The Gift of Life Often Comes on Four Legs
There are many blessings that greet us when we first open our eyes at the beginning of a new day. One of the first positives, to consider, is the fact that our eyes have actually opened and that we have another period of wakening before us where we can make a difference and excel in any endeavor that we are either tasked or decide to accomplish. That is always an uplifting thought and I attempt to remember, every morning, to thank all that is good in the universe for allowing me another opportunity to improve myself and, hopefully, the world around me. Such feelings are particularly sweet when I am home from my travels and know that I will be spending the day with my wife, on our farm surrounded by the four legged creatures that we love and who love us in return. (Actually, that feeling of love and home is extended to our wild kids too; the deer, squirrels, birds, fish and even the coyotes but I have yet to become enamored with the wild hogs…that will take some doing.) And although everyday is special in its own right there are a few that just jump out there and shine brighter than others and I had the wonderful experience of enjoying just such a morning while I was last home.
It started out like any other morning, up hours before the sun has risen, fresh pot of coffee and off to the sanctity of my home office to check emails and ponder over what might be the writing topic of the day. Instead of completing another nearly finished book I often am tangled up in the plight of our American equines, domestic or wild. Cruelty, abuse and neglect are not found in my vocabulary so it takes a great deal of mental gymnastics to wrap my mind and heart around what goes on in the public eye under the bright light of day, I am usually astounded by the ignorance.
After battling the enemy from afar by tossing words like grenades at our foes, Terry usually joins me and we sit either in my office or step outside, weather permitting, so that we can chat and discuss the issues and plan which direction our day will take. I live for those moments as my travels take me away from home more than I am there but it is required, now, so I appreciate the time that we do have together.
If outside we are greeted by our two, geriatric, rescued German Shepherds and together we sit and watch the birds, squirrels, and horses in the back as the sound of nature and nature alone surrounds us like music and keeps us sane.
When home, I take over the daily feeding chores so that Terry can have a break, so after our quiet time I am off to the barn for hay and out to the back pastures to feed the boys their breakfast. Of course, they are always glad to see me; particularly the two Thoroughbreds as they are a bottomless pit for groceries but one day, several weeks ago, things were a little different.
We feed the two TBs and our Mustang teenager up front and then wheel a cart out back for Terry’s Brazilian soul mate to eat in privacy. He is the wise old man who has never bought into the silliness and immaturity that is so very evident in the other three. His aloofness is one of the things that draws him to Terry as his calm wisdom is evident to all who know Apache the Mangalarga Marchador. So on this day the three stooges got their hay and then I wheeled the cart out back to feed the old man. I wasn’t halfway across the pasture when I heard a tremendous uproar of thundering hooves and snorts of fear from behind me. I turned around to see the three musketeers running up and down the fence line with heads alert, ears up and fear in their eyes as they intently watched an unusual creature move towards the fence line on the other side of the fence. They were terrified and it’s been quite a while since I had seen them this spooked, it made me feel glad that I was not on any of their backs. It took me a while to figure out what the problem was but when I finally identified their source of such abject fear I fell to my knees in laughter.
Several days before, our white German Shepherd, Kenny, had laid down near a fire anthill and the ants had attacked the end of his tail. Being partially neurotic anyway Kenny then proceeded to chew all of the hair off from his once very bushy and handsome tail. So in an effort to keep him from licking off the applied medication Terry had wrapped his tail in vet wrap and put a collar on him in an attempt to keep him from licking and further irritating his affliction. As usual, ole Kenny had followed me down to the pasture to ensure my safety and was doing nothing more than watching over me, as he usually does, but he DID look a little different.
The horses wouldn’t give it up, they wouldn’t eat, they wouldn’t settle down and I still could not stop laughing as ole Apache just kept right on chowing down with an occasionally glance over his shoulder at the nonsense going on, sigh, and then go back to chewing on the hay. It was hilarious, so much so I called Terry on my cell and had her come out and document it with pictures.
This was a special moment, this was a time to laugh and enjoy as the animal children interacted, this is what life is all about and I was appreciating every second of it and thankful to have shared it.
The final outcome was that Kenny became embarrassed by the entire thing and went back to sit nearer the house and watch from afar with a very clear ambiance of being insulted. I couldn’t blame him nor could I fault the horses as in their eyes he looked like one of the creatures right out of the movie “Avatar” although I am not sure if they have seen it or not. But we removed the collar from Kenny, the horses settled down and finally they went back to eating but still with one standing guard while the other two would lower their heads, this was of deep concern to them.
So as I sit on the other side of the world and contemplate the memories that I hold dear this recent scene comes to mind and brings a smile to my face. The simple joy and wonder that graces our lives is often brought to us on four legs with humility, honesty and sincere simplicity. I am forever grateful for the depth and richness of my life born on the back of one of nature’s most obligating creatures.
This is why we now and forever more will live with horses.
They have the gift to keep on giving.
R.T. – “It’s Sunday, lets take the day off; I started the ball rolling, how about sharing a few stories of your joys and experiences with your equine children or horse related encounters. This is a chance to cleanse our minds and souls and reestablish why we do what we do, please share…you are all so very special and unique.”