The idea of new beginnings coming from death was not a new idea to me. I mean, it’s almost a cliche. But when Simon was dying it came to me as if for the first time and as if I’d heard it a million times and I finally “got” it. Not just as an idea, but as a reality, I felt it throughout my body.
Something else happened when Simon died. Eli, who is married to our farrier Ken Norman, came with a horse blanket to see if she could help. Ken would have come but he was in the hospital recovering from a double knee replacement. Eli often accompanies Ken when he comes to trim the donkeys hooves. It was Eli who showed me how to give Simon a bath when he when we first got him (which, I thought, was something like washing a car). She’s been around horses her whole life. After Simon died, and we were waiting to bury him, I invite Eli and Deb, who watches our animals and was also there that morning, in for a cup of tea. I’ve known Eli for years but only from standing around the barn making small talk and holding the donkeys while Ken trimmed their hooves. But that morning in our living room something shifted for me in our relationship. I think we were both opened up, I know I was by Simon’s death. And I felt closer to Eli, like she could be a friend.
It was the first time we had ever been to Ken and Eli’s house when we went to visit them on Saturday. Jon and I sat with them and Eli’s mother, who lives with them, and we had tea and a cranberry loaf. We talked about Ken’s surgery and then we started talking horses. Eli and Ken have about thirty horses on their farm. Some borders, most rescues. Eli teaches riding and uses the horses for that, matching the right horse with the right rider.
Ever since Rocky, I’ve been exploring the idea of riding and Jon has shown interest in having another horse on the farm. But I haven’t been ready to commit to anything like that. I was intrigued by the relationships between the NYC Carriage Horses and the people who own and work with them and took a few riding lessons a year or so ago and have become attached to Piper, a Percheron, at Blue Star Equiculture, and even rode her a few times with Pamela Rickenbach’s urging.
But something happened when I was sitting in Eli living room. It was like the switch that had been slowly moving in a certain direction was flipped. Without even thinking about it I asked Eli if she had a pony that needed a home. The words came out of my mouth and I wasn’t surprised by them, but I hadn’t expected them either. She said she had two ponies Chloe and Teddy and before we left, we went out to the pasture to see them.
So I’m on the path. I know now that I’m ready to make the commitment, not necessarily to owning a horse, but to learning about them and how they might fit into my life. When we get back from Disney I’ll visit Eli again and we’ll talk about lessons and finding a horse that I’m comfortable with and who is comfortable with me. Eventually, if the time comes when I want to own a horse of my own, I ‘ll be able to make a good decision about which horse that will be.
It started with Rocky, but when Simon died last weekend, his message of new beginnings was clear. It seems mystical to me, because I can’t explain it all. I just know a series of events led to my coming to this new place and feeling a need to somehow have a horse in my life. I know there’s something for me to learn with horses. I’m still feeling echos of the fears that kept me from seriously pursuing this for so long. But the fears don’t seem to matter anymore. It’s as if when Simon died a door opened and I stepped through it.