ca 1993 - September 20, 2007
at 9:24 a.m.
My Love Has Wings, Gently
Curving Upswept Things.
Star Trek, 1966
My Big Brown, Fuzzy, Furry,
Khun-Phan Man (Thai for Casanova) was the gentlest of horses, his love nip
a surprisingly tiny pinch. At close to 17 hands, he weighed at least 1200
pounds but emitted girly squeals when a frisky attack came upon him. He took
great care not to bang you when he whipped his head around to get at an
Khun-Phan had the bad luck to end up at a beach rental stable in the hideously
uncaring country of Thailand. How long he sat in his stall, I'm not sure
- a year, maybe more - after the stable owner's son, (a vet in training)
by many accounts, trimmed both front hooves so short that they
Because a riding pony I
boarded was dangerously hostile due to uncaring handling, I began to gravitate
toward the affectionate enormous gelding whose only care was limping to the
shower every day. We needed each other.
"Mr. Big," as I called him
before I knew his name, limped over to me one day. He had an infected hock
wound and later, I would find out, was IR (diabetes) so suffered bouts of
the hoof disease, laminitis. He put his muzzle in my hand to politely ask,
"Please, help me. Take me out for a walk, I've been in a stall for over a
year. Can you also help my ex-racer girlfriend, Angie, in the next stall?
And there's that very cute filly across the aisle." I moved him, Lamburg
the rider pony, and the two mares out of the rental/torture stable to my
home-spun rescue in June of 2006.
Because of his ailments,
I never rode K. Phan, though often thought of the time we would fly together
down a beach. But I really didn't care - I just wanted his brown eyes and
huge face to be with me to love. He may have been uncomfortable or in awful
pain at times, but was never, ever a mean horse, not even the last half-an-hour
as he quite obviously began to die.
so strong until the very end, fighting for his life for 18 hours. At dawn,
it seemed he was okay after a long night of colic, but then he began walking
himself frantically. Soon were sudden symptoms of toxemia from a busted
intestine, drunkenly swaggering, legs splayed comically so as not to fall
on me. He went down and was injected with a strong sedative and put to sleep
at 9:24 a.m. by myself. Or he died from blood poisoning. Or both.
We were utterly alone -
there was no one else to do it. I had hesitated before, all through the night
- not sure it was time - not wanting to make a hideous mistake, but now,
no doubt, Khun-Phan was dying.
I knew and loved Khun-Phan
for 18 months of his approximate age of 14. In that time he recuperated from
maltreatment and neglect himself with the help of my ignorance. After a few
months, he galloped for joy on many occasions. The picture is him at his
happiest, his herd lined up behind him. He's moving comfortably for the first
time in years maybe. Then he suffered an unnecessary
relapse because I listened to greedy vet advice, but he was on the mend again
at the time of his death.
He was my best friend in
Thailand, a strange and hostile land. My companion, my mate, the reason to
wake at 2 a.m. and decide to go outside to check the stable. A reason to
worry, to want to hurry home. He always stood for my hugs and allowed me
constant and deep snuggles in his mane. On occasion, he returned with gentle
nips on my behind.
Once, after I'd been away
for a few days, we spent some time with his head on my lap while I perched
on a rail. Another time he came up silently behind me, nuzzled my ear, then
rested his chin on my shoulder to say, "Thank you for loving me." He would
push me with his head at nightfall, herding me in from the field. He had
started the cat-like habit of barely brushing up against me when he
Dark bay with a tiny, perfect
star...K.Phan, I was told, had come from Scotland, he certainly had that
faded golden muzzle as do the moor ponies. He had the kind of eyes that show
white easily which even furthered his human-like demeanor. His mane, tinged
red, silky and long. Rumoured to be an ex-racer, with freeze brandings, I
thought he was too big - built more like a Hunter, even a Draft. He had a
giant's lumbering gait, snorting his indignance when urged to get a move
Two hours or so before
his death, he began trembling. My baby boy seemed so tiny, so suddenly fragile,
then became very still while he suffered the rupture quietly. I mistakenly,
stupidly thought he, we, might be through the worst. During his quiet time,
an enormous, stunningly beautiful Atlas Silk moth with wings as big as my
hand alighted in the stable - the more religiously inclined might say perhaps
to take his soul?
I sometimes wish I were
religious but like to say I am not. Still, fear within has me hoping maybe
the moment I die, the last I will see will be those wings, only now enormous,
meters across, my sweetest darling's wings as he sweeps me up on his strong
broad back...ascending, cradled forever safely to whatever lies
then, Khun-Phan, My Horse-Man, I cry, I miss you and I still wish for you
every moment, every day. Forever.