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Day 216: Of Love and Loss

My neighbors and friends had to put their dear horse down today. It was the right decision made at the right time, but no less difficult and painful and complicated. We humans aren't accustomed to playing God.

I was able to be there with them as he passed. I hope I was a blessing to their family rather than a burden.

One day, at some point, I know I will be in the same position with one of my horses. I hope I will know when the time comes and face it with as much grace as they.

How is it we can love a creature so dearly that is such a burden to own? Horses are magnificent, wondrous animals, but they are not dogs or cats. They have much greater needs, much greater time commitments, and much greater expense.

When I was young, desperately craving a horse to call my own, my parents (and, after my parents divorced, my mother) would tell me that horses just cost too much money. But I would look at ramshackle trucks parked in front of ramshackle houses and think, "Why, they don't look like they have much money at all but they have three whole horses out in their back yard!"

Now that I own horses, I realize why their places were so run down. With three whole horses how could you afford anything else? Surprisingly, I now own four.

If I didn't have these four hoofed beasts living in my backyard, I could afford a fancier car, a nicer wardrobe, and an IRA. Instead, I choose to invest in an enormous animal that gets new shoes more often than I, makes sour faces when I don't feed her on time, farts regularly, and generates an enormous amount of poop. Why?

Because when she runs it's like watching freedom spring up on four legs. Her eyes hold all the wisdom of Mother Earth. And when we ride together, it is a connection that I have never felt in any other moment of my life, with any other living being.

Why do I love them? How could I not?


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