Feature was an appaloosa stallion that was 4 years old the first time we met.
It was love at first sight. My husband asked me to come give him a hand when he was getting Feature off the trailer at our farm. HE called me Candy and Feature looked up at me and gave a loud nicker and pointed both ears forward. Later we found out that the first owner of Feature was named Candy and she must have loved him a great deal also, and so we think he recognized the name. I touched the rope, then the face and it was over. I loved him with all my heart from that very moment. The amazing thing is that he loved me the same way from that moment.

God loves all creatures great and small and knows their needs and wants just like he knows ours. God must have loved Feature a little more than most because he looked after him to the very end.

He was big and beautiful with a temperament to match. He was absolutely without a doubt the kindest, sweetest most trusting horse I have ever seen. And, I have seen quite a few.

Feature and I were together for 8 years. Every day we had some sort of communion. If I was out of town for a few days, he would not eat and a vet usually had to be called in. But as soon as I got home, whoever was there would immediately tell me I had to go to Feature because he was sick. The minute I grabbed his rope, he was well. He always started eating and just being his normal self the second we were reunited. He was my baby and everyone knew it. Even the vet would ask, "Is Candy out of town?".

His owners would come to visit with him about once or twice a year. They owed my husband a lot of money for his care and he gave them the choice of turning Feature over to us or taking him home. To our amazement, they took him home. I cried for 3 days and could not even go to the barn. Feature screamed all the way out my driveway. He was very upset.

I thought about and prayed for that horse every day for 5 years. Not one single day went by that I did not think of him or wonder about him. I knew I could not go see him because he nor I could have stood another separation.

One day a friend saw a picture of him on a website that she just happened upon. He had been abandoned by his owners at a boarding facility and a lady had taken him in and gotten him healthy and had put him up for sale. Oh yeah, you guessed right, my husband left the next day to go pick up my buddy, my horse. I had a premonition that I might not have him for a long time, so I told my husband that if he died tomorrow it would be okay because we were back together.

When we pulled up in our trailer to get him, he ran to me and nickered in that loud growly tone that he had used the first time. He ran to meet me at the gate. The lady couldn't believe it. She said she had never seen a horse recognize a person just by sight after 5 years. But you could plainly see he did.

He wrapped his head around my neck and pulled me close and smelled every inch all the way to my toes. Then he did what he always did. He put his head on my shoulder and left it there. We walked out of that pasture without a halter or rope and he went straight to our trailer and jumped right on, turned around and looked at us as if to say, "Let's go home". We got him home and he walked with that big head on my shoulder all the way in my barn and into his stall.

I had taught him several stupid pet tricks during our 8 years together and he remembered every one. There were 2 very happy campers at my house.

He had been abused and neglected for probably almost the whole 5 years. But, it all went away. Just like Black Beauty, he was safe, he was home, never more to be from home. He slept for 2 days, drank about 100 gallons of fresh water and ate "like a horse".

He started having some neurological problems about 3 months after we brought him home. We had him tested and he had a brain tumor. As long as he was not in any pain I could not put him down. He had trouble standing for very long and would lose control of his hind quarters,. otherwise he was fine. He could be walked around and get okay for a while. We did a lot of walking and a lot of kissing and a lot of talking to each other. And I thanked God every day for his life.

I was at work and at 6:00 I felt a jolt. I knew he was gone. When I arrived home, my husband said he had died about 6 p.m. I already knew, so he didn't have to tell me. He said Feature came out of the pasture he was in, walked to the barn, then to the front pasture where my husband found him. He took 2 breaths and was gone. To this day both my husband and I believe he was looking for me to say goodbye or to help him.

You know, I was not sad, because I knew without a doubt that I was only an instrument in a divine plan of God. He got us together in the first place, worked in His way to get us back together in the second place so Feature could die happy and with someone who loved him and be some place he felt safe. I was honored to be chosen for such an outstanding creature and friend.

I will never forget him, I will see him again. What a great day that will be. I will always love him till my last breath and beyond and I feel his presence still and I can still feel his coat and his wonderful cool nose. And the weight of that huge head on my shoulder. 

Three days after Feature died, I was in a store in the mall buying a last minute gift for my sister. An older lady walked up to me and asked me if I had horses. I asked her if I smelled like one. She just laughed and said she usually didn't say things to people because they thought she was crazy, but she just felt she needed to tell me there was a horse next to me. I asked her, "What color?" She said brown and white. I told her I knew who it was and thanks. She said I was welcome and she walked off with her friend. I was not surprised and smiled for days about it.

Candy Maynard

Name Index
Return to Hoofprints On My Heart home.

Copyright © 2006 Hoofbeats In Heaven. All rights reserved.
Text and photos may not be reproduced in any form.