I loved you Ranger
My sweet, beloved pony, Ranger has crossed the rainbow bridge... I don't know what to say. My mom's young coworker, and my best friend, substitute mom and big sister all at the same time is an absolutely amazing person and wrote this. "For my little sister
You know, I donít know if I hid this well. I donít know if my demeanor when I walked into the barn was OK. Because I can tell you, when I drove the back county roads in search of that pony, I flipped between an angry 45 year old man who wanted to literally beat up the person who had the nerve to steal a little girlís pony from the pasture, to more like a 7 year old pleading in her prayers to Sr. Francis that he would return that pony to us. I was full of anger, and appeals. And somehow, that worked. It kept the motivation. I think I wouldíve walked the entire Olmsted County looking for that pony. Knocking on every door, every single [expletive] door because you just DO NOT take a pony that brought color into a little girlís life. You DO NOT take a pony thatís inspired countless paintings of beautiful water colors. You DO NOT take a pony away from a kid that was the childís safe space. That constant lesson of what unconditional love is. The breathe of fresh air after a difficult day of school where children are literally growing up way too fast. The pony that taught a little girl what hope actually is. That itís OKAY to dream. To share a bond. To love something, and be loved back. To know, even if itís just for moments, that that is exactly the way life is supposed to feel.
We are supposed to feel joy. And we are NOT SUPPOSED to take things away from children that brings joy into their lives.
But I didnít get to feel like that angry person for a long time. Because things changed really quickly in an instant. This pony went from being held hostage in a barn somewhere by some psycho Iíd like to have a few ďwordsĒ with, to something different.
I said it out loud. ďWhy is there a horse blanket in the snow?Ē And then you stop, you glanced further, and you see. You feel one thousand things in just one single moment. And then it feels completely impossible. Canít we just go back to thinking thereís some evil monster out there that just stole this pony?
(I donít know how to write this part, and I canít. So I wonít, Iím sorry. Iím skipping)
ďAre you ready, sweetie?Ē So were in the car and I am convinced going for ice cream has to help. Because, gosh, I have to try. And we drive to the Peopleís Food Co-op and I literally think I wouldíve bought that child the entire grocery store if it wouldíve made her feel better. We settle on soups, ice cream sandwiches and I literally bought a lavender sparking water (what?!) and I think we laughed and cried and repeated that cycle throughout the entire meal. Because when we stopped laughing, we starting thinking. And then thereís crying. Is this all actually real?
And what is awful is that itís actually all real. This horrible day is real. The hurt is real. And for a moment there, I wanted the ice cream sandwiches and fruit samples to cancel it out. Because I think when you truly care, when you truly try to be the best big sister, it means you try to ease her pain. It means that after you drop her off, you just start bawling your eyes out because you couldnít let yourself do it earlier. Because youíre trying to be strong for her. Because thatís what big sisterís do.
But let me tell you what else they do. They remind you of something even greater than the pain youíre feeling.
They remind you that the love you shared with that pony was real. That is was RARE, and GENTLE, and KIND! Because as your big sister, I was there to witness it all! :) I was there the day you brought out those dandelions and mints for him. I was there the days you spent longer just brushing and loving on him than you did riding! I was there to see you smile the biggest smile EVER cantering that sweet old pony around bareback after a bad day at school! I was there to listen to you talk about the time you spent reading centered riding and seeing that beautiful pony stretch long and low and lovely because of the time you spent perfecting your craft. I was there to watch all those heart warming liberty sessions. To watch him follow you in from the pasture with no lead rope. To the syringes of aloe vera juice we barely got into his mouth, but you tried for him because you cared about if he had ulcers or not. To the day you sent your mom on a mission to the tack shop to get soft felt girth because it was more gentle. To the incredible ways you carried his spirit into the paintings weíve seen all over the barn. To your kindness towards him, I saw it every single day I drove you out to the barn.
Jae, I wish, more than anything in this world that I could take your pain away. I feel like such a failure as a big sister that I canít do that for you. But I promise you that I can do this. Iíll ALWAYS be here to remind you of something:
You gave that pony the most selfless, wonderful, and cherished gift on this planet:
I love you, and Iím so unbelievably proud of you."
She had originally thought that someone had stole my little pumpkin of a pony, Ranger but then she saw the blanket. I lease at a barn and so the whole "Barn Fam" was out. I had gotten there and went out into the pasture to get the mare I am riding as a project because I was too tall for Ranger (I still rode and loved on him very often and my little sister rode him) I hadn't been out to the barn for about a week because I was home sick with who knows what... I said out loud "Where is Ranger?" I called and looked in the pasture everywhere for him but he was no where. I came into the barn, flustered and told the barn owner that I couldn't find Ranger. Instantly the whole barn community was looking. They called the sheriff and checked the cameras for any evidence.
My lesson was going to start and I had nervously tacked up my mare, twiddling my thumbs and biting my lips. I was scared for Ranger. I kept comforting myself with the thought that maybe he had knocked the fence down somewhere and wandered to the cow farm next door. He was friends with those cows. My mare, being the saint that she is, was wonderful for the whole lesson. She felt my worry and carried on. (We had a good lesson! Weird for such a bad day)
I finished the lesson and untacked, grained and turned out my mare. One of the barn girls came in and said quietly to a group of barn moms "They found him" I thought they were trying to keep it as a surprise so I kept quiet, not wanting to ruin the surprise. But then they came to me, all crying.
"What happened?" "We don't know" I hadn't even thought that he was.. gone... "Is he injured? Can I see him?" The thought still hadn't crossed my mind. " I want to see him?" I was confused now. My one functioning brain cell hadn't thought of anything deeper then What is he is hurt? I wanted to see and help him. One of the barn moms started "Well... see" That was enough then I noticed. "No!" I refused then the ugly crying. Ö. "He's gone?"" He's gone isn't he"
My coach and teacher said "Let's cry together" We hugged for the longest time. No one went without a long hug today. My "Big sister" Came and comforted me. She had had a similar experience with an angel horse when she was younger also. The barn owner and her daughters were outside, having their moment with him... I was confused, then steaming mad, then the most hurtful sadness ever. Everyone hugged everyone. "He loved you and you loved him. It wouldn't hurt so much if you wouldn't have loved him so much" I cried, A lot.
I still wanted to see him. I couldn't believe. I didn't want to. My "Big Sister" took me out to him. Turns out I had walked right past him while looking for him earlier. There my beautiful friend lay. The waterworks started. Again. I knelt by him, looking into his now mostly evaporated eye (Sorry if TMI) . He was still beautiful. A million thoughts formed a tornado in my head. What happened? How long ago? Why? Is this real? Snow crystals formed on his long eyelashes and his fluffy forelock lay, untouched on the snow above him. Only his head, neck and part of his blanket weren't submerged in the snowbank. A round bale had been there previously, Ranger had claimed it as his favorite spot to lay. He was 17 years young but very arthritic. He had the worst conformation on a horse that I have seen. And yet he was beautiful, smart and the best partner I could have asked for when learning to ride and care for a horse.
I had a lot of thoughts on what could have happened. At first, "What is someone shot him?" Then it was "What if he colicked?" Then, "What if he broke a leg and couldn't get back up?" After that was a whirlwind of what if's.
I ate a lot of ice cream and chicken soup with friends. We would laugh, then cry then laugh then cry.
I have never hurt so much in my heart.
I want to say thank you to everyone who supported me. I love you all.
I am not looking forward to going to school.... I don't think I'm going to go.
I also took his tail with me, I can bear to part with him. This poem is amazing and accurate.
The Best Horses in Heaven, They Have No Tail
by Miska Paget
The best horses in Heaven
they have no tail.
This is a rule they all know
For when a new horse arrives
with a short cut bob,
they all know that this horse
did a very good job.
His owner could not bear
to part with her friend
so she saved his tail,
wrapped in ribbons
and in braids,
to hold with his memory
in a very loving way.
To enter Heaven
without a tail
is an honor,
that without fail
announces to everyone,
far and wide
that this horse
was more than a wonderful ride.
this horse was loved and cherished by one
and when his time serving on this Earth was done
he left behind
a broken heart
and a soul
from which he never will part.
The horse has done so much for humans, and I feel like it is time we repay their loyalty and bravery by being as kind to them as possible. Humans and horses should have a harmonious relationship where bits and spurs don't color the picture.