One Year

First time I met him, eight months before taking him home.

It has been a whole year since I laid my funny, charming, kind, little black horse to rest.

Some days, I’m certain I’m okay and have moved on. Other days, I’m pretty sure I still haven’t moved from the spot where he left me, his knees buckling underneath himself as he laid down to sleep that final time. I am stuck there, my heart pounding and eyes clouded, as the grief stabs my stomach again and again and again and again and again.

Second time I worked him at B’s. He always parked out when I asked him to stop.

The mourning has been an entirely different animal this time around. GP was 34 when he died. He had lived a long, full life and while we had one hell of a bond, it started off so one-sided and blossomed so slowly that I was still wrapping my head around what it meant to have a true relationship with a horse when he died. It was a soul freeing experience to even have touched on something like that, and it opened me up to what an even deeper bond could look like. He saved me and taught me what the power of love could really do. I was shattered when he moved on out of this world, but I knew, even on the worst days, that there would be another critter for me to love, even if I couldn’t acknowledge it at the time.

The day I brought him home: January 26th, 2013. I never thought for a second I’d lose him just seven months later.

Then Image happened. It took me eight months after originally meeting him to bring him into my life, because I was scared shitless that I couldn’t be what he needed. It took eight months for me to realize that we were what each other needed, and that I couldn’t let fear run my life any longer.  It felt “right”, whatever the hell that may mean. Accepting Image into my life was me, in a round about way, saying “thank you” to whatever fates or gods there may be, for giving me GP. GP saved me, and now I was supposed to save Image — not that he needed saving in the traditional way; B had already done that and had given him many healthy years. I was supposed to help heal his psyche the same way GP had healed mine. I told him the day that I released him into the paddock at L’s that I would never, ever stop fighting for him because he deserved to always have someone fighting for him. B passed that torch to me when she allowed me to take him home (god, am I ever grateful to her for trusting me) and I didn’t think for a second that fighting for him was going to mean letting him rest so soon after bringing him into my care.

Funny pony roughhousing with Gus.

We spent seven months together. I could wax poetic about how brilliant every single second was, but that’d be a lie, and I’ve never been much of a liar. There were terrible days when I was sure I had made a huge, nasty mistake and that I was fucking him up worse. There were days where I couldn’t figure out what was going on his brain and we frustrated each other to death because of it. Hell, there were days where I looked at him, and he looked at me, and I turned around and left the barn because neither of us were in the right frame of mind to even think about even being together, never mind working together.

Tolerant pony was tolerant!

Those days, however, are muted. The days that shine were the days that he placed his trust, however tentative, in my hands. The day he, with so much trepidation, shuffled up to me after a good round pen session and plunked his head in my chest. The first time I rode him without an explosion. The hours of sitting by the river or in the field or in the ring, just being together. His willingness to TRY, even if he was scared (or probably hurting) or confused or absolutely sure he shouldn’t trust me. His slow but steady change from standoffish and aloof, to reaching out for me and the halter when I walked into the paddock. His hysterical, adorable little trick of tilting his head like a dog when you asked him to “say please!” His tolerance for my antics and inability to let him be dirty, ever. There was so much that I loved about that little horse that my heart nearly burst with joy every time I spoke about him. I was in awe of him and how quickly he managed to wiggle his way into my soul, despite the fact that I was still broken from the loss of GP.

Handsome is his pretty bridle!

Sadly, the days that shine are the days that cause the most pain now. I wish they could, but they’re still unable to negate the emotional battle zone within my own head. I wish I could get through the fire, but I find that it’s still too heavy to muddle through, even a year later. I am angry. I am confused. I am scared. It’s all quite juvenile, when written down like that, but there it is. I had two extremely important critters taken from me in a very short amount of time. Life isn’t fair by any stretch of the imagination, but the child in me is still trying to recover from an epic temper tantrum fueled by grief and impatience over not knowing what’s next. I seriously wonder if I will ever find (or allow myself) another horse that I will love as deeply. I don’t know, and I’m loathe to think about it. He taught me to chase the sun, but chasing the sun when it feels like you’re running in place is not the easiest task in the world.

Photoshoot with Kate Taylor/Polar Square Designs. 
Photoshoot with Kate Taylor/Polar Square Designs
Photoshoot with Kate Taylor/Polar Square Designs

It hurts something fierce, but I don’t regret him. I will never regret him or the role he has played in my life. I am deeply, deeply grateful for his presence and the things he taught me. He is, and forever will be, the funny little black horse that taught me how to chase the sun.

How much is that pooooony in the window…!
Taken July 25th, 2013. I let him go the next day.

Not every single second was lovely, perhaps, but I loved every single second. Rest easy, my sweet Image.

Love Me In Focus

8 thoughts on “One Year

  1. Dom July 26, 2014 / 2:41 am

    I think of him often, and I can't help but think that one year after his last day was the first day of Dancer's new life. I really feel like I knew this horse ❤ This entry made me cry.


  2. Figure July 26, 2014 / 4:28 am

    I cannot believe it's been a year. Hugs.
    And yes.. made me cry too.


  3. Aoife July 26, 2014 / 7:25 am

    Such a beautiful tribute.


  4. Madeline C. July 26, 2014 / 5:36 pm

    We always say that we rescue them, but in our hearts we know they were the ones who rescued us. It's been 3 years and I'm still broken, but let me tell you the amount of band-aids B has laid on my heart. Image was what you needed, that step to get you through. And you were everything that he needed in return. There will be another one, there always is. You'll see the need in their eyes and you'll know that you need them just as much.


  5. KateRose July 26, 2014 / 9:28 pm

    I put my sweet old man down in 2009 and I still cry when I talk about it. Sending hugs! You have some wonderful photos of your pony to treasure 🙂


  6. Lauren July 30, 2014 / 7:44 pm

    You are such a wonderful writer and everything you are feeling (and what others of us have felt upon loosing a great piece of ourselves) comes through perfectly clear and poignant in your posts. Like you've said yourself, whenever you write about Image you really come alive and we can tell and it's beautiful, even when it's sad. This was such a nice memoir post to read 🙂


  7. Amanda July 31, 2014 / 2:15 pm

    I blushed for five minutes after reading your comment. Thank you ❤ I hear things like this and it makes me realize that I am truly making the right decision in finding Simba a new person. He deserves to have someone who feels the same about him as I did about Image.


  8. Tracy Beavers August 1, 2014 / 7:43 pm

    For me the one year mark was the toughest day. Not that others aren't hard… but that first year was especially difficult. You never lose them and you never forget. You're heart just expands to include new horses into your life ❤


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