Friday, November 21, 2008

For the Love of a Horse

As a sophomore in high school, I wrote a short story entitled For the Love of a Horse. It was the kind of romantic tripe that only a teenager can write, something about a girl who dies to save the horse she loves. I think she falls off a cliff in the end. It was a terrible story, but I have to admit that occasionally, when I'm in a sappy mood, I still like the title.

Do you remember being eight years old, surrounded by model horses and dreams? Do you remember being twelve, working all summer in trade for your first mare? Do you remember being sixteen and understanding that horses are better than boys?


Do you remember being twenty and falling in love, and marrying, and selling your horse to move to the city?

Most of us wander, at least for a while, from the passion of our youth. Marriages. Careers. Births. Divorces. Finances. Travels. Deaths. Mistakes. Life carries us far enough to almost forget. We pretend we don't mind, that stolen hours in the stable don't matter any more, that we would rather be secure in townhouses, insulated from vet bills, never called out on rainy nights to see to a colic or a founder or a foal.

And yet they draw our eyes, the horses grazing at roadsides. We guess breeds, gauge height, critique conformation. We remember the magic behind their eyes, the heat beneath their skins, the trace of sweat upon their racing flanks. We look until they are out of sight, and in that moment, we forget to pretend.

One day, we finally confess. The affair is not over. What but a lover or a horse can move like sea beneath us, dance scarcely touching, speak without sound? The ember flares. We leap into the blaze, and so we live or die again...for the love of a horse.
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Home Is Where the Horse Is
Shot in the Dark: Friendship
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3 comments:

Lori Skoog said...

Well written and I understand what you are talking about. I have been doing chores morning and night for over 28 years and can't imagine what it is like for my friends who can sleep in or go away for vacations.
Yet, I would not trade this for anything...when I get an animal of any kind, it is with me for life and can't imagine giving any of them up.

Lori

Le Cheval Endiablé said...

I discover your blog from Lori Skoog's one.
Beautiful post.
What is wonderful with animals is tehy have no purposes for us. They live the present. They are happy to see you if they appreciate you. They're not waiting anything except kindness and sweets.
As I have no time enough to take care of a horse, I have none. So I go to the equestrian club to ride. I think I love all the club horses.

LizGoldsmith, EquineInk said...

Ahh yes, I certainly do remember saving up my pennies for those Breyer horses, mucking stalls for trainers in exchange for lessons, and they joy of finally owning my own at the ripe old age of 34! It's hard now to imagine life without them.