We were excited. She was coming home.
We had housed 15 horses over the years, looking for a super gentle one. We wanted to trust a horse to be safe with our little grandchildren. Again and again, we were disappointed.
Bill Adams of Norfork, a cowboy friend, said, “I’ve got just the one.”
He was right.
Her name was Robin. She was a white horse with speckles like a robin’s egg. Her color is called “a gray.” Robin was a 13-year-old mare. A Missouri Fox Trotter with papers. We didn’t care if she was a mutt mix, but she was not. We cared only that she be gentle.
The owner was ready to sell her.
I must tell you that I’m not a true animal lover. I do not get instantly attached to dogs, cats, horses. It takes a while for me. Oh, I cry when I see Old Yeller and Lassie Come Home, but when the dog, cat, or horse is right there in front of me, I am watching behavior before giving my total affection.
I say all of that, but I cannot stand it when any animal gets ticks or horse flies. Just to let you know that I am not totally numb to their needs.
My husband, however, is instantly attached. He has had more horses than he deserves. God has been good to him. I am happy for him. Horses are social animals, and he is social, loving the relationship between him and any good horse.
Two have been super special to him. Robin is one of them.
If you asked my husband or me about Robin, we’d both say she is 22, old and slow now. If you tried to sell her, you might get $100, but she was the best mother to her fillies and totally trustworthy with our little grandchildren. When they walked under her belly, she’d not move an inch. (That was when she won my total affection.)
At one point we stopped riding her, and hay was hard to come by.
We were good friends with a family who came periodically and rode Robin. They knew her gentleness. They had created a farm and wanted a horse to ride. My husband sold them Robin and gave saddles, watering trough, whatever, to make it right for Robin.
Seasons come and go. Children grow up and their interests change. The man of that family called us first to see if we might want Robin back. They were looking for a new home for Robin.
This horse has always had a hankering to please. Always, she tried hard. We wanted her.
With that young family, she had been a reliable babysitter for rejected calves, orphaned calves. Robin let children swing up in the saddle and ride. She was broke, but not broken. No roughness in her and a sweet spirit.
My husband and I walked around a few days later, smiling and thinking: What a great day! Robin’s coming home!
The family brought her and all of her gear to us. It may have been heart-breaking for them to give her up. We know how that goes.
Still, we were elated to have her home, to have her part of our lives again.
She immediately started eating grass and settled in. She was welcome to our grass and water. The other horse in the pasture did not care for our arrangement. Understandable. It’ll take a couple of days, but they’ll befriend one another.
Meanwhile, Robin had her old master, old pasture, old fences.
That evening Robin and her pasture-mate received watermelon rinds. A great homecoming.
She will be with us now, we’ve both agreed, to the end.
This is her home.
And when we have to lay her down in a deep and wide hole someday, we’ll both cry.
P.S. Thank you for your readership. You give me reason to write, and that blesses me.
Photo taken by Pat Durmon of Robin; Jimmy Durmon; and Alex, Zach, and Haven Jimerson. Near Norfork, Arkansas, 2007.