Monday, June 2, 2008

In Memory of Ranny Han Spiz


A friend sent the following post to me in an email today. I don't know who wrote it, but it was beautifully written. It struck my heart and brought back so many memories. Enjoy.
God gives us horses and compels some of us to love
them.
Yet why does the horse, an animal with such a big heart, live such
ashort life? Perhaps it's because if our horses lived any longer, we wouldn'tbe
able to bear losing them.

Or, perhaps it's because God wants to
jump. Perhaps God looks down on the fine horses we raise and decides when it's
His turn to ride. He gives us a few good years to care for and learn from them,
but when the time is right, it's up to us to see them off gracefully. OK,
perhaps not gracefully. Blowing into a Kleenex is rarely graceful. But we
can be grateful. To have a horse in your life is a gift. In the matter of a few
short years, a horse can teach a girl courage, if she chooses to grab mane and
hang on for dear life. Even the smallest of ponies is mightier than the tallest
of girls. To conquer the fear of falling off, having ones toes crushed, or being
publicly humiliated at a horse show is an admirable feat for any child.
For
that, we can be grateful.Horses teach us responsibility. Unlike a bicycle - or a
computer – a horse needs regular care and most of it requires that you get dirty
and smelly and up off the couch. Choosing to leave your cozy kitchen to break
the crust of ice off the water buckets is to choose responsibility. When our
horses dip their noses and drink heartily, we know we've made the right
choice.Learning to care for a horse is both an art and a science. Some are easy
keepers, requiring little more than regular turn-out, a flake of hay, and a
trough of clean water. Others will test you - you'll struggle to keep them from
being too fat or too thin. You'll have their feet shod regularly only to find
shoes gone missing. Some are so accident-prone you'll swear they're
intentionally finding new ways to injure themselves. If you weren't raised
with horses, you can't know that they have unique personalities. You'd expect
this from dogs, but horses? Indeed, there are clever horses, grumpy horses, and
even horses with a sense of humor. Those prone to humor will test you by finding
new ways to escape from the barn when you least expect it. I found one of ours
on the front porch one morning, eating the cornstalks I'd carefully arranged as
Halloween decorations.Horses can be timid or brave, lazy or athletic, obstinate
or willing. You will hit it off with some horses and others will elude you
altogether. There are as many 'types' of horses as there are people - which
makes the whole partnership thing all the more interesting. If you've never
ridden a horse, you probably assume it's a simple thing you can learn in a
weekend. You can, in fact, learn the basics on a Sunday – but to truly ride well
takes a lifetime. Working with a living being is far more complex than turning a
key in the ignition and putting the car in 'drive.'In addition to listening to
your instructor, your horse will have a few things to say to you as well. On a
good day, he'll be happy to go along with the program and tolerate your
mistakes; on a bad day, you'll swear he's trying to kill you. Perhaps he's
naughty or perhaps he's fed up with how slowly you're learning his language.
Regardless, the horse will have an opinion. He may choose to challenge you
(which can ultimately make you a better rider) or he may carefully carry you
over fences...if it suits him. It all depends on the partnership - and
partnership is what it's all about.If you face your fears, swallow your pride,
and are willing to work at it, you'll learn lessons in courage, commitment, and
compassion, in addition to basic survival skills. You'll discover just how hard
you're willing to work toward a goal, how little you know, and how much you have
to learn.
And, while some people think the horse 'does all the work', you'll
be challengedphysically as well as mentally. Your horse may humble you
completely. Or, you mayfind that sitting on his back is the closest you'll
get to heaven.You can choose to intimidate your horse, but do you really want
to? The results may come more quickly, but will your work ever be as graceful as
that gained through trust? The best partners choose to listen, as well as to
tell.
When it works, we experience a sweet sense of accomplishment brought
about bysmarts, hard work, and mutual understanding between horse and rider.
These arethe days when you know with absolute certainty that your horse is
enjoyinghis work.
If we make it to adulthood with horses still in our lives,
most of us haveto squeeze riding into our over saturated schedules; balancing
our need for things equine with those of our households and employers. There is
never enough time to ride, or to ride as well as we'd like. Hours in the barn
are stolen pleasures. If it is in your blood to love horses, you share your
life with them. Our horses know our secrets; we braid our tears into their manes
and whisper our hopes into their ears. A barn is a sanctuary in an unsettled
world, a sheltered place where life's true priorities are clear: a warm place to
sleep, someone who loves us, and the luxury of regular meals...Some of us need
these reminders.When you step back, it's not just about horses - it's about
love, life, and learning. On any given day, a friend is celebrating the birth of
a foal, a blue ribbon, or recovery from an illness. That same day, there is also
loss: a broken limb, a case of colic, or a decision to sustain a life or end it
gently. As horse people, we share the accelerated life cycle of horses: the
hurried rush of life, love, loss, and death that caring for these animals bring
us.
When our partners pass, it is more than a moment of sorrow. We mark our
loss with words of gratitude for the ways our lives have been blessed. Our
memories are of joy, awe, and wonder. Absolute union. We honor our horses for
their brave hearts, courage, and willingness to give. To those outside our
circle, it must seem strange. To see us in our muddy boots, who would guess such
poetry lives in our hearts? We celebrate our companions with praise worthy of
heroes. Indeed, horses have the hearts of warriors and often carry us into and
out of fields of battle.
Listen to stories of that once-in-a-lifetime horse;
of journeys made and challenges met. The best of horses rise to the challenges
we set before them, asking little in return.Those who know them understand how
fully a horse can hold a human heart. Together, we share the pain of sudden loss
and the lingering taste of long-term illness. We shoulder the burden of deciding
when or whether to end the life of a true companion.In the end, we're not
certain if God entrusts us to our horses or ourhorses to us. Does it matter?
We're grateful God loaned us the horse in the first place.

2 comments:

Judy said...

Hi QT,

I feel the same way about our dogs...they are here for all too short a time, but they love us like crazy while they are here and allow us the luxury of loving them, too.

I'm praying for your young friend and family.

Judy

Molly said...

Hey there! Just got time to read some of your blog and catch up on what you're doing... well at least some of what you're doing...:D.

Very nice!