Moments with Horses

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BY JENNIFER THOMAS, PH.D.

Jerry is a (roughly) 32-year-old retired carriage horse from Chicago. I’ve never seen him before (even though he has been in residence for about a year). Today, however, he caught my eye.

His jet black coat, the graying on his face, and his chocolate black eyes. Curious and inquisitive … he walked right up to meet me. Who knows what he has seen and experienced … the backbreaking labor of pulling carriages day in and day out, the aching feet on concrete, the kind scritches and the harsh crack of a whip, hours in the heat and the cold. All this to be in service to someone’s livelihood, someone’s entertainment, someone’s photo-op.

And here he stands in front of me. Waiting and looking. For me to make my move. To establish myself as master or partner. I didn’t reach out. We just stood and looked at each other. In some ways seeing one another. Taking one another in for who we were and what we were … together … in that moment.

There was something gentle about that experience that has left me a bit forlorn tonight. The simplicity of that shared moment and the ease of it … feels so foreign to my interactions with other humans these days. Wondering who we are to one another. Friend or foe. Judge or judged.

Oh, to be able to share space with the other. Without judgement or worry or harm … to just be … like Jerry and me this afternoon.

Onward.

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