The foamy sweat rolls under the curry comb as I watch each line the blade makes in the red color of your winter coat. It’s unusually warm for January. You cock your hip and lick your lips standing quietly, eyes slit against the sun. My hand runs through the course and knotted mix of gray, red, white, ambers, and black hair that makes up your mane. I let my knuckles catch in the knots and lean in, resting my head against you. I feel the weight of my thoughts dissipate, fading off with the gentle breeze and I just breathe.
I let the pungent, sweaty stench from your hide fill my nose. At this particular moment, I just feel- feel moments that have made up my life and how the horse played an ever present role in it. How you, my friend, Twist, brought me all the way back to me.
I don’t think you will ever know the scope of how you’ve impacted me; how you reminded me of what I once wanted to be. As life with horses does, or maybe just life in general, confidence came and went. I lost it. I didn’t have it anywhere in my life. Not as a mother, not as a wife, not as a woman, and certainly not as a horseman. I was no longer feeling like that carefree girl with life ahead to frivolously waste. I trembled at steps, stumbled over decisions, filled my head and heart with negativity, and shut the door on all sorts of dreams.
And then, there you were. I don’t remember the exact moment you brought me back to life- to the realization that love and forgiveness of myself was essentially the path back to being in love with horses again- in love with life. Perhaps it was a slow progression, a steep yearning inside to smile again… just a quiet reminder that I was a cowgirl- in my heart- in my spirit. All I needed was to put that foot in the stirrup, grab a hunk of mane, and swing back in the saddle.
Somehow, here with you in this moment, I look back on the last eight years with you- and I see you’ve taught me so much- you held that mirror up to my soul- you taught me to forgive- you taught me to trust- you brought me full circle, reminding me I can, reminding me to pick up the reins of life and ride for all it’s worth. You brought me all the way back to me.
I let the ebbing streaks of the remaining afternoon sun soak in. I look at you and the corners of my mouth begin to turn upward. Setting the brush down, I give you one last run over with my hand, untie the lead rope and lead you to the corral. Watching you roll three times all the way over and half way twice, and I just smile- the kind of smile a young cowgirl does when she’s just spent the day with her horse. Thank you, my old roan friend- For all those happy trails- the rocky pasts, the more assured present and the good Lord willing, the happiest of future miles…