Senior Horse Essay, Honorable Mention

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Adult Category: The Treasure of a Stable Relationship

by Annalisa Foster, Sumas, WA


Photo credit Annalisa Foster

My grandmother once told me, “If you want a stable relationship, get a horse.” His name is Khaidansk’s Jewel. Some call him Kayak but I call him Doodle, a name given to him for his spirited nature and lack of trepidation. Kayak’s previous owners tell me stories of how he would lay on tarps to make them stop flapping in the wind or the time he kicked through a metal wall and severely damaged his leg, almost to the point of death. Kayak is truly an unstoppable force; nothing in his mind allows him to be vexed.

Doodle is 33 days older than me. We have grown immensely in six years—my horrible high school days, a few boyfriends, sickness and health, and for better or worse. Kayak is the best friend I could ever ask for. He greets me with a loud nicker and a sprint to the fence every day, always acting younger than his years.

Kayak came to me for $50, covered in mud and on the skinny side. He had an uncanny ability to scare me. I fought tooth and nail for months trying to establish a workable relationship. The turning point of our friendship was the night I had a box of Mike and Ike’s in my back pocket. I was cleaning the stall floor when Kayak pulled the open box out of my pocket and tossed his head to spill the candy onto the floor, then proceeded to eat the sweet treats. I couldn’t believe it. He looked at me as if on a sugar rush, voracious for more.

When Kayak became ill I asserted myself over my employer, trainer, and parents and spoke to the vet with such confidence it shocked the elders around me. I was determined to never see fear in my horse’s eyes again and was driven to work my body to the bone, night or day, to care for the greatest thing in my life. After a few nights of not knowing if my Doodle horse was going to make it, I was exhausted. I sat down in the stall and cried. Kayak came up to me, rubbed his nose in my hair, and gently set his front hoof on my lap. He waited for me to look up and when I looked into his eyes I knew we were going to survive this ordeal.

Together we are not perfect: we tried showing, gaming, and jumping and decided none of those pursuits were our niche. However, we have a bond that is beyond most horses and their owners. I find that walking a trail or spreading my arms as I stand on his back is fulfilling enough. There is no danger, no terror, no obstacle that Kayak and I can’t overcome. I love him; he is my inspiration. There will never be another horse that has the love or tender compassion that Khaidansk’s Jewel possesses. He is the treasure of my heart.


Published December 2012 Issue

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