“When we think of those companions [horses] who traveled by our side down life’s road, let us not say with sadness that they left us behind, but rather say with gentle gratitude that they once were with us.” —author unknown
I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan near the small town of Hubbard. During the summer, most of the time my sister, my brother and myself would walk the 2 1/2 mile distance to our school in Hubbard. We were young, full of energy, and most of the time enjoyed the walk. However, once winter came, it was a little too difficult to walk, so our Dad constructed a small “cutter” that was drawn by a single horse that would take us to school and back. The cutter was a sled that would smoothly run on the snow, and completely closed in, with windows on front, sides and back. It even had a small built-in stove to keep us warm comfortable during our roughly one-hour drive to and one hour drive home from school.
The horse that our Dad bought for us was a gentle horse—our school horse—and there were times that, as kids we’d take that beautiful animal for granted. Saskatchewan can get pretty cold during the winter and, although we were always comfortable in our closed-in cutter, that faithful animal had to trot along in sometimes bitter cold, without complaint.
Many times, coming home from school, we’d leave the lines to the horse’s bridle go slack, allowing the horse to trot along at its own pace, while we’d occupy the hour drive by singing songs that we had learned in school, or just chatting and reliving many of our day’s experiences. No one would pay attention to where the horse was going. We knew “Old Faithful” would safely take all the twists and turns in the road, finally stopping in front of the barn in our yard. When I nostalgically think back to those wonderful days, I am often reminded of our modern attempt to create self-driving cars. Will these cars ever be as consciously faithful and loyal as our “Old Faithful” horse was?
A horse’s intelligence has also been demonstrated in war, in the circus tent, in sports, and their ability to strut their stuff as show horses, all in an effort to please us. Along with the dog, horses have been our faithful companions for over 5,000 years!
If horses go to a different heaven than man does, I want to go to the heaven horses go to!