Another is that the sight of a horse getting back up after rolling around is equally fascinating and delightful to witness. There’s something uncanny about it, like watching one of those films of a building being imploded in reverse or something. There’s an awe-inspiring grace to the action, too, the way the legs and body and head move together, almost like an unseen puppeteer has pulled the horse up somehow by invisible strings.
Last night I learned something else, something I’m very sad to report today. One of the most heart-rending things to witness is seeing a horse who wants to get up, but cannot.
I got back from Monaco Saturday night, in time for our nightly feeding of the four horses we keep. Sunday I visited with each for a short time, then set about doing some yard chores. Unfortunately Sammy, our eldest, found himself in some unexpected distress during the afternoon -- something entirely natural for a horse of his age to encounter -- and several hours later we were faced with a decision that was really no decision. We had to let him go.
Vera got Sammy many, many years ago, even before we were married, and so he’s been an important part of our family since even before it technically was a family. Living on the farm over the last two-and-a-half years gave me an extra chance to spend even more time with Sam, whom I have always called my biggest buddy. He’s actually the only horse I’ve ever ridden, always cool and calm when carrying an amateur like me around, much as he’s done with countless others over the years.
The suddenness of losing Sam made it especially tough to bear, and we’re still reeling. It was the best possible way for him to go, honestly, with relatively minimal pain and not too much of a prolonged struggle.
But man, oh man, did he want to get up. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I wanted him to as well.
Poker taught me a lot about patience. Living on the farm has taught me even more about the subject. Nothing gets done right away, and in fact most things end up taking twice as long as expected.
Sammy was such a laid-back, good-natured creature, he rarely showed any kind of impatience. That photo up above is a bit of an exception, and one of my favorites of him. He’s waiting by the fenceline for Maggie, our older mare. She’d left with Vera for a lesson, and he was whinnying and watching for her return.
I’ve joked that I act the same way when Vera’s away. We hate to be apart from those we love.