developed a slight limp, she carefully lowered her head to check it out.

Often, in the late afternoon, I’ll watch them stand side by side and massage each other’s withers and enjoy the warm sunshine and soft breeze.   It’s those moments that make me sigh and smile, and thank the universe and my horses for letting me be part of their lives.

 

Dedicated to Dr. Warren Franklin  . . . who brought Halo to our lives.

 (Franklin Veterinary Clinic in Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico)

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Junior with his best friend, Juliette, in happier days.

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