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In Memoriam - Balinares

Nov. 2nd, 2005

10:25 pm - In Memoriam

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This is turning out to be a lot harder to write than I thought it would.




This is my old friend, the aptly named Nice Fellow. I'll have to scour my drawers for a better picture of him. I know I must have one somewhere.

Nice Fellow, the only beast I've ever met with a genuine sense of humor. I've seen him be wickedly mischievous when he knew it would fly well... while keeping infinite amounts of patience and kindness for the younger children and the beginners, like I once was.

Once, a friend and I were going for our respective mounts that day in the pasture. I quickly had the halter on Oural; my friend was attempting to get Nice Fellow. Who would happily trot just out of reach whenever she came closer. Not very far: just out of reach. When I began laughing, she handed me the halter.

I handed Oural off to her, took the halter, and called Nice.

He promptly stopped trotting away and, to my friend's lasting consternation, came to me at once, looking no small bit smug and quite pleased with himself.

I'm still smiling.

On the way back from the pasture, there was that trough where we'd stop to let the horses drink. One day, Nice and I stopped there as usual; when he looked up at me from his drinking, I started moving on... upon which he promptly dipped his muzzle back into the water. Okay. I let him drink, waiting for him to look up again... and the second I made to move on, he went back to the water again.

This time I paid attention.

The lazy old bastard, hoping to delay work, was pretending to drink.

I kid you not.

Once, when he was younger and still being trained for riding, the school owner had set him loose in the manège to make him jump some low obstacles; you do that to let young horses get the hang of it without the encumbrance of a rider or a lead.

Nice Fellow disdained the low obstacle, sidestepped it, galloped off, and cheerfully jumped the wall of the manège instead.

That's Nice Fellow for you.

I used to spend a lot of time at my riding school as a kid, whether I had any reason to be there or not. There was always something to do, you know, hay to distribute, boxes to clean, horses to groom... Sometimes, during summer breaks, we were allowed to choose horses and go ride them in the woods, so that they wouldn't stay too long without being ridden. I usually picked Nice, when I could. We were old pals, you know? He knew me in and out, and I knew him just as well.

I managed to keep riding once a week even during the thick of my studies, back when I was in classes préparatoires, when I could come back home every weekend. Then I moved halfway across the country for further studying, and that's when I stopped riding.

I still visited my riding school now and then over the years, and even managed to ride a little while I was unemployed. My last visit was a good while ago, though.

When I returned there this weekend with jallora, I should have known to prepare myself mentally, I suppose. Somehow, I didn't, though. I mean, intellectually, I knew what to expect; it's nothing like confronting it emotionally, though.

Nice Fellow, Oural, Orion... All those of their generation... They're dead, of course, all of them. All but one: faithful old Pudding, gone almost white with age, but still there, and still standing. At first I didn't recognize him. Then I think I must have paled and murmured, "Oh my god..."

I caressed his nostrils. He licked my hand.

It was good to see him one last time.

There are times like this when I can almost understand the urge to stop thinking, and to believe instead. Hopes of afterlife... I wish I could believe there is, somewhere beyond the rainbow bridge, an eternal pasture where they're waiting for me, and where we'd ride together again.

So long, my old fellows. It's a colder world out there without you.

Comments:

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From:ralesk
Date:November 2nd, 2005 09:42 pm (UTC)
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*hugs tightly* Aw dear, that’s beautiful :(
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From:balinares
Date:November 3rd, 2005 09:06 am (UTC)
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*hugs*
Thanks.
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From:jallora
Date:November 2nd, 2005 10:03 pm (UTC)
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I almost wish you didn't take me there, for it made you feel so sad...

But those moments you had, you'll keep forever in memory, and thus Nice still rides with you in a way. He was a joyful happy horse, had a life with plenty of friends and goods things, he made kids and people happy, and I, for one, believe he's waiting for you somewhere.
Thanks for sharing those precious moments with us.
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From:balinares
Date:November 3rd, 2005 09:14 am (UTC)
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It's okay, I would have returned there eventually no matter what.
And memories tend to fade, dilute, dissolve in mists. That's the point of this post, really; to crystallize the memories and feelings into something that won't.
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From:shinigamigirl
Date:November 2nd, 2005 10:05 pm (UTC)
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That made me cry.. I'm so sensitive about these things. I'm very sorry you lost your friends, I've lost some over the years as well. It's a real shame that we must outlive such wonderful creatures.
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From:balinares
Date:November 3rd, 2005 09:17 am (UTC)
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Darn... The point wasn't to make anybody cry, either. :/ *hug*
I hope your own horse friends have had long, happy and well-filled lives, too.
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From:unciaa
Date:November 2nd, 2005 10:26 pm (UTC)
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*hugs tightly and pecks forehead*
I'm sorry...
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From:balinares
Date:November 3rd, 2005 09:30 am (UTC)
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*hugs*
Thanks!
I'll be okay. It's just life: joys and losses. Since it's the joys that make the losses relevant, all in all, it's okay.
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From:giza
Date:November 2nd, 2005 10:58 pm (UTC)
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Meh. :-( My condolences.
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From:balinares
Date:November 3rd, 2005 09:30 am (UTC)
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*hugs*
Thanks!
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From:ladyperegrine
Date:November 3rd, 2005 12:19 am (UTC)
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*hugs* I'm sure your love of him made his life richer and more beautiful.
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From:balinares
Date:November 3rd, 2005 10:36 am (UTC)
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*hugs back*
If by 'richer' you mean more carrots, more apples, many hours of grooming, some crying in his mane (yeah, I know, I was young), some telling him secrets, and quite a bit of ponygames, you are probably right. :}
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From:kangarunitarian
Date:November 3rd, 2005 08:43 pm (UTC)
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Beautiful.
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From:balinares
Date:November 4th, 2005 01:17 am (UTC)
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Yeah, he was, wasn't he? :}
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From:luna_the_cat
Date:December 9th, 2005 06:41 pm (UTC)
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I know this is posted long after the fact...but, yes, I know how you feel.

*hug*
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From:balinares
Date:December 10th, 2005 08:53 pm (UTC)
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No matter, I do really appreciate it! *hugs!*
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