I intended this post for a Two Ears Tuesday, but it took too long to write. Honestly I had to think a lot about this subject. Last week Paige, our 14 year old neighbor who works for us as an outrider, lost her mare. Belle was Paige’s first horse, the first two ears that would listen to her heart, the first soft muzzle to nuzzle her soul, her first show ring partner, her first life teacher. It’s hard to write about the loss of an equine best friend, so many of us have been on the broken hearted side of this story. Instead I want to write about the unshakable bond between mother and daughter.
In the last few days of Belle’s struggle, Paige and her parents Mike and Tam worked around the clock to keep the little Arab mare comfortable as possible. When she would call us for help, I could hear the heartbreak in Tam’s voice, not only for the exhausted horse but for her daughter.
Mothers want to protect their babies from the sharp pain of life, from the hurts of the world. All Tam could do was best prepare her girl for the heartache that would follow and be there with a hug that only moms can give. Paige is a very strong and resilient young lady, but I could see the loss in her eyes and the pain in Tam’s heart.
Only a horse can sooth this kind of fracture, so my mom suggested we take them riding. Belle passed away late Saturday night and Sunday afternoon we loaded up our soul weary friends and a few of our horses. My mom, Paige, and I all fell into the familiar routine of saddling hoses, strapping on saddle bags, grabbing snacks and water, all the preparation we would do for any client, but today’s client was Tam. It was the first time she had ridden with us as Enhantment Equitreks and her daughter as an outrider. There was light conversation at first, but as the ride took us through forest, meadow, and ridges we all became quiet. As Tam watched her daughter expertly guide us down the trail, I saw pride replace the pain in her heart. You could see how proud she was of her strong, confident daughter. Moms never realize that we gain our strength from them.
As we unsaddled Tam wrapped her arms around Paige and said, “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s ok mom, it’s a part of life,” she answered.
“No. I’m sorry it took something like this for me to go ride with you.”
It was then that I watched Paige’s heart mend. She knew that her mom supported her passion for horses, but now she knew they could share it.
I hated that our first mother daughter ride was in the wake of such a loss, but out of the anguish came solace. The Sunday before Mother’s Day is now officially the annual Mother and Daughter’s Princes Belle Memorial Ride. I look forward to next year when we celebrate the resolute maternal bond and the remember the spunky sorrel mare. This Mother’s Day I will make sure and wrap my arms around my mother because moms need little girl hugs as much we need mommy hugs.