On January 2, 1965, the best horse in the world was born – a bay thoroughbred. He, however, did not come to be my best friend until one February afternoon in 1980. That was when I arrived at a farm in Olmsted Township, Ohio to meet him. The present owner was a young girl who found him too challenging. Her mother invited me to ride him in the indoor arena at their stable. During my ride, he was ornery and bucked like a rodeo horse all along the long wall of the arena. The mother was mortified. She looked certain I would never buy this horse. When I finished my ride, I patted his neck, rode up to her, and said, “I like him, can I make an offer?” I did. We did. And he was mine.
I named him Solomon. We rode everywhere – we jumped, did dressage, ran in the woods like he was a race horse, and had the time of our lives. I realized the first day I rode him it was dinner time. He did not want to ride, he wanted to eat.I never rode him before a meal again and he never misbehaved again.
Solomon needed extra grain because of poor care before I owned him. He and I went from barn to barn because no one would feed him properly. I was always truthful and told the new barn owner what he needed and I was willing to pay extra. I admitted I was disappointed at other barns. They took the money, but never fed him the extra feed. I was angry because I loved him and did not want him underweight.
After many attempts at a positive experience boarding Solomon, I arrived at a new barn to talk to the owner about bringing him there. The owner and I talked for a while as I looked over the stable. Then, in a snotty tone, I asked, “Are you going to feed the horse?”
It was all she could do to not bite my head off or send me off the property without making a deal with me. She pursed her lips tightly and said in a firm and purposeful manner, “I’ll feed the horse.” She did. She was wonderful and all my past bad experiences were unfair to pass along to her and assume the worst would happen again. We became the best friends because she loved him too. He was truly a great horse and she held up her end of the bargain.
As we became friends, I learned she had cancer when she was younger. She had a relapse and was battling with the disease again. After sharing several years of friendship with this family, she passed. Understandably, this was very sad for all who knew her. Sol and I lost a great friend that day.
When I attended the funeral, I expressed my sympathy to her husband. He surprised me when he candidly shared his thoughts with me. He said, “You have to watch what you pray for, we prayed for 20 years, we got 23. We should have prayed for 40.” I have never forgotten his words. Yes, I agree, we should ask big when we are asking. I have. I do. The whole family probably thought 20 years would be a great gift – and it was- it is just never enough – as I know all too well.
Share your story with us.