The ruckus began on Saturday. What a racket. Ari, my beloved old horse, was tossing his feed bucket around like an angry housewife tosses pots and pans.Bang bang. Crash crash. Jangle. Jangle.
He’d had his breakfast: oat alfalfa, salt, carrots, bran and molasses served up with love and kisses on the nose. The bucket tumbled empty. Not a crumb left untouched. He licks the inside with his long pink tongue, sniffing out the carrot bites, bran and the sweet dark syrupy surprise he loves so well. My father taught me to make a warm mash in the winter and this was the winter of our lives together. Horses have an incredible sense of taste and smell. Well, look at the size of that nose. It seems to go on forever. Dimpled with kind intelligent eyes–on either side of his noble head, he is prey not predator– crowned with pointy beautiful ears at the poll and bedecked with long silky hair called a forelock. I’d combed and brushed it this morning.
When I reached his feeding block, he dropped the noise maker–crash, bang, jangle, plop–and gave me that look.
Now any horseman–or woman–worth his salt knows a horse is telepathic. “Never let them put their heads together,” I was taught by a beloved teacher, ” because they’re plotting.” I’d experienced that little phenomena, with my own eyes, many time.
But I’d learned, years ago–I live with my horses –that if put my forehead smack against their forehead I can hear what they’re thinking. They understand English, have their own language, but will communicate with you if you will only listen. “Okay, what’s up?”
Ari is 88 and half years old. 28 in human years. He was born in 1987. He’s three and half years older than I. I was born in 1930. We grow old together and enjoy the process.
“He’s gone to horse heaven.”
“The human who cut me open. Sewed me back. Years ago. Remember?”
“Of course I remember. I was there.”
He nodded. ” Left his body. Gone to horse heaven.”
“Are you talking as about Scott Sims?”
“That’s what you called him.”
“But Ari, we just heard from him…”
“… I know. They cut him open. Sewed him back. Four fingers and a thumb are handy.”
With my fingers and thumbs I messaged his ears.
“You did that when I was on my back with my feet in the air. Strange feeling. You have good hands,” he said.
“Thank you. I didn’t know horses believed in heaven.”
“You never asked.”
“Okay, I ask,” A theocratic lecture from a horse?
“There is not only a horse heaven. there is a horse God.”
“Don’t be silly.”
When a horse calls you silly, you can be certain you’re pretty silly.
“But why would he go to horse heaven? If horses have a God and heaven, and humans have a God and heaven– and Scott was human–why wouldn’t he go to a human heaven?”
“Because ours is better.”
“Can I go?”
“I’ll work on it.”