A Glorious Sadness

My sister did an incredibly difficult but generous thing.  She donated her two horses, Pepper and Cody, to the Cowboy Church's O.A.T.S Program (Overcoming Adversity Through Silence)--an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) program.

These two horses are part of her family, and to give them up was something that was difficult but made with the thoughtful consideration of how to balance the best interests of the horses against the very real fact that they are both getting older and have no nearby family in the event that something should happen to one or both of them.

 Both my sister and I had horses as kids.  Our cousins had horses, and we systematically wore our parents down until we could finally become horse owners as well.

Our first horse was Misty--a dapple gray quarter horse with a red roan colt in tow.  Apparently a Morgan stallion had cleared the fence and mated with Misty with "Whistle" being the product of that union.

In addition to this mother/son combo, we had Max, Zeke, Julie, Candy, (and another horse whose name escapes me, but was one of my sister's favorites). We had many, many hours of enjoyment, and a few times of abject terror!, with our steeds.  They provided us with acceptance and stability that we sorely needed at the time in our lives.

As an adult, I could never see my way clear to add another responsibility to my overflowing plate of family and work.  Therefore, I never added horses to my adult life though my husband would thoughtfully ask from time to time.  I felt that I was just hanging on by my fingernails--and to add the responsibility of another animal to care for--a large and expensive one--just did not have an appeal to me.  Nevertheless, each time I see one, I gravitate to them. I love their smell, the exquisite softness of their whiskered muzzles, and the systematic way they inhale you into their olfactories to check you out.

 One of the single greatest horse memories I have as an adult is riding Pepper (left in photo) at my sister's some years ago. Pepper is a 'get-up-and-go-girl', much like my Mustang/Quarterhourse Max.  She is about the same size, and once she realized that she was going to have to go my way v. her way, we had the grandest time.  We galloped in the nearby field, and I loved her the combination of the wind and her mane in my face.  It had been more than 20 years since I had been on a horse, but as with riding a bike, all of one's muscles kicked in.  As I dismounted, my children (3 and 6 or so at the time) started sniggering.  Apparently my post-childbirth bladder did not perform too well on ride--just enough to make me look ridiculous, but not enough to cause any true cascade of shame.

Well, all of the muscles that USED to be there but were now dormant kicked in.  Over the next 3-4 days, raising and lowering myself into the car was excruciating, and walking just a couple of notches less so.  It was a glorious soreness though--uplifting but physically painful.

I imagine that on Friday, my sister felt a glorious sadness--the uplifting and glorious part of knowing that her two equine family members will be easing the disquietude of adults and children with emotional and physical trauma coupled with the sadness of the raw and biting pain of being separated from her beloved equine companions.


Post a Comment