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 itch. Somehow, 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 bled.

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.

He was 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 passed.

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 on.

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 ahead.

Until then, Khun-Phan, My Horse-Man, I cry, I miss you and I still wish for you every moment, every day. Forever.

Christy Sweet
Phuket, Thailand

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