If, you are lucky and a horse lover, you have a dream and perhaps the joy of experiencing a once in a lifetime equine. I was one of those lucky people. In 1985, a six year old thoroughbred, housed in a shed in a backyard in Indiana poked his head out the window, and I fell in love. He was lame, had rain rot and an engine so big that I, a novice rider, couldn’t control him. My trainer said walk away, the vet said walk-away, friends said, run, but I couldn’t. The handsome fellow had snatched a piece of my heart and if I left it would stay with him.
I named him Artist’s Image. He never refused a fence and carried me as high as I dared go in the eventing world. Image then carried our daughter to the upper Three Day levels. The horse loved to gallop and jump. He was bigger than any dream I ever dreamed and gave me years of joy.
Today, at the age of thirty-three, in a pasture showing a promise of spring, beneath the warmth of the sun, I couldn’t refuse him one last fence into a pain free tomorrow. I wish I could have been on his back when he took it, experiencing the power and courage beneath me one more time. I knew he’d gallop it fearlessly, as only he could without my help. He’d never needed my guidance, I’d only been a passenger. This time, I said a reluctant good-bye and walked away. That piece of my heart he’d snatched so many years ago? It stayed behind and went with him.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I say Happy Valentine's Day with mixed feelings. The unrealistic expectations created by the "Buy" industry has turned 2/14 into almost a certain guarantee of disappointment. The wish for a happy day can never match the fantasies of floating on air, showered with jewels and kissed by roses. What I wish is for everyone to find happiness in their connections with others today, with friends, work buddies, strangers, to realize that that smile you share means something to the one receiving it. If I see you, send me a smile. That's what will make February 14th special. Happy Valentine's Day for real.