Saturday, September 17, 2011

An Aging Farm

Sigh. The animals are getting older.

Whispy came to the Dogtor's family as a rescue horse. She was already old and slightly arthritic, not a horse for riding. So into the pasture she went, gentle and undemanding.

She is now over thirty and pushing the conventional lifespan of a horse.

I did not grow up around horses, and at first I used to get an adrenaline rush being alone in the stall with her. In the first winters of my time in Vermont, I would fumble with gloved fingers to switch the water bucket (as they freeze easily here). She would hover over me, probably just for the company, but at first I found her looming size intimidating, as if she was saying, come on, small non-horse person, get on with it.

The other morning, the Dogtor came in from "doing the barn" to report that Whispy was on the ground, and though he tried to get her up, he couldn't. He suggested I say my goodbyes. I went out with a handful of carrots. As I walked across the yard - the first true fall morning - I started to cry. And then I saw her walking across the pasture - somehow she had willed herself up. She was bleeding and had a cut on her nose and hind quarters, but was up and eating. She inhaled the carrots.

Later that afternoon I brought her some soft pears that had fallen from our tree. Now, more practiced in communing with horses, I leave my hand at her mouth so that she can take the pear in two bites.

Though she is up and walking, she doesn't look long for this world. It is apple season, and I will visit her often this week, shielding her from the ever-hungry goats (whom she loves), so she can eat her share.


  1. MMB-
    Beautifully written, I actually have tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing. ~Amanda

  2. Thank you! I love Miss Whispy. It breaks my heart to watch her stomp around the pasture; I know she doesn't feel great. I admire her strength. xoxo

  3. Aw, Whispy. Give her a pat and hello for us. Such a gentle soul.

  4. So touching...and reminds me of the wonderful animals that are no longer with me, but that I was lucky enough to have known and loved in my life. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Suse - consider Whispy patted. Keating - That is the one tough part about owning and loving all these animals - there is always goodbye.