This I Believe Essay
It’s gotten to the point where I can’t count the number of times I’ve fallen off my horse, or the times I’ve worried if he’s warm enough in the winter, cool enough in the Texas heat, or safe enough from West Nile virus. But I do know that I believe in the love of a horse and the wholeness it brings to my life.
I worry about this horse, Sonny, because he’s big and sweet and kind and gives me companionship, love and trust. He knows my voice when I call him from the fence and let’s me crawl onto his back in the field and ride him to the gate with just my legs and voice to steer him. I feel his trust each time I barely press my right leg to his side asking him to move left over a log or scary ditch. And he gives me everything I ask for when we’re off riding alone, in new territory, unsure of what’s around the bend.
Of course we are yet to be certain just exactly what animals do or don’t feel in terms of human emotions, but as an animal person you learn to read your four-legged friends just as they learn to read you. And the results are overwhelming.
I waited until I was 37 before I bought my first horse, Luck. He was a five-year-old American Quarter Horse; big and strong. He and I learned to do flying lead changes, he helped introduce me to new human friends who are with me 10 years later, and I learned that a horse is not a pet. A horse is family member, a co-conspirator on adventures in the woods, a child that needs your guidance, and friend that will always take you back—regardless of your faults.
And Luck was dead within a year and a week. He colic’ed one Saturday and we rushed him to the vet. My husband and I spent 12 hours with Luck, watching him treated and watching the treatment fail. By the time we had to say goodbye, I couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe. And in the weeks that followed I was lost without him. I’d lost so many people I’d cared about by that point and so many precious pets, but this was the one friend who was all me, all mine.
But I came to believe that the gift was in my love a fine horse and the love from a fine horse, not just a single horse. So Sophie the sorrel Quarter Horse came into my life, followed by Sam, and now Sonny. And as Sonny picks up his head when I call his name or trails behind me just because he likes my company, I believe he’s 800 pounds of love and friendship.
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