|Age: 25/26? years in 2006 Arrived: December 23, 2006 Crossed: August 10, 2007|
He arrived with a different name. And I insisted that we call him that name. I remember saying that the name "had served him well for twenty-some years and we will continue to call him by his name." Well, his new name is Richard. At Refuge Farms, this horse is and will be Richard.
You see, the name he arrived with was a nickname. A barn name. Almost slang. Common. And typical of a workhorse. Nothing fancy. Ordinary and common. However, this horse is anything but common. Anything but ordinary. This horse is one of the giants.
"Richard" tells me of pride and character and sturdiness and accepting one's lot in life. "Richard" tells me of determination and a will of steel with persistence to live within a body that had long since given up on it's own ability to live. "Richard" tells me of a slowness to accept affection and a need to "be his own man".
But "Richard" also tells me of a warmth inside that just recently opened up. A warmth that allowed me to brush him and to rub him with my bare hands. And to kiss his neck. And even to hug him. "Richard" tells me of a deep and sincere gratitude for his new life here and the stalwart friendships he awarded to Ole Man Cole and Addie-Girl and Gracie. And yes, even PONY!
So, this horse is and always will be Richard. And today, August 10th, 2007, Richard moved on to a life of wholeness and completeness and wild times with the Foundation Herd! He is no longer hampered by hips that are frail and knees that were long since destroyed and legs that barely hold him up. And with his crossing, now someone else is watching over and helping whenever he can. Someone else is protecting us with his fierce loyalty and repayment of his gratitude for his time with us.
And, I miss him already. I just barely got to know him and already he has moved on. But I am truly grateful to have known him, although it was so very brief. Truly grateful to have smelled him and to have brushed him and to have blanketed him and to have fed him. To have worried about him. And to have shown him, through patience and gentle pushing, that touching is good. That hugs are nice. And kisses are even better.
Forever, I will remember the clear eyes with eyelashes that literally curled up to touch his eyelids. I will forever remember his caution with me and his watching me. Constantly. Watching me. He always knew where I was. I could never surprise him. Always aware.
And so today, my Handsome One, I gift you the gift of freedom. The gift of a new life. The gift of graceful and gentle escape. I do this, Richard, out of true and sincere respect for you and your spirit. I do this because this gift is the very best gift I have for you.
Safe travels, my friend Richard. You are a man amongst men. You leave big prints here on this earth. And I am honored to have known and sheltered you for this time. I am in awe of your stamina and gentleness. You are a giant to me. Amen.