A lasting gift

Equus|Spring 2020

A lasting gift
As my mare grows old, I’ve come to appreciate things about her that the passage of time can never really take away.
Eliza McGraw

My old horse has picked up a new habit. She rests her chin on my shoulder, pressing down and holding still. Sugar is 27, a 15-hand Paint mare with two white stockings and an ample blaze on her face that makes her look like a Disney horse. Her mane is a little thin these days and her back is swayed, but she’s sound and healthy.

Sugar and I still putter happily around the ring and spend hours on the trail. She demonstrates her displeasure at walking through any kind of standing water with complex but predictable footwork: splashing with the first foot in, and then attempting a scoot-away maneuver. After more than a decade, I still make a point of forcing her to walk through calmly. “Puddles? I’ll show you puddles” is my training philosophy.

With Sugar, virtually all situations unspool at a pokey rate. I tense up when loose dogs race by, but Sugar doesn’t care---about the dogs or the tension.

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Spring 2020