to live in this world
you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go. – Mary Oliver
Ghosty was originally purchased for my mom. I went and tried him for her, and was instantly charmed. He had huge, sparkly dark eyes, with obvious intelligence behind them. She had high hopes for him, but he was misrepresented as being quite a bit quieter than he actually was, and so he ended up my horse. And I just loved him, as frustrating as he could be at times. He was just such a special character.
He was never a great show horse. He had obviously been treated rather roughly at some point in his life, most likely in Spain. Terrible scars from spurs covered both of his sides, and he had scars on his nose from a serreta noseband. A very sensitive and intelligent horse, this treatment definitely did a number on him. I always joked that he had PTSD, but he probably really did. Showing was immensely stressful for him, and I was never able to really overcome his tension. I finally decided to quit trying to make him a show horse, and just enjoy him at home. He was so much fun to ride, and made me a more sensitive, tactful rider. He did beautiful lateral work, piaffe and passage, and would still throw in a wicked spook from time to time. I’ve never met a horse that could move faster–he spooked so violently once, he spooked right out of one of his bell boots.
The best thing about him was definitely his character. He was so sweet. If I called his name, he would come galloping up to me at full speed. He loved attention, and would get so into his grooming sessions that he would practically fling himself over when you curried him, lip twisted up in the air. He loved getting a little hand grazing time, relishing in dragging me around and refusing to follow when he thought I might be trying to sneak him back towards his field.
In 2011, he started having choke episodes, which culminated in him developing pneumonia. He was very, very sick, and we could not figure out why he kept choking. Finally, after extensive diagnostics, it was determined that he had a partially paralyzed esophagus. It was trial and error, but we finally figured out a diet he could handle: grass, and buckets of “soup”. He was very enthusiastic about his soup, and would stick his head in the bucket up to his cheekbones. A good look for a grey horse.
Ghosty spent his last summer cavorting with his mini friends, a horse named Cash and a donkey named Waylon. Waylon could take him or leave him, but Cash was his best buddy. Ghosty would kneel down to play with him, grabbing Cash’s mane, Cash gnawing on his face. He always had little nip marks on his legs, and it wasn’t an infrequent sight to see Cash running across the field and launching himself at Ghosty. They were clearly having the time of their lives.
Ghosty started acting colicky on December 19th, and while he seemed better after treatment, by the next day it was apparent that something was very wrong. With his symptoms, it is likely he had lymphoma. Ghosty passed away peacefully on December 20th, a sunny, unseasonably warm winter day. I miss him so much.