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Time Stood Still

The news is devastating. Nobody understands his agony because nobody knows how much he loves that grey horse with soft brown eyes. He had the privilege of caring for her and riding her the last couple of months and came to think of her as his. Now he would likely never see her again. In his heart he knows it’s right for her to be with her real family, but somehow he always thought she would be there for him. He puts his head on the table and goes still, trying to stop the pain that’s washing over him.

Today he’s back at the riding center, and everyone is enthusiastically trying to get him to accept a new horse. There is not a chance that’s going to happen. Glory is the only horse for him, and it’s evident he is not interested in giving Fritz a chance. His is head is down from the moment he arrives, and he is completely disengaged from the excitement going on all around him. His heart is bound up tight, safe and sound.

He is introduced to Fritz, another lovely grey mare with a soft eye. He never lifts his head or turns from the wall. He completely rejects this new horse companion without ever touching her or looking at her. He won’t even come inside the arena where the action is happening. He may as well be a thousand miles away.

Fritz’s handler takes her outside the arena and parks her about two feet from him. She stands patiently for a good 20 minutes or more being completely ignored. The rest of us go about our business inside the arena while sneaking furtive glances at that corner. Everyone is silently praying for a sign from him, something, anything, but the minutes drag on with no acknowledgment whatsoever.

Suddenly, Fritz starts nuzzling the back of his neck, the only part of him available to her as he is turned away staring at the dirt floor. She’s nodding her head up and down while her lips gently and repeatedly brush over his neck and up into his hair. That’s when time stood still. What would happen next? Would he brush her off? Would he and his broken heart walk away? Could he resist such a loving gesture and invitation from this beautiful creature? Ever so slowly, he turns away from the wall and faces Fritz. His eyes travel up to meet hers for the first time. Arms that a moment before seemed bonded to his sides unhurriedly moved up her neck to meet at the top for a huge embrace. His head rests on the side of her neck in total surrender to her offer of friendship.

There is a collective release of breath we didn’t realize we were holding, and tears start to flow. How could that little mare know exactly what this hurting boy needed at the exact moment he needed it? We just witnessed a miracle performed by a horse. Some see only the therapeutic aspect; I see God in horse hair.

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