“Promise me you'll never forget me because if I thought you would, I'd never leave.” ― A.A Milne
His mind was everywhere this morning. His thoughts were like the waves of the ocean, frightening and intimidating, as only the wildly beautiful, yet powerful surf could be. The year had been chaotic, bringing many changes, none of which were especially welcomed. Cancer, seemingly out of nowhere, had become his biggest nemesis and he was starting to feel weaker, his resolve for fighting this giant and "his personal Goliath", shaken. He wasn't sure what the next 3 or 4 months would bring and whether he would even live long enough, to see springtime. “Yes” he thought, “what a shitty year it has been.” He was tired and felt like shouting "uncle!" at the top of his lungs. Financially, the year had also been a train wreck and while his mind had been in a good place this past summer, his health responding to several positive and upbeat changes, the financial part of it never really came together as expected. The new home he found, two towns over, appeared to be ideally suited to his changing level of energy and strength. It was perfect...and manageable. Three and a quarter acres, cross-fenced into 5 paddocks with a charming 4 stall barn. A cozy 3 bedroom New England-style cape cod, with a screened- in porch overlooking one of the paddocks, made it even more wonderful. He had made an offer on the place, $285,000, contingent on the sale of his place for $850,000. His farm was beautiful and reflected the many years of blood, sweat and tears he had personally invested. He knew that the price on his farm was ambitious but he was counting on the desirability of his property. He couldn’t go anywhere in town without someone stopping him, to tell him how much they loved his farm. And, with the surplus of money after the purchase of the new place, he could pay off some of the medical bills that had been dogging him and have enough money left over to live comfortably and focus on his recovery. But the deal on his 45 acre farm fell through and after all was said and done, it really hurt to lose the deposit he had made. That was his hay money for this coming winter. Since then, things had just spiraled out of his control. It was cold now and he could see his breath, frosty and white. Fall was like a harbinger of colder and drearier things to come. From where he stood on the hill, he could see the glare of the silver tractor trailer, as the sun reflected off its shiny body. The truck had turned off the highway and within 15 minutes would be pulling up his driveway. Time to get Ferise. He couldn't believe that it had come to this. He had tried, really tried to avoid this outcome but keeping the horses became an impossibility, no matter how hard he tried. So, one by one, he had said goodbye to his treasured mares and now, he had to say goodbye to Ferise. This was going to kill him. Ferise had been with him for 15 years. He had bought him as a weanling from a friend who had bred him, with a very specific purpose in mind - to be her herd stallion. She never got to see him mature into the magnificent stallion she believed he would be. He had been her masterpiece and every foal he had sired, a memorial to her insight and wisdom. On the day she died, he had promised her that Ferise would only know one home, his home, for the rest of his life and she, had consummated her agreement with one last smile. That promise, over time had now become a legacy. No doubt about Ferise's importance and yet, something had to be said about what Ferise did for him. No matter how upside down his world had become, Ferise was the constant, the steadfast friend who without saying anything, could somehow dull all the sharp and painful edges of life. What would he do now with Ferise gone? He walked over to his paddock, halter in hand. His hands were trembling. He had prayed for a miracle, the hardest that he had ever prayed, since his friend had died. But where was God? The silence had been grueling, now, as it was back then. Ferise saw him and wheeled around and cantered to the gate, nickering softly at the sight of his friend. He placed the halter over his head, clipped the lead and started to walk towards the barn. He wanted to brush the dust off his body and switch to a warmer sheet, maybe the fleece lined stable blanket would be great. His eyes studied every curve of his horse, in the hope that they would forever be etched in his memory, as vividly as he saw them now. Oh! How he loved this horse! Ferise kept turning his head to look at him, to study the face that he knew so well. Something was different this morning and he had sensed the heaviness in the man's heart. He lightly pawed the ground, to ease the growing anxiety that was building in him. "Easy now boy, nothing to worry about." he heard himself say. The lie he just told his horse overwhelmed him. He reached out to stroke his neck, to comfort him but more than anything, he didn't want to forget the way his body felt under the touch of his hand. Ferise’s coat was especially fine and silky to the touch, proof of his desert heritage. It was killing him. He didn't want to say goodbye. He wanted to keep all his horses and yet, this one...it was really going to hurt. As he buckled the straps of the blanket across Ferise's chest, he heard the rumble of the truck's motor as the truck came to a stop in the driveway. He took a deep breath, as if to cleanse his body of the deep emotion he was feeling and wheeled around to greet the driver, as he walked to the back of the truck to lower the ramp of the trailer. "Good morning, cold enough for ya?" The driver said and asked, "is that the horse I'm picking up this morning?" He shook his head to indicate yes, not fully trusting that he could utter words clearly, without giving away how he felt inside. No one had helped him prepare for this part of the journey and even though it may be “just a horse” to another, the pain he felt was every bit as painful as the pain he felt when his friend and Ferise's breeder had died. As the driver walked towards him, to take the horse, he waved him away. "If you don't mind, I want to take him up into the trailer myself and say goodbye." he explained. He hadn't finished speaking those words, when Ferise turned around and grabbed the arm of his coat and wouldn't let go. He wasn't biting him, he was just holding onto him with his mouth, as if to say, "please, don't leave me. I don't want to go." Tears welled up in the man's eyes. The power of this moment was more than he had bargained for. How would he face tomorrow with Ferise somewhere else, knowing that he had turned his horse's life upside down? They only had each other and in the next few seconds, both of them would lose everything they have.
03 September, 2015
“Promise me you'll never forget me because if I thought you would, I'd never leave.” ― A.A Milne
18 May, 2015
21 April, 2015
"His small ears were pricked, catching the strange sounds from the other animals. His fine head was held high. His every sense was alert. Every muscle, every sinew was ready to be unleashed with the power and swiftness of a coiled steel spring. The Black was all horse." - from The Horse Tamer by Walter Farley.
14 December, 2014
"What is this, what is happening?" she questioned, with great concern.
"I am Gabriel, who stands before God.."-Luke 1:19In Christianity, Gabriel is the angel who informs Zacharias of his wife's forthcoming pregnancy. Elizabeth, despite an advanced age, gives birth to a son, John, whom we know as John the Baptist. However, Gabriel's greatest message was to Mary, when He visited her to deliver the news that she would give birth to Jesus. Subsequently, Gabriel visits Joseph in a dream, to warn him of Herod's jealousy and his mission to slaughter all the newly-born male babies in Bethlehem. While the New Testament does not tell us that Gabriel was in fact, the Angel who delivered the news to Mary Magdalene of the resurrection, most Christians believe that Gabriel was the angel who said "Why do you search for the living among the dead?" Most Christians also believe that Gabriel was the angel who ministered to Jesus, as He agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before His passion.
"My blessed companion and friend of my creator, thou wilt never fail me."-from The Classic Arabian Horse written by Judith Forbis"Who are you and where have you come from?" she asks, as she backs up towards her sleeping child, positioning her body between the stranger and Ishmael, offering her child protection.
Although she does not recognize him, she asks
"Has Abraham sent you for me?"
with a little hope still in her voice.
"I mean you no harm Hagar, the Lord God has found great favor in you. For you have remained steadfast in the faith of Abraham. You have not strayed from God and worshipped the pagan gods," he explained, "God is my strength and has sent me here, to this desert, to you, to bless you."
"What is happening?"
And then, the most beautiful creature Hagar had ever seen, materialized out of the wind and stood before her, looking at her. She was extraordinary in her beauty and in her spirit, for she imparted an immediate feeling of peace upon Hagar, the likes of which she had never known. The creature was smaller than the camel but larger than the donkey, with eyes set wide apart in her broad head. In the middle of her head was a white mark, shaped like a star, as if the star had fallen out of the night sky, landing upon her bulging forehead. She reached her nose out to Hagar, stretching her long neck and soon, her warm breath was dancing upon Hagar's skin. Her broad chest flowed into powerful shoulders, conveying the fact that this creature could fly like the wind, across the sand and away from danger. Her tail, like a flag, was blown from side to side, as if made from the finest silk.
"What is..?" her question, unfinished, drifted in the night air.
"She is a gift, from God. Her name is Kuhaylah and her children will inspire and encourage people for many years to come, long after you are gone from this place, for God has found favor with you Hagar and with your prayers...."
Peace on earth and mercy mildEnJOY,
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies"-from the song, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, written by Charles Wesley
PS The painting by Mary Haggard was the poster for the 2002 Scottsdale All Arabian show. The scond painting of the chestnut Arabian Horse is by Fred Verbeek
01 October, 2014
"....large liquid dark eyes of oval shape..." - Carl RaswanI pulled into the driveway and saw Maria just stepping out of her golf cart, with an arm full of hay. She had just started feeding the horses. It was a good time to visit, as I could help her with all of the chores while we talked. "Hey, how are you? Thanks for letting me come over" as I gave her a big hug and then asked, "where's your new mare? I don't see her."
With a panicked look on her face, Maria quickly searched the herd with her eyes. "Um...oh, there she is, David, right over there, by the water trough. She's the little chestnut mare with the white star," she said and continued, "you know, I don't really know that much about her. Her owner died and the relative that I dealt with, didn't really know much, other than what was on her papers. She's a sweet mare though, sad but really sweet. She doesn't socialize with the rest of the horses in this pasture. When she first got here, I thought maybe after a few weeks, she would be used to everyone. But that time has come and gone and still, she prefers to stand alone in the far corner of this field, away from all the other horses." Maria explained, as she agonized over the cute mare. "What do you think?" she asked me. I shrugged my shoulders because I had nothing to say. Maria looked at me and then continued, "the vet has seen her a couple times and has run a blood workup but he can't seem to find anything wrong with her. Nothing. She's healthy. So, I have been wondering over her diet and whether the grain I am feeding her might have something to do with it. I might switch her to a forage-based diet. I've already tried a higher dose of vitamins but I haven't seen any change. She looks so sad, so withdrawn. I know this sounds crazy but I have an animal communicator coming here tomorrow morning, to evaluate her."
"I don't think that's crazy Maria," I replied, "you might just find out what's bothering her and then, help her get better." We talked a little more about her new mare and a few other things and pretty soon, it was time to go home. "Call me and let me know what the communicator finds out about your mare. I'm stumped." I said, as I backed my car out of her driveway and drove away.
So, imagine my surprise, to learn the whole story, when I called Maria later. I cried, to learn that Desi was grieving the loss of her human. I also loved her name. Desi. And then, it hit me and I laughed out loud, "WOW, even horses like selfies, just like people."
29 September, 2014
I'll be cold in it but...it had deep pockets.
I could fit a lot of cool stuff in there, like a couple wormers plus a few carrots, a hoof pick, curry comb, syringes and a rolled up lead rope. And that was just for starters. Maybe even a rock or two. I love rocks. I pick them up off the ground all the time. It just seemed to me that there was alot of potential in those pockets. So, I bought the coat...yup, for the pockets. I love pockets.
26 September, 2014
"Fairy tales can come true, they can happen to you, when you're young at heart..."-from the song Young at Heart, written by Johnny Richards and Carolyn LeighThis is Haliluyah MH, an El Halimaar son out of RDM Maar Hala, as photographed by the very talented, Christine Emmert. When I think of Haliluyah, I think of his miraculous beginning,
“Desperate to produce another foal or two, Maar Hala was left with an equine reproduction specialist in Santa Ynez. The vet was given carte blanche to ‘do whatever it takes to get her pregnant.’ By this time, Maar Hala was 21 years old but was in excellent health. At the end of the season, she was not pregnant so the decision was made to bring her home, reassess in the spring, and then decide if her reproductive career was over. At home she was pampered and treated like the queen that she was, but she was not teased and her cycles were not tracked. In April of 1995 the vet returned to examine Maar Hala to determine if it would be worth our while to try again. Upon examination, the vet told my dad to sit down because Maar Hala was pregnant. Dad exclaimed, ‘Hallelujah!’ and we had the name of Maar Hala’s next and last foal, Haliluyah MH.” -Jody Cruz, in his article, RDM Maar Hala, appearing in the September 2009 issue of The Australian Arabian Horse NewsWho said miracles don't happen anymore? We just need to be more aware of them and to live each day as if it is in fact a miracle, because when you get right down to the middle of it, you are the miracle of your life. You just don't know that yet.