Ode to a Horse

There is an emptiness at Avalon. A hole where once there was a being of great heart and love. Where once there was the most beautiful girl in the world, now there is . . . nothing.

Seeing the other horses just makes the pain worse. They are all so different. Every animal has its own distinct personality, nature, issues, body, coat, hair, eyes etc. So I will never see or feel anything like Baby again as long as I live on this earth. Never wind that forelock around my fingers, tut tut over the incredible tangles in her mane and spend the time unravelling them. Never stand behind her with her tail at heart height and lean in to her, scratching down her flanks as she leaned back against me swaying in ecstasy. No other horse will ever be exactly the same height and width and weight and soul. No other horse will ever be the perfect fit for me like she was.

Baby had the most beautiful broad back, a joy to sit astride. She had perfect feet – dainty ballerina hooves despite her tendency to run to fat. She was a big, buxom, full hearted brown mama. Full of love.

Every feeling is indelibly imprinted in my hands – the warmth and softness as I stroked her face, neck, shoulder, belly, back and bum. The thick silk ropes of her tail. The fluffy fronds inside her ears, the velvet of her muzzle . . . the unconditional love and understanding in those beautiful brown eyes.

The peace in my heart and restless mind when I was in her presence. The simple joys of carrying water and hay, shovelling sweet smelling manure and whispering sweet nothings into ever alert ears. She has taught me everything I know about horses, she helped me understand the frustration my mother felt with me, she showed me how to look beyond the traditional givens of horsemanship and to listen to the wisdom of the horse. She opened my heart, gave me something to live for in the darkest of times, gave me a purpose, gave me a reason and led me to my dream farm, home, life.

Nothing that I have and hold dear now would have happened without Baby in my life. She changed it irrevocably. She shaped it, moulded it. She gave it meaning and life. Oh, God, I miss her so much.

Big Daisy is my succour, she lets me sob into her neck while she is placidly chewing her cud. They have the same warmth, gentle love and tolerance. Someone asked me how did I feel when I was with Baby and I answered ‘peace’ but more time to think made me realise that it was more than that. I felt love, I felt loved. I felt secure in that unconditional love. I was known and seen and loved regardless by a being with more heart and love than a hundred humans put together. She and I had known and shared and grown together. For a quarter of my life here on earth she was my friend, foe, comforter, confidante and great love.

Ultimately she taught me that the greatest gift we can give each other, share together, is time . . .

Big, beautiful Baby, I love you so, darling, miss you so, thank you for everything, please come back . .

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