Our Five Ring Circus: My old man

Friday, March 20, 2009

My old man

Over the past few months, I've been noticing a change in my horse. He is old now, and his age is really starting to show. It hurts to watch him get old, because he grew up with me. We are just a few short years apart in age, and when I got him, he was young and wild, and now, while I'm still young, he's elderly.

We went to visit him today, after not seeing him for 2 weeks. The kids love going to the stable, and they ran ahead of me through the pasture, calling his name. I spotted him at the hay bale, where he always stands, eating. Or so I thought. As I got closer, I realized it was Cherokee's twin, and my Cherokee was laying on the ground. I have never, in 17 years, seen him on the ground. My heart plummeted, but as we came near, he stood up, and walked over.

Instead of my vibrant, mischievous, spirited horse, I saw a shell of what he once was. He was even skinnier that the last time I saw him, and as I wrapped my arms around him, I felt every bone in his body. He doesn't have the energy that he had months ago. He was very lethargic, and content to just lean into me.

The kids were oblivious. They called out his name, pet him, talked to him and fed him some treats. I just stood there, arms around him, hiding my tears against his neck.

All I could think about were the past 5 years. I haven't spent much time with him at all. I barely rode. Over those years, I was sick during my pregnancy, on bed rest, and then I had a new baby. And when things got back to normal, I did it all over again. When Lexie got a bit older, we started spending a lot more time at the stable. But it wasn't enough. That thought just kept running through my head, and I whispered into his ear how sorry I was, and told him how much I loved him.

When we left today, I watched him walk very slowly back to the hay bale, and start eating. He used to stand at the gate and watch me go, almost angry that I was leaving without him. He would stand there until I was out of sight. I would glance back, and he would take off full speed, back to the hay or grass. Today, he walked away before we could even get out the gate. It's almost as if he knows I'm not going to come everyday to see him...as if he lost all hope. The personality that once stood out, is now gone.

I feel so guilty right now. I can't take back the past five years, nor would I want to change anything, but I do regret not spending more time with him. Now that I'm ready to, he's starting to fade. I was looking forward to riding again this spring, and I'm not sure that I will ever get to ride him again. Even if I do, it's not going to be the same as the last time I rode, when we galloped through a field.

I grew up with him in my life, and I am a better person because of it. I always dreamed my kids would get to spend years with him. They are getting to experience life with him, but there's not nearly enough years left, and that thought makes me sad. I want him to light up their lives, just as he did mine.

When I was younger, I used to think that it would be ages before the time came for him to go. Now, I realize that time truly does fly, and I'm not ready to say goodbye. I feel like a child...like I need to dig in my heels, kicking and screaming, and tell him that it's not time to go just yet. Not. Just. Yet.


  1. I am so sorry Stef. That must be so hard. I am sobbing just reading your words!

  2. I am so sorry for you as well. You can tell the wonderful attachments and love you have..

  3. I'm SO sorry to hear about your horse. I understand how you feel.


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