Most of us are not lucky enough to be present during our horse’s birth. They come out all leggy with their little squirrel tails and hop around next to their mothers. For most of us, this is the domain of the breeders, who are lucky enough to bring these little lives into the world. They watch them mature, I am sure staring in disbelief as these foals grow parts of their bodies in all different proportions. One doesn’t know croup high until one walks into a field of two year olds.
At this point they are in a world of horses – their mothers, their herd mates, with only occasional interference from a human. But as they age that leggy foal enters a world of people. They are weaned from their mothers, removed from their herd mates and come face to face with the creatures that will control the rest of their lives: us.
They are taught so many rules and all horses are excellent at discovering which ones are breakable. Eventually they meet their person. Now for most horses that person will not be their last person. There will be those who own them to sell them, there will be those who own them to learn from them, there will be those who just don’t get along with them.
But then they meet their last person.
The last person is with the horse through their final years. As they gray, as they age and as they (though not in all cases) quiet down and get a little more mellow. Some horses will age with the grace of a statesmen and some are the perpetual three year old, still hopping around, though now with arthritic joints.
And finally they are taken from us, whether it is planned or suddenly, it still wrenches at our souls. Horses give us more than companionship and beauty. They give us a taste of being something more than human. They allow us to feel the power and the grace of being…well…them. And when they go bolting across the ring with us aboard, they give of a taste of delicious humble pie. When a horse you love dies, you not only lose the bond you had with them, but it also clips your wings, forces you back on earth and back into the life of a human being. And as the horse dies, they keep it all, dying a horse as we stay behind on our two legs and watch them go.
I will miss you Markant – thank you for the pie.