Wally is not a white horse, but he glows in the twilight sometimes, like a ghost or maybe a unicorn, if unicorns were real. Whenever he sees or hears me heading toward the barn, he comes thundering across the pasture. He always gets there before I do, and he always arrives long before Ginger. Hoof beats against the ground tell me he is on the way long before I see him. He is fleet of foot, carrying his head and tail high, as all Arabians do. He is a beautiful sight galloping effortlessly through the tall grass, his mane and tail flying. He loves running right to the fence, slamming to a sudden halt, tossing his head, snorting, side stepping and dancing a bit. He is such a beautiful horse when he is in motion! Sometimes I wish with all of my heart I could ride him but most of the time I am utterly content to just tend to him and love him.
Ginger has none of the flair and heat of Wally's Arabian genes, but she is beautiful in motion, as well. I have an indelible memory of her fat, sleek copper body galloping from the far corner of her lonely pasture the day Wally was brought in. She could hardly believe another horse was in her pasture. Linda, Wally's former owner, was stunned at the first sight of Ginger running across the pasture. "Oh, she is beautiful!" That was truly a compliment, coming from a horsewoman such as Linda, who owns many beautiful horses. "She's so fat - but beautiful! If you ever want to sell her, I would buy her!"
I have no intention of ever selling my horses. Among serious horse people, there is the opinion that my horses' lives are being wasted. Some consider horses not worked or ridden as a waste of money. There may be a tiny sliver of truth in both opinions, but the only regret I have is that my horses are confined to only twenty acres. Sometimes I daydream that I lease a huge pasture from a cattle-raising neighbor for a month in the summer. Wally and Ginger could have a new experience, more room to run, new places to explore and see. What a treat that would be for them. It is only an assumption that it would be a treat because horses seem to be happiest when they have a routine schedule.
My horses do not have a bad life. They are well taken care of in a minimal sort of way. Their hooves are trimmed but never painted or polished. Their manes may be combed out, but never braided or tied with ribbons. Their tails do not grow long and luxurious because they are in the pasture year round. Their hides are often brushed and curry combed until they shine. My coworkers save peppermints from Sonic lunches to routinely send home with me for those two horses. Wally and Ginger appear to love each other. Over time, Ginger has come to the point of allowing Wally to drink with her, and once in a great while, he is allowed to eat from the same scattering of hay. One of the most endearing things I have seen is both of them on the ground, sunning themselves, resting on the southern slope before the barn, two long time companions taking a break. I ran for my camera but it was too late.
Of course, my dream was to always have a horse to ride. It did not work out that way. Instead of one to ride, I have two horses to love. That is about the best Christmas present ever. As always:
Peace on earth and good will toward (some) men!
from the critters and crazy woman of Spiritcreek