Posted by: monaloner | June 20, 2013

My Little Bay Horse

Mona with Crusader

My little bay horse, Crusader, died late in the afternoon last Thursday.  For 25 years he was the gentle and certain leader of my lesson horse string.  We knew each other’s movements and expressions so well that we were Captain and Co-Captain in everything from teaching to showing to riding the trails.  Our titles had become interchangeable.

The horses and I were quiet that evening.  There were no squabbles, no questions, no hardness.  Crusader floated in and out of my heart and mind, comforting me, reassuring me of his closeness.  I could still feel him, smell him, remember the shape of the off-center white star on his forehead, the  texture of his black mane, the shape and velvety feel of his nostrils and finely shaped muzzle.

Evening barn chores kept me tied to my physical reality.  The rest of the horses needed to go out for the night.  Conscious of my reluctance to embrace any change in the routine, any confirmation of this new reality, this terrible omission…I quietly led each horse from stall to pasture.  So quietly, without their normal exuberance, they went down the hill, up the hill, to their favorite grazing spot, where, in the late dusk, only the gray mare, Image, and the big appaloosa, Firehawk, shone in the half moon light.

I know Crusader galloped the hill with his herd that night. His essence was still between worlds, creating a magical bridge, I think, that was soon crossed by all the horses  Crusader and I had loved before their crossing. Trip trapping back across the bridge, they came, the horses of 25 years on this ranch with us.

I heard them all night long as I traveled in and out of sleep. They whinnied and called in surprise and confusion, in challenge, and finally in the delight of reconnection and wholeness.

The owls hooted their approval and the ground creatures rustled and swept through the tall spring grasses, tangles of berry briars, and roots of aging oaks and stands of Douglas fir.  The greens rested in gray in the muted light of a mere half moon.

By the time I woke and went outside with the dogs, there were only six horses visible on the hill.  I could not conjure up my little bay horse, with the three bright white socks, and the star on his handsome face, always so easy to pick out among the solid bays and light chestnuts.

I couldn’t feel him out there on the hill because I could feel him within me.  He kept talking to me in this low, soothing tone, the voice I imagine he always would have had if he had been able to speak in my human language.  He assured me we were brother and sister, inseparable, that I was eternally part of horse beings.

As I walked through the barn, doing morning chores, I felt no hurry, no pressure, no future.  I greeted each horse with heightened appreciation and soft touches.  He accompanied me on my rounds.  He said when I kissed my big quarter horse mare, Queen, so tenderly on her forehead, that I kissed him too.  That when I would ride that day upon Galactic, that I would be riding him as well.  And that because he had always loved so much to jump, that whenever  a horse and I leaped over an obstacle, to know that he, Crusader and I , flew together over his beloved earth.

He has joined his old friends, I know, and he tells me they are unbelievably close, that he knows I worry and cry, but that truly, there is no need and I will soon know peace as the hurt drops away into the untruth that it is.

The severed strands are braided together again with the silver threads of those who have traveled where I cannot see.  Except in the night.  Where the owls call for the opening of the doors and the wind and the moon unite the worlds again.



  1. Beautiful! So sorry for your loss.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. You were both blessed to have each other. It is obvious that he will always hold a special place in your heart. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, you area very special lady that is loved by so many!! ; )

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