My passion for animals is no surprise to friends and family. Horses used to be my number one favorite, but due to various reasons, I couldn’t have one after leaving the farm. However, I did ride for years at other facilities. So, I ended up switching my number one favorite to dogs and horses second. I love both for sure. Which leads to this blog:

Every morning, as soon as I awaken, I draw open our curtain and look out the picture window that frames the pasture just below. I like seeing the goats and their newly-born kids, the stocky pinto, and the bay horse – my morning, afternoon and evening fix. Three days ago, it snowed the evening before and as I gazed down, I automatically sucked in my breath. I saw the bay lying flat, snow blowing over him. I rushed into the living room and told my husband. He grabbed the binoculars and tried to assure me it might be something else. Like a pile of hay. It was only his protection of me – he knows this passion I carry. But I viscerally knew the bay was dead. The shock was almost more than I could bear. Please God, let it not be true. I texted my dog-walking friend next door. She looked out her window and texted. “Oh no, I think he’s dead.” I immediately pulled down the living room curtain, but within minutes, something deep within me told me to honor him. I opened it. He laid there and his owner drove into the yard and went to him. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and it was apparent she was sobbing. She left, a truck came mid-afternoon and took him away. That, I couldn’t watch.

He had been full of life, young and beautiful. He arched his neck when cantering in the pasture, his gait light and smooth, his coat glistening. We watched him often and his pinto friend just over the fence, their necks nearly entwined. We grew to love them from a distance. 

Aside from the horrible pain of losing him, here’s the hard part: Only once in the 2 ½ years we lived here did we see his owner arrive, brush him and let her son comb his tail. One time. That is all. The boarders took good care of him physically and fed him regularly. But, he spent day after day, standing near the fence, waiting for the pinto to come out of the barn and be with him. They are such herd animals. I ached at his isolation, the lack of attention. If there is any good part of his death, he no longer must wait and watch for someone to come. I’ve imagined many times asking the bay’s owner why in the heck she kept him if she had nothing to do with him? Then, I try to remember we never know someone else’s story.

His buddies grieved. As soon as the pinto was let out of the barn, he went to the fence between them, as near as he could to where the bay was. He laid down in the snow, (they both used to lay down at the same time, but only when the sun shone) stared at the bay, and finally arose. He then walked over and stood at the bay’s shed, as did the goats, unusual for them all. Perhaps the most touching moment was when two mother goats reached up and touched the pinto’s nose as he hung his head. An act of comfort. We’ve never seen this behavior before, and we have spent much time watching them and their antics. They say animals grieve—I believe it. We saw it and it still goes on for them.

No matter what, it has been a heart-breaking situation and I will ache as I raise my bedroom curtain, ready to greet the morning with the bay no longer there. 

Some say there is no animal heaven. Some say there is. I choose to believe the latter. I hope he is happy there, that children surround him and pet his neck, comb his mane, and bury their nose in his wonderful smell. 

5 thoughts on “Teardrops

  1. Jackie, Had a feeling you would write about this today. It helps. Love those horses!

  2. God bless all the animals we are given to care for. We share their planet. May we all remember our responsibility of care. My heart aches with yours Jackie.

  3. Oh, how sad. I truly believe animals have much more feeling and thought than most humans give them credit for! Your beautiful essay honors the bay,

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