Good Friends

Blessed are the unselfish friends and they whose motto in life is constancy.

–Inayat Khan


The other day, my husband and I were driving home through farm country.  We noticed three horses in a field, guarding a fourth horse who was “down”, in between them. We couldn’t decide whether the “down” horse was foaling…or dead. And we didn’t want to intrude on anyone’s property (they don’t stop to ask question in these parts!). But those three horses just stood there in a circle, watching over the other one.  Eventually, we  saw her (?) attempt to get up several times, but she just couldn’t do it.

Codependent forever, we  drove around and looked for the owner or the property, to see if they knew what was happening, but people are afraid to answer their doors, so we eventually we gave up.  We pulled into one very Latino-looking property which had a dear and rather large shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe in the yard, but no one came out.

 I will never forget those horses just clustered around their friend:  guarding, guarding, witnessing, witnessing…

When we pulled over to the side of the road and walked over, the ones who were guarding seemed to take this as a sign that they could take a break and go off to separate corners of the field for just a moment…all three!..  But when we didn’t stay, they went right back.  I was afraid they thought someone knew something wasn’t right and would help . . . and that we had disappointed them in this.

What was emerging:  new life or new death?  Is there a difference?   It was hard to see, but then I suppose it always is, things happen from such a distance. . .

I was recently relieved to read that some panel of great and knowledgeable scientists in Great Britain have proclaimed that animals are conscious beings.


The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things. 
― Rilke

10 thoughts on “Good Friends

  1. Betty B.

    I love how you two are not “pass by on the other side” ones!! That does my heart good!!!

    If this is your photo, it’s interesting that all four are wearing blankets, meaning…? that someone has been caring for them that day? And it looks like there is hay on the ground there? Knowing nothing about horses that wasn’t in “Black Beauty” 60 years ago, I see from the web that the ideal foaling time is spring, when there’s more grass, but that breeders sometimes will aim earlier… and that during delivery “the mare usually positions herself on her side with her legs fully extended to facilitate voluntary straining that aids her expulsion efforts.” ….So I am liking to think that this is a beginning, and the attendant is temporarily off at the barn.

    The St. Francis blessing rests on you two

    1. Excellent points all, Betty….and yes, it was vaguely in the back of my mind that we “well-dressed” as these horses were, someone had to be taking care of them. But my, aren’t you observant…. We did notice that the one down horse seemed to have a big belly, but she was just far enough away that we couldn’t quite tell. Maybe the others were her birthing attendants!

  2. Salima Rose

    Thanks for sharing, Amidha. Thanks for your care about these horses. And it must have been frustrating and painful to be so helpless to do anything to help.

      1. Betty B.

        No No No!!! Not saps!!!! I am totally serious that I love how you two do not “pass on by” suffering like almost all the rest of us!!!!! Birth or death, you two were “guarding, witnessing” also….
        In awe of gentle spirits,

  3. This post reminds me of three experiences I had. The first was in East Texas when our old horse, Bess, was kicked by a young mare, breaking her back left leg. She was on the ground struggling to get up, so I ran to get my father and my uncle who were drinking coffee and reluctant to come. When they did come and saw what had happened, one of them finished Bess off with a 12 gauge shotgun that had a hickory stock carved by my great great grandfather after the War Between the States. Then they harnessed the horse that had kicked her and drug Bess off into the woods.

    The second and third experiences occurred in the Ozarks when I was in my early 20’s. A young mare gave birth in a field where there was an old camping trailer I lived in with my first wife who was herself six months pregnant. The mare refused to nurse the colt who was a beautiful chocolate color, with one white spot between her eyes. The first day I watched this refusal and knew the colt would die if I didn’t do something. So I went to a neighbor who knew horses. He said not to worry. The mother would eventually take the colt. But she didn’t. I called the owner of the horse but he didn’t have time or inclination to come. I tried to corral the mare and force her to nurse but she was not willing. The third morning I got up and saw the colt dead in the field with buzzards working over her. That still hurts.

    Maybe three months later in the same field a cow was bellowing, lying down and getting up repeatedly. From a distance I could see something sticking out her backside, which, coming closer, I could see was the leg of a calf. This time I didn’t wait. Even though I looked like a hippie in an area where this was under appreciated, I ran into the road and stopped an old farmer going by on his tractor. He came willingly enough and together we stuck our hands up inside the cow and got the calf coming out the right way. It was nasty and it was exhilarating!

    Finally, this post reminds me of one of my all time favorite poems, The Blessing by James Wright. I’m sure you already know it but please read it again. Sorry for taking up so much space with this comment. I had to.


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