Saturday, 12 March 2011
In love with a horse
I love horses. I think I've always loved them. There is something about them; the beauty, the smell (everything about a horse smells good; yes - even that), the grace, the dignity, the gentleness. Of course not all horses are gentle, but that is usually because they have been ill-treated or are in pain. Essentially, the horse is a gentle animal; harmless in the best sense of the word.
The horse has the largest eyes of any mammal. This is strange since they are far from being the largest animal (think giraffe; think whale). Large eyes always appeal, don't they; "the windows of the soul". Eyes are important.
All this came to mind this morning, when I was reading Melanie Reid's weekly column in The Times. Melanie broke her neck and her back in a riding accident last April, and she writes of her experiences in what she calls her "spinal column". She is making a slow recovery, but has limited use of her hands, and little function in her legs (although she is heroically learning to walk again). In today's article she writes of horses, and her thoughts of ever sitting on one again. "Part of me yearns to be close to a horse, to bury my face in its neck and inhale that smell. But the sense of loss that will come with that is terrifying".
I can so identify with that. Part of me knows that soon I too will probably have to hang up my riding boots. To career around the Wiltshire downs on a very energetic (and not always obedient) ex-racehorse at my age is not the most sensible thing to do. But then I look at my horse - beautiful, dark, leggy, with those huge brown eyes; by far the most beautiful animal (or even posession) I have ever owned) - and I think, no. Not yet. Not for a while.