“A Change of Heart” (True Tale, EQUUS 487) was a wonderful story that brought back memories for me. Over a decade ago I was hired to look after three horses, one of whom was referred to as “the old horse waiting to die.” An English Arabian of Crabbet breeding, he was covered in rain scald and turned out daily in all weather, in a turnout rug that came off only in summer or on sunny days.
I began spending time with him, treating him to clear up the rain scald, grooming and taking him for walks in hand. I used to sit in the field with him, watching as he interacted with the deer. Every so often he’d come over and check that I was still there.
Gradually, he came back to life. He even enjoyed some light work carrying the grandchildren, who were surprised at how fast he could pick up a canter, beating some of his younger companions. I made his day when I contacted his first two owners and they visited, surprised at first that after 29 years he was still going strong and looking well. He did pass away eventually but only after he had a chance of a good life with dignity in his final years.
The time I’d spent with him helped me understand the needs of older horses, and I went on to give more of my time to these wonderful creatures, who shouldn’t be forgotten. Horses are living creatures and not throwaway items. They still benefit from everything you have ever done with and for them.
Simple observation and chilling out together can give back so much that is often missed in this over-fast world. But a gift of life and friendship, I believe, is worth so much more. A. Sams Rochdale, Lancashire, England