Tomorrow is Silk’s 26th birthday, and that’s pretty old for a horse. I stood with her in silence this morning, marveling at our sixteen-year adventure together. She let me know that she is happy, munching her hay but then, taking a moment to raise her head and look me in the eye to check on how I am doing. We both saw trust, contentment and appreciation in each other’s gaze.
When I first saw Silk, she was sleek and muscled, tense, fearful and finely tuned like an expensive sports car. She had been a reasonably successful show horse, but along the way someone had beaten her, ripped on her mouth and there were four-inch scars on both her back legs. I knew I had to set her free. Now, she is fuzzy, unhurried, curious and at ease. In fact, we both are. There are distinct parallels between us.
We had our daughters late in life. They were not easy births, but we each value the joys of motherhood. As I watch Silk and Siete roam our pasture discovering the fresh green morsels of new grass, I am glad I have been able to give them the gift of living their lives as mother and child together. Most animals do not have that opportunity. It gives my horses a security and tranquility that people who visit us often notice.
When my daughter was little, we always made a big deal out of Silk’s birthday. There were lots of kids invited, and I made a carrot cake and a fruit salad for the birthday girl. One year, a neighbor called me to explain that even though her son had been grounded for doing something naughty, she would let him come because “this is the only time in his life that he will be invited to a horse’s birthday party”. It turned out he had never touched a real horse before.
Silk’s velvety lips brush very gently on my palm when she takes a piece of carrot. She is never pushy or demanding. It makes my heart soar to watch her dance with a lithe, lady-like trot out of the barn to welcome the world on a sunny morning. She is loveliness and elegance, a fine, radiant red soul mate that I treasure every day.