“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man/woman.”  Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)   Today I said good bye to my second most beloved equine friend. Joey. I met him working with my husband, the vet, when Joey impaled himself on a tree limb. The stake missed his heart by a mere two inches. As we worked on him, cleaning the wound, debriding flesh, flushing the wound, putting in a drain, Joey kept his big brown eyes on me the entire time. He leaned into me. I rubbed his neck, I told him it would be o.k., I promised I would be back tomorrow, and I was. For many tomorrows I washed and cleaned his wounds. I flushed and wiped and applied dressings. And I fell in love. Joey’s owner’s didn’t want him any more. He couldn’t perform, he would not be the “magic man” for their daughter. I offered to buy him for one dollar. Joey was a sorrowful sight. A gaping wound the size of a basket ball. Hamburger for a chest. Joey and I. We were in love. My green eyes, Joey’s brown eyes, when locked we had an understanding. I would not let him go. I would take care of him. He would not die. I paid the dollar. Joey came to live with me. Joey recovered. Ever slowly we connected under saddle. Occasionally Joey would decide to dump me. He didn’t really like his new job as being a “dancing horse.” Dressage? “Use my body?” I was often met with a resounding”NO.” and a good buck to go with it! As we worked together we grew together. Joey learned, as did I. He learned not to be afraid of the whip as it is used as an extension of my leg. I learned not to be afraid of his size because he didn’t want to hurt me; he simply didn’t understand the question. If anyone has had the pleasure of having twelve hundred pounds of animal between your legs, if you have had the feeling of an animal rising up to meet your body in complete connection with yours and say “YES.” it is pure bliss. My Joey gave that to me. Joey with his beautiful brown eyes full of life, his mane flowing, legs flying, body one with mine. An experience that causes my breath to catch even as I write.    “Here’s to you, Stocking and Star and Blaze ! You brought me all that the best could bring-  Health and Mirth and the Merriest Days  In the Open Fields and the Woodland Ways- And what can I do in return but sing a song or two in your praise !  WILL H OGILVIE


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