It has been tough watching my partner grow old. I’ve discovered as Heathcliff has changed through the years, that I’ve been changing right along with him. We’ve gotten old together. I made him a single promise when we first met, that I would do everything in my power to make him happy. I hope I did that, right up to the end. I feel a bit lost without him, but I suppose that too shall pass.
Heathcliff – Photo by Dean Graham
I was returning back to the shed row when I first noticed him. He was a deep chestnut galloping alone in a pasture against the background of white fencing at the training track. I kept my eye on him as I rode up the pathway and it was a good thing that I did because from the back of the pasture, the chestnut colt took off at full speed down the side of the fence line straight for us.
The next thing I heard was a high pitch shrill when he spotteds us and he had no plans of slowing down as he was getting closer to the end of the field. I can remember feeling my stomach tighten and realizing that this crazy thing was going to crash into the fence and kill itself.
I jumped off my horse and yelled for help, hoping that someone could stop what was bound to happen any second. The grooms and a handful of stout Irish boys came to the barn’s doorway to see what trouble the silly blonde girl got herself into.
I was scared to look in the direction of the colt, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop him. He screamed again as he came to the fence, rocked back onto his hind quarters and lifted off the ground giving it everything he had, while clearing the 5′ fence.
We were all silent. Everyone. Totally silent. We stood there looking at each other, looking at the fence and back at each other. He cleared it. He more than cleared it – he sailed over it. It was beautiful. It was poetry. It was the type of jump folks would talk about over a pint at the pub.
Then someone broke the silence with a, “Bloody f- – -ing hell! Did you see that?”
We located the colt grazing peacefully outside the broodmare’s paddock, the ladies standing nearby trying to get the colt’s attention. He never bothered to make their acquaintance, but simply wanted to graze near them and not be alone. He hated to be alone.
That was how it all began. I promised to make him happy and I promised he’d never be alone.
Heathcliff and Zeb