An Infinity of Caring

Bernie Kahn

Our lives are measured not in years, but in horses for whom we have cared and loved.

Horsefolk are we, members of a tribe in thrall to equine beings. It is a condition of voluntary servitude, even though for many it seemed as though no choice was ever part of it, horseshoes as the lodestone drawing them near.

Not merely riders, but those committed to the well-being of horses, or at least, to a horse. We have entered into a covenant of caring, marked by a myriad of kindnesses in attending to the creature comforts of those in our trust. In the brittle cold of winter our frozen hands bring warm water; we feed them; groom them; protect them against biting insects; nurse them when they are ill, filling the roles of both personal servant and benevolent deity.

We have come to view the world at least in part with equine eyes. The seasons have become ice, mud, new grass, flies, and old grass. We have witnessed the sweetness of clover and the tastiness of dandelion. Something has been added to our outlook, a sensibility other than human. We have glimpsed into a doorway of another mode of being.

We do not weigh or measure our caring, for we have given our heart. This is love, not a mercantile exchange. There is no pretense of equality in this relationship; it is in a dimension where such concepts have no metric, no basis.

It is ongoing, this enraptured infatuation. Our lives are measured as much by hoofbeats as by heartbeats. From the exuberant delights of first canters to the soft subtle harmony of a pleasant walk, we move together, our lives intertwined.

Horses have a different texture to their souls than we have, generally quieter, more trusting, more generous and forgiving. In caring for them, we come to embrace some of their virtues; they have altered our internal landscape.

Into our dreams they have come. Perhaps we have likewise invaded theirs. If we are true, firm and gentle, we have become part of their being as they have ours. We have shared moments, sunsets and seasons. Our lives are measured not in years, but in horses for whom we have cared and loved.


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