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.
Timing Isn't Everything
Shall We Dance?
Home Is Where the Horse Is
Shot in the Dark: Friendship
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