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Farewell to "H"


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Today......A FAREWELL to my best buddy -- "H" . The horse that brought me up out of the wheelchair. His therapeutic gait does something to reset the nervous system damaged by MS. http://www.narha.org/

 

In the beginning, it was a total surprise. I'd "walked" into the arena dragging both legs and leaning so heavily on two canes that there were red marks across my palms. A half hour later, I slid off of the horse I rode that day ....and my mouth dropped open!!! I could lift up my legs like I was in a marching band. I had BALANCE! I could "find" my legs...and my feet! :cheer: WHAT is THIS? The discovery would change my life. Riding didn't quite give me back what I had before the MS progressed, but it was marvelous.

 

I became acquainted with this dear horse "H" about a year later. He was a wild thang. Held his head so high I thought I was riding a llama. Riding bareback, I could feel his muscles bunch and stretch beneath me. He had power! I had to steer him into buildings to get him to stop. Oh...did he love to RUN! Part thoroughbred and part quarterhorse. Huge....tall as me in withers and rump. [ok...I'm only 5'2" :lol: ] White...long heavy shaggy coat in winter. Looked like a woolly mammoth. Sleek white with reddish freckles all over in the summer. He was astounding to ride.....doubly so since my walking was so labored. On him, I could fly!

 

Though another horse had shown us the way...it was "H" who was so suited for me. Everyone commented on this odd thing between us. He was SO ready to run. Yet on a bad MS day, when I had to be 'poured' onto his back and could not even hold my torso upright.....that dear horse would Tip Toe. So careful of me until he felt my balance returning. Sometimes it took nearly a half hour before the affects of his gait would work on my system. Slowly, I'd be able to sit more upright instead of lumped over the mane, clinging with what hand strength I could. He made sure to "stay underneath me". Always! He'd get impatient sometimes and snort. "Aren't you ready to RUN yet?" :lol: After a half hour or so....I would be ready. The affect has always been that drastic for me.

 

When he walked on the lead rope, he'd match his LONG legs to my shuffling, slow gait. He'd be practically stepping on my heels but he learned to take it real slow for me. One day I was hardly able to make it up a slight incline. That silly horse began to push me with his big 'ole head. Just little bitty shoves. He kept it up until we'd achieved the hill. NO ONE TAUGHT HIM THAT! He just KNEW. Trouble was, I was laughing so hard by the time we got to the top that I nearly fell over. People were pointing and saying, "Lookit that!" That's my "H". :happy0203:

 

Even after we'd gotten to know each other so well, he STILL wouldn't always stop. If I'd had enough of the nonsense, I'd just slide way to one side and THAT would bring him up short. He realllly didn't want me falling off. I did 'splat' a few times in the first couple years together. Never in the last dozen years though. Pretty good for therapeutic BAREBACK riding. ....especially with deer popping outta the forest! :o Never rode with saddle more than a dozen times. Too uncomfortable and my feet can't "feel" the stirrups anyway.

 

Back in the beginning though, he shied once as I leaned way over to pick something up. :rolleyes: Once he was so full of himself out on the prairie. Crisp fall day. "SNORT! Let me put my feet ALLLLLL over this land." But the terrain was full of gullies and such. He would not slow down. Then he comes to this ditch. He could have easily jumped it....his long legs. He could have walked down and up it. But the knuckle head did kinda half of both. And landed THWUNK! ....down on his knees in the sandy dirt. I catapulted OVER his head and did a [martial arts trained] roll. I was SO worried he'd broken a leg or something that I was on my feet again [heck with the MS!] before he was. Now funny thing when something like that happens to horses. Lot of times, if they aren't hurt - and he wasn't thankfully - they'll be spooky and run away in panic. He ran straight over to me and planted his BIG ole head into my chest. "Yikes, mom. We fell!" :o

 

Good thing he came to me cuz tho I'd been able to override the MS momentarily and stand....I really could not take a step. DH was so funny; doing the Purina cat chow-chow-chow dance from his horse. First he began to dismount to see to me. Since I was up he turned his horse to chase H. But then H ran to me so DH just gave up and sat there. :lol: Situation under control. He did have a time getting my jangled nerves and whacked muscles back UP onto big "H". Once we both calmed down. The knuckle head! I told him to slow down.

 

Well time went on and pretty soon we'd been riding together for over a decade. I knew he was aging and I'd let him chose when we would RUN. He still loved it. But he didn't last near as long without getting winded. What a wonderful gait....it was like gliding. I miss that so much with my current therapy horse. She's stiff. "H" and I had become known fixtures around this area....the bareback rider on the big white horse. Summer...Winter [if the roads were clear].....and even Rain [if I judged the storm wrong]. People would wave and talk to us. Some people, lost back here in this warren of ridges, hills and forest would stop us to beg for directions. Nearly panicked. Easy to get lost here, so I took to carrying a copy of a detailed, but simple map. They'd never get out with just verbal directions. I'd give them the map and make another copy to carry for the next time. Folks keep getting lost back here.

 

I cried when I finally knew. I just had to retire him...only two and a half years ago. He was already older than most large horses survive. Now, he was nearing 30. We're not exactly sure but at least that much. [computed to people years...that's 90's] He began to drop weight tho he ate a LOT of senior pelleted feed, etc. Hard to hold his weight now. He was having mini-strokes too. Get all phased-out; staring without seeing and wobbly legs. Sometimes he'd lay down and not even be too aware of anything. One frigid winter night I sat out next to him in that condition for a couple hours. If he died, I was ready. But the coyotes were NOT going to get to him before he died! Not on MY watch! He finally did snap out of it and I got him UP and to the shed. Locked him in for the night so he wouldn't be way out there again if it happened.

 

Said my goodbyes many times to that horse....expecting he'd be gone by morning. But he never was. :shrug: He'd be all recovered and frisky again. Never lost the spark of his eye.....untill just these last days. He'd gotten worse and worse....barely flesh on his ancient bones but YET he'd trot in with that spark and want his dinner. Had him wearing two horse blankets this winter.

 

But he turned old on me recently. God had been working on me. I begged HIM to take "H". HE told me to make the hard decision. So I did. It was time. Even my love-blinded eyes could see that by now "H" was truly tired and likely in pain. It was time to say goodbye ...finally....today.

 

And amazingly, after bawling into his mane for an hour last nite under that gorgeous full moon, today was peaceful. Hard. But when it was done, I have been filled with contentment of having done right by him. I shall MISS him forever! But I am now at peace.....and so is he.

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Long ago I ran into this poem, written for a therapeutic riding facility by a cowboy poet. ["cowboy poet" is a Western thang ;) ] As soon as I heard it, I knew it was for "H".

 

Heavenly Horses by Mike Lee

 

I think some horses go to heaven,

And I can prove it too.

The Bible even talks about it.

So, for me it must be true.

 

Last night I had a funny dream.

I passed through the Pearly Gates.

And standin' on the other side

Was one of Jesus' precious saints.

 

He said "I want to show you something."

And he took me to a place

Where the grass was green and luscious

And a herd of horses grazed.

 

He said, "These are the special ones,

Part of the grand design.

Some helped the lame or crippled,

Some helped the deaf or blind.

 

They don't talk but they communicate

From the One who rules above

Of gentle strength and patience

Of unconditional love."

 

He said, "I, myself experienced

What it's like to live each day

As a prisoner of my body,

To hear the things that people say.

 

"And when it was the loneliest,

I needed something I could touch.

These horses always helped me

And now you know how much."

 

Then, when he finished talkin',

He turned to walk away.

Then he stopped and turned around

With one more thing to say.

 

"All His children will be perfect

When they reach the Promised Land.

For now His gift of animals

Will be His helping Hand."

 

MtRider [.....such an AMAZING thing happened when God paired a big ole white horse and a disabled rider.....I just had to share it. :) ]

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I mourn with Mt_Rider today. Mourn deeply though I never even met H. I have been friends with MtR for many years now and so many times she has given me the privilege of hearing about their exploits, her and H. I've laughed at his antics and rejoiced at his ability to bring MtR out of a MS Flare. I shared her sorrow when he started to go downhill, and her triumph when he rallied. I could feel the bond between them and it didn't take long for me to feel a similar bond growing because of my gratefulness that he was such a help to my friend.

 

When I received MtR's email today saying that he had gone home, I cried. She is such a good writer that I could see her spending time with him last night, taking some of his hair to make into a memento of their time together. I could see how hard it was for her to be with him as the kind vet helped him along his path yet she cared enough to do that for him, sending with him a last breath of love.

 

I shared with MtR the pain of trying to deal with her current therapy horse who had formed such an attachment to H that she had to be walked to see for herself that her friend was gone.

 

And I smiled through my tears when she talked of the peace she was finding today in the fact that she had done what was right for H. I can't help but feel that H will be there, in the final days, the big white steed greeting her with a nudge on her chest, waiting for her to hop on.

 

I have always loved animals and though I never actually met H, I loved him too, despite the distance. I loved him because he loved my friend as only a faithful companion animal can, with deep devotion and fidelity. And I love my friend for just those same qualities.

 

Mt.R, I wrap my arms around you. :wub: I am sorry my friend, very sorry for your loss. I know you will have tears but may you continue in the peace that our Father has given you this day.

 

 

 

(((((((((((Mt_Rider)))))))))))))))

 

 

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Ohhhh, Mt_Rider, it is so hard to say good bye to our dear friends that have made such an impact on our lives. I absolutely loved what you wrote and think it should be published for people with similar struggles so that they can perhaps also learn to 'fly". :hug3:

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{{{{{Mt. R.}}}}}} I know you miss your friend terribly. But you're right, I think animals like that will be there for us. How else will it be that the lion will lay down with the lamb? That line always gave me hope that I would one day see my beloved animals again.

 

Q

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I am so sorry for your loss, but so happy you had H in your life for the time you did. God blessed you with him. May your new one follow in H's footsteps, kinda take over for him.(((()))))

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Dear Mt-Rider, what mixed feelings indeed. Tears streaming down my face for the loss of such a loved one for you. Joy for you to have known H and been in his presence and company.

4 legged friends can be the most faithful and trustworthy of all.

 

Big hugs across the ocean dear Mt-Rider.

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:grouphug: Thank you all for the kind words and reading about my good buddy. It keeps his memory alive when other know what he was for me. This all, in the end, turned out to be easiER than I imagined. Not easy, but I'd built it up to an IMPOSSIBLE task. It wasn't impossible. It was, and will continue to be, painful. I shall mourn him for quite a while. I shall miss him for the rest of my life. But missing is not the same as mourning. Memories without the sharp pain of mourning. Ah "H"! :yar: ....... I am still at the mourning stage now tho.

 

MtRider [not finished with tears yet....not hardly...but thanking God for sending him to me ]

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Oh Sweetie, I am so sorry about your friend. I do believe God gives us animal friends for a reason. I'm so glad you had such a grand life with him and he with you, and that you both stayed strong for each other until the pain became too much.

 

Many hugs dear, many hugs. :bighug2::bighug2:

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The bond between the right horse and the right rider, is God's blessing on humans.

I had an old black Morgan mare that carried me through 3 pregnancies, through the steep Hell's Canyon pastures we used as range.

Twenty five years later, I still miss that mare. Many hugs to you Mt. Rider.

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Mt. Rider,

 

I pray that the Lord will comfort you with a peace that passes your understanding as you move through this season of grief. H sounds like he was truly meant to be in your life, and you in his. I feel deeply in my heart that God takes care of these special animals after they pass...maybe He's keeping H with Him so that you and he can take a nice gallop together when you're reunited again under the Lord's loving care. My prayers and condolances are with you, hon.

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