Harley Montana Romeo Clay Fred Isom

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 spot. 

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 hearts.

The following are original poems I created:

From Amanda to Harley,

A Letter

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,
Oh Harley,
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 again someday,
When my time has come,
But until then,
My old friend,
I walk the Earth alone.

To the newest horse, Jo, from Harley,

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.

Melanie Newman

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