If You’ve Ever Loved a Horse

Some years ago, in a fit of questionable sanity and already a grandmother, I bought an Arabian horse. Because I always wanted one. Five years old and the product of a show farm, he had not scored ribbons because of “cow hocks” —  back legs slanting slightly inward, a gift from desert ancestors to help him leap away from predators but not now considered beautiful.  He was gelded, inexpensive, kind, and otherwise pleasant.  The horse is still at home in my farm pasture, affably munching grain and grass in retirement from giving rides to Girl Scouts and pleasing moms with his exotic Arabian looks and expressive eyes.  Awhile back, I encountered one of his former Scout riders, a girl now grown, formerly skittish about large four legged creatures, and now breezily flying over hedges at annual mounted hunts.  I have done some good in my life…and dear old (now quite old) Alabar the Russian Arab presides as resident patriarch over the farm’s west meadow, in company with Sonali the white mare and her grown foal, Ra’Adhames. A tri-colored tableaux, they form a pretty pastoral image when visitors’ cars turn in the long drive, the horses always close together in the green grass, one chestnut red with flecks of white, one looking like a great wingless snow bird with four legs, and her son nearby, a dusky bay-black.   They have two other horse-friends nearby, one quite small and new, a weeks-old foal of the farm’s undoubted equine queen, Mystaaraa.  For the present, Myst’ and foal, named for Pharaoh Rameses’ ancient queen Nefertaari, reside near the house.  I watch them, fascinated, recalling a trip to Florida several years ago to look at a mare with great bloodlines from her world champion sire who was muscled like a fullback, but alas….so was his daughter.  All that massive elegance of form had looked stunning on him in Paris – on her, the result was like a Rubens painting of a noble lady: overblown and busty. “Nope”, I sighed, “this one won’t do…” whereupon the whomping aristocrat turned up her substantial muzzle at me, stared away into the distant fields and snorted in disgust that I did not recognize her quality.  All the time I visited at that breeding farm, the mare held a grudge and never looked my way again….you cannot tell me they do not understand English.  But I had come with my few shekels, earned from consulting, and was resolved to go home with another pet horse, and not just any horse – an Egyptian Arabian with ancestry going back many centuries, and a living work of art.  I turned around to another stall – there stood history in flesh: Mystaaraa.  “I guess this one costs more…”  “Not MUCH more!” responded the Cuban American breeder, a tiny blonde woman with an artist’s eye for animals.  We struck a deal. I swallowed hard, wrote a check and arranged to trailer the selected bay mare, only two years old but with a graceful topline and no humping big shoulders, up to Jackson. Her temperament, to say the least, was “desert hot” – but we got along. After a years-long search for the exactly perfect sire to complement her, all my dreams came true.  Mystaaraa, stabled at the vet, foaled out an engaging, vigorous filly of pristine quality, who arrived home to temporary quarters in the back yard and began to play, run, nurse and sleep by turns.  The baby has legs for days, Myst’ is a loving, attentive mom, and I stand at the back door gazing at them, returning periodically to see what new wonders now are mine to enjoy.

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Every lady, or gentleman, for that matter, “of a certain age” should have a passion – something, an ideal, a vision, of utter beauty that endures through ages, and is fresh every day, like a summer morning.  God is good.  May you find your vision, as well.  There is music in the heart when it happens.berrry3

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