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.