Thursday, 15 February 2018

A Perfect Parade of Beauty and Love.

I have decided that living in the menopause is like living in an area at high risk of tornadoes. For stretches of time, everything is pretty normal. You occasionally catch an intimation of danger in a too-vivid sunset, or notice that the birds are doing something frankly peculiar. But you get on with your life, with your daily sorrows and joys and chores and pleasures. Then, wham, the fucker hits, far too fast and vicious for the early warning system. The people at emergency command don’t know what the hell to do. You dash into your hurricane shelter and batten down the hatches and exist on canned goods for the duration.
And then, one morning, you cautiously open your hatch and peer out. The sun is shining. The air is still. The livestock are grazing serenely. Your house is still standing. The storm has moved on, to ravage another town.
This storm was a bastard. It howled and wailed and moaned. It would not let me go. It lasted for four days. Today, the air was still again. I am still standing.
In the heart of the maelstrom, I posted a sweet picture of my mares, for Valentine’s Day. ‘My funny valentines,’ I wrote, the song playing in my head. Usually, on the red mare’s Facebook page, I tell endless stories of her charm and brilliance. I once did this in a slight spirit of show-boating. Look what I did with my grand thoroughbred! Then I started to see that I was writing the story of her life, of our lives together, so that when she gallops off to the great prairie in the sky, I shall still have her with me. I don’t do it now for claps on the back; I do it for its own sweet sake. I do it for love.           

I’m not very interactive. People come and leave kind comments and I have grown to recognise a few regulars, but I don’t really know much about my readers and I don’t ask them questions. I’m just glad and grateful that they are there. On the Valentine’s Day post, I most uncharacteristically asked for pictures. Show me the loves of your life, I said; I need photographs. I was so battered and gloomy that I thought a few nice horse pictures would cheer me up. I thought I might get about four.
The photographs came flooding in, the moment I stopped typing. I woke up this morning to find a hundred and thirty-five of them. Some were comical snapshots, a little blurred, some were photographs of rare quality and grace. They came from all around the world. There was the singed outback of Australia, golden and exotic in the sun. There were the lush hills of New Zealand, all blues and greens, speaking of life and growth. There was the sunset over the glittering ice of Norway, with a line of sharp mountains in the distance. There was the big country of America, the kind of country where you could ride all day and not see a human. There were the quiet shires of dear old Blighty.            

The horses came in all shapes and sizes. There were furry minis and giant workhorses. There were individual beloveds and happy herds. There were aristocratic Arabians and sturdy cobs. There was a Swedish warmblood and a ravishing Paint and a stylish Morgan. There were dappled greys and shining bays. There were adored veterans, old-timers in their thirties, dreaming their retirement away. There was Henry the Mustang, saying hello from Oregon.

There were horses on the beach and in the stable and grazing quietly in a lush pasture. There were roly-poly Shetlands and fine thoroughbreds. There was an ex-racehorse who had once run in the Melbourne Cup. There was a comical herd in Colorado and a dreamy show horse in England. There were groomed and gleaming ones and woolly and muddy ones. There were dreamboats who seemed to be posing for the camera and comedians who were larking about for the lens. There were glorious names: Atticus and Merlin, Zaf and Limerick, Beau and Ezra, Jasmine and Teazel. There was an Argentian polo pony, and a clutch of red mares.                

The cumulative effect of this was extraordinary. All these horses and all these humans had their own stories, their own characters, their own fascinating lives. The love poured out of each word, each picture. These were quiet, profound partnerships, where trust and understanding grew in green fields and hidden stables. They would not be seen on the front page of Horse and Hound; they were not headline acts. They were not famous horses, who could be seen on the television on a Saturday afternoon. But they were all the stars of their own movie, with their own talents and quirks, their own beauty and their own brilliance. They all made their humans’ hearts sing.

 From across the world they came, as if to a rally or a round-up. Here were the majestic creatures who comforted their humans in times of sorrow, who made the sun come out on a dour morning, who scattered the humdrum of daily life with a little glance of stardust.                

It was one of the best things I ever saw on the internet. The people who did not have horses sent pictures of charming dogs or dancing lambs. There were three mules, of such grace and loveliness that I caught my breath. Some people did not post a picture but left a message saying how much this parade of loveliness had cheered them up.
It cheered me up. It was so simple, so heartfelt, so human. It was a Best in Show of pure love.
I’m not sure why it moved me quite so much. Perhaps it was the generous authenticity. People were not shy. ‘Here is the love of my life,’ they wrote. The red mare is the love of my life and I sometimes feel a little foolish when I write that. She’s only a horse, after all. But this outpouring of pride and affection showed me that I am not alone, that there is no such thing as only a horse, that these joyous creatures who exist across the species divide, on their own mysterious plane, can lift the spirit like nothing else. They graciously consent to enter our human lives, to understand our funny little ways, to do the peculiar things we ask of them. They do flying changes and forge out into the hills like frontier settlers and leap over daunting obstacles. And when their work is done, they rest with us and give us peace.

It was a thing of absolute beauty, and I shall remember it always.


  1. thats beautiful tania. so glad i got to be a little part of this in some way with my little herd :-)

  2. Beautiful post, what love you have. Missed your request for pictures, but I know that Blogger will show me and my husband. Missing is my daughter in Japan and Miss Kitty.

  3. Beautiful -- and tear-inducing. I could see it all through your words, all that love from around the world. Love is a powerful force for good!

  4. I missed this entry and its request, my day swallowed up by the horror of yet another school shooting, this time in what was recently named one of the "safest cities in America"...this time in Florida where I'm currently visiting family and friends.
    I'm going now to that page for the love and the celebration of life it offers.
    Thank you, Tania.

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