When my best friend Amanda's
horse, Ribbon, was sold during the winter of 2003, the events that occurred
changed us for the rest of our lives. In early February of 2003, she
had come to sleep over, but at about six, her mom called with the news. A
few months later, I got an e-mail, "Come see the new horse!" While searching
around for a new horse in the local barns, she had come across an Arabian-Quarter
horse-Saddlebred mix gelding, Montana. At first, Romeo had seemed perfect
because of his gentle, caring disposition. Her little brother's name
is Clay, or "Fred" as we all call him. Thinking how it was a name that could
represent almost any disposition and would sound absolutely unique, he took
on yet his third name. Time can change anyone's thoughts, and eventually,
she also came up with Harley. The name stuck, and he was able to
respond to any of the previous names!
All of my life, horse-related
accidents struck me, and they always hit hard. At the age of two, I almost
lost my fingers. After that, I'd been thrown six times, had a horse stumble
and fall once, been stepped on, and had yet another take off with me. Harley
brought me out of the dark again. I trusted that plucky little boy so much,
I even started sleeping on horses' backs again. Harley even convinced
me to start back into the show ring. At an annual speech competition, the
theme was, "My Hero Is...". My hero was Harley, I couldn't believe that even
I had almost cried as I spoke about all the 'goodness' he had done to
me. Of course, with my emotions, I never even made it to county, but
a colleague told me she had never heard a speaker become so emotionally evolved
because of a horse.
On July 4th, 2005, we all
went to Amanda's home, where they had recently relocated the two horses to
her own back yard. We spent the whole day giving Harley and Ginger, her Quarter
horse mare, cans of Jumex, a mexican fruit drink. He loved the stuff
and I don't ever regret giving him my whole can. Harley had had a christian
fish shaved into his rump, and Ginger had a cross.
On August 5, 2005,
after Amanda had gone to school, her Dad opened the gate to drive his
truck through. The team of horses came happily running to it. Unfortunately,
only one of the pair was caught. To our dismay, Harley had escaped onto the
little road. Attempts were made to catch him, but failed, and
an unsuspecting SUV came down the road off the trails. The two collided
at breakneck speed, and that's exactly what
happened. The impact broke his neck and he passed away on the
They buried him behind the
half-built barn. I had a story submitted to a book-in-progress, "Chicken
Soup For Women Who Love Horses", that very day. Calls and e-mails came
in a wave, but that night was the first time I had been glad to watch the
day end. Everything was quiet. Amanda and I had finally gotten together to
spend the night and ended up losing ourselves in the quiet, silently coping
with the fact that he was gone. Amanda had had a show all day with Ginger,
making her fatigued both physically and emotionally.
Harley left this world taking
his little soul and and a piece of me, at least, with him. But more importantly,
he left a lifetime of memories and helped us take the first steps on
the bridge of growing up. I know he's on the other side of the
Rainbow Bridge waiting for Amanda. He will forever hold a place in our
The following are original poems I created:
From Amanda to Harley,
You were so near to me,
So tell me, how can it be,
That you are not right by my side,
Offering me a gentle ride
I miss you
And you miss me,
You left so quickly,
Coudn't even say good-bye,
But I know,
You wouldn't want me to cry.
I'll try to make it
through the night,
Without that sight,
What a terrible sight,
The day you left me on my own,
Me with that feeling of being alone.
I pray that I see you
When my time has come,
But until then,
My old friend,
I walk the Earth alone.
To the newest horse, Jo,
You don't know me,
But I know you,
Watching down from heaven.
My time had come to leave this world.
As I watched my best friend weep,
I knew I had a promise to keep.
As I left on August the fifth,
I knew you had a special gift,
A talent to share with my someone special.
The love in your heart unconditional.
I continued to climb,
And I called your name,
Knew you'd take my girl to fame.
You couldn't replace me in her heart,
But rather, made some room.
I regard you with the highest respect,
For making her smile as big as the moon.
You are sweet and kind,
And take the time,
To let her adjust to you.
Eventually you made a friend,
And this is where my letter will end,
For now my promise has been kept.