A few nights ago my Father in Law called and was talking to my husband, and I could tell immediately by Rob’s responses in the conversation that something was up with one of our horses. I have a sixth sense for things like that and I wasn’t wrong this time.
Sure enough, they were talking about Beauty, the oldest of our horses. Rob’s horse, the mother of mine and Judah’s horses. Until we move up to Scarlett Homestead, and move our animals with us, they are living at my Inlaws farm where they are happy and well taken care of until we bring them home by us.
Beauty is about 26 years old. She’s old for a horse actually as they typically live between 25-30 years on average. She’s ok, but she’s finally lost her hearing and my Father in Law has been noticing for quite some time that her responses have been slowing, but her hearing is totally gone now.
As I write this, I’m thankful for good typing skills and not having to look down at my keyboard because my tears are clouding the letters. All in all, I know Beauty is actually very healthy and in great shape for her age, however it’s a sign of decline and nothing will get better from here on out. It’s just the way life is. We all have an ‘appointment’, and it’s the same with animals.
I don’t however take that fact of life lightly and just because it inevitably has to happen, it doesn’t make it easy to accept. It also makes me mourn the loss of time we will have with her right now. I am wishing more than ever that our home building process would hurry up so we could bring our horse family home to live with us. I wish nothing more than to give Beauty the best last days possible, and hopefully a couple more years of being pampered, spoiled, and just loved.
Rob bought Beauty when he was only 16 and living at his family’s farm where he grew up. She was his first love, and as far as loving other women goes, I have always been fine with her being the ‘other woman’ in his life. Because she’s amazing. Beauty is the pack leader amongst our 4 horses. She has a very quiet strength and grace about her. The other three horses are all her children, and whenever we are out in the pasture with all of them, Beauty only has to side step or throw her head towards one of them that are being pushy or naughty and they all fall in line without hesitation. She’s calming and gentle and when you’re with her she almost makes you feel like she’s royalty, without having an attitude about it. She won’t let just anyone touch her either. She’s never liked to be caught or handled much, unless it’s with Rob. She loves her ‘person’ and she will do anything for him. I secretly think Rob likes that….that she’s a one man kind of woman.
When I first met Rob and began to hang around the horses and was just starting to learn about them and their behavior, Rob always told me “when in doubt, stand with Beauty and the other horses will leave you alone”. And it was true. I distinctly remember one time being out with all the horses and Scarlett scared at something and took off like a crazed mad woman and was charging around (at the time I was still nervous and getting my footing at how to handle situations like that!) but Rob grabbed me and stuck me beside Beauty until Scarlett calmed down and Beauty stood guard, with her calming presence, and shielded me until Scarlett calmed down and walked up to us realizing everything was ok. Beauty is so reliable and steadfast and I have grown to respect her so much for that. I trust her more than the others in those situations and know that she ultimately has the most control over the pack when I know I sure don’t!
Because of her, we have Buddy, the oldest of her children. He’s strong and gentle and has a real soft spot for me and Judah. He can be pesky with small animals and likes to give a good chase, but when me and my boy show up, he’s the most tender teddy bear I have ever hugged.
Then my best girl Scarlett, my very own special horse. She’s turning 5 in May and gets prettier every year. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I would one day have a horse of my own, but I do now, and I’m so incredibly proud of her. She’s obedient, incredibly vain, thinks the world revolves around her and only her, and she follows me around like a puppy dog wanting more attention after you think you couldn’t give her any more. And I love it.
And lastly, she gave us Amigo, Judah’s special horse of his own. If Amigo could talk, he wouldn’t stop talking. You can see his brain going a mile and minute and he’s so incredibly curious and inquisitive and attention hungry. While all the horses are standing around being groomed, he will never wait his turn. He will push through any crowd, stick his head under another belly to inch closer to you if he has to, and I swear, if he could tell a joke, he would. And he would laugh at it whether it was funny or not. That kid has a huge personality. I think he fits Judah perfectly for a companion!
Beauty has given Rob a lifetime of trail rides and companionship, three beautiful horses for us to enjoy for many more years and I don’t think Rob will ever love a horse the way he loves her again. Although we see her decline more and more, we will focus on everything we can to make her happy and keep her healthy and give her the best last years of her life. For such a faithful, loving friend, she deserves nothing but the best.
This is a big realization for me I suppose. This new life that awaits me at Scarlett Homestead will be so lovely, in so many ways. Yet I know that it will be a challenge for me to deal with losses of animals we keep as well. This is not something I have had to deal with yet in life. If you’ve grown up on a farm or ranch I’m sure it becomes part of life and you learn and grow through those experiences. I dread those days yet to come and pray that they are far away and seldom. I know that’s probably not realistic, but I will ignore it as long as I can manage.
So for now, I will try my best to wipe away my tears and enjoy the time we have left with Beauty. Because that is what living is about. Enjoying each day to the fullest and appreciating what we have around us. God made each animal special in it’s own unique form and function, but I believe he gave us horses as a very special gift. They are the most therapeutic animal I know of and I know my heart has been healed many times by just being near them. And when I count my blessings, these beautiful creatures are always amongst the many.
– The Homesteaders Wife