Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Horse Barn, Part I

I have always been crazy about horses.

I never remember a time when I didn't want a horse, and I never remember a time when I didn't dream about horses. Finally, when I was 11, my dad agreed that I was ready and responsible enough for us to begin the process which included taking riding lessons at the B-Bar-B Ranch (!), continuing with my reading "research" on feeding and caring for horses, building a box stall out in our old barn, finding all the necessary brushes and tools under the Christmas tree, and continuing to prove myself mature enough in school and at home.

June 8th, 1980 Morningstar came to live with us. She was a really beautiful buckskin, with lovely dapples and a white star. Unfortunately she was very unsuitable for a green young girl like myself: she was wild and crazy after being cooped up in a barn and neglected for who knows how how many years. How stupid we were, really, to purchase her, but we bought her from my dad's cousin and well it was convenient and seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Meanwhile, I had a wild thing on my little hands, and it was pretty scary.

They say that you can't train animals through love, and mostly I agree, but with Morningstar that is exactly what happened: I loved her into being a good albeit spirited girl. My mom went with me when I would ride her on the nearby high school football field (the players hated what we left behind!) and that first summer Morgey (what we ended up calling her for short?) and I grew into a team. We could never have won any horse shows, but we kicked butt on the trails and dirt roads around my house. We would head out, just her and I, for hours and hours and share my lunch (she would eat my Snack Pack pudding right off my spoon) and get ourselves into all sorts of snafus. Oh, she was a little crazy and easily spooked, but over that first summer and through the next several years until I left for college we loved each other through it all.

During college, my dad took great care of her, and whenever I came home it was like I had never left. Eventually I was gainfully employed so I moved her out to be near me, boarding her at a lovely little farm near Fort Erie, Ontario where I stayed summers. I was able to ride her some and visit her nearly everyday, but she was mostly just so happy to be living with other horses, and she particularly liked the foals that were born on the farm. She was like a Great-Auntie, and she was so content.

January 4th, 1994, Morgey peacefully feel asleep in the snow. Although she was old, I never really thought about losing her, so I was shocked and deeply grief-stricken. She really was the first major loss of a loved one in my life, and her loss made me begin to realize how even the heros in our life are mortal. Since then I have lost my dad and my oma, and it was Morgey leaving me that helped me to deal with losing two of the most important people in my life.

Morningstar visits me in my dreams. Literally. In some dreams I go out to the barn and find her there, fine and healthy, even after all these years. In some dreams we are riding together here on earth but no one can see us because we are actually together in heaven. She and I were meant to be together, I am sure of it, even if that sounds nuts. I know that when I am in heaven someday I will see her again, along with the other pets and people that have helped make me who I am today. Through love.

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