Confronting the Elephant in the Room

I haven’t updated my blog in a while because I’ve been avoiding an elephant in the room, or perhaps to be more on target, the horse in my head.  I don’t think about her all the time.  I shut her out with books, movies, playing with Spur, watching t.v., being sick (although that wasn’t intentional), really anything that will keep my mind off of her.  But when I sat down to write, and I tried to a few times, I couldn’t avoid her.  Writing always forces me to be honest with myself; words pierce me from the inside out.  Even so, the words couldn’t make their way to my finger tips anymore than they had made their way to my lips.  Or maybe I wasn’t brave enough to think through the ways that I failed Limerick, or failed myself in my handling and mishandling of her.  Maybe I just needed more time to pass before I wrote about her so that I could avoid the discomfort of strong emotion, which I hope will be true as I write today.  Even now, I am having a hard time knowing what to say.

Limerick was a pretty good horse.  She was good-natured, but she could be a real idiot sometimes.  Like the time that she was nervous about the tractor and then Soldier (her big bullying brother) sauntered up behind her so she tried to jump the 4 1/2 ft fence that she was standing with her head over.  She almost jumped on top of me and took the fence down as she more fell into than jumped over it.  Or the time she galloped past my dad out in the wide open pasture and clipped him on her way by.  Any time Soldier came up behind her, she would just about lose her head.  In the end, that idiot streak is what killed her.  We discovered later that she had tried to jump over a 4 ft or higher trash can up near the gate to our property.  The bolts hung the gate on the post protruded a couple of inches, and when she jumped, she kind of hooked herself and just ripped through the side of her body.  As cold as it sounds to say, Limerick was a victim of natural selection.  All the veterinary science and home remedies in the world cannot do anything to cure a horse of occasional stupidity.

But Limerick wasn’t an idiot all the time.  She loved people and enjoyed being scratched and petted more than anything else.  When you touched her, she would drop her head and stand perfectly still so as not to disturb you.  When she was a baby, we invited lots of kids out to see her.  Junebug is a very relaxed mother, and Limeric liked people so much that we could let the children come into the pen and pet her.  Most foals are too rambuncious for that, but Limerick would just stand still and let the children touch her soft pink nose and stroke her white shoulders.  And she loved to run.  I’ve never seen a horse that loved to gallop as much as she did.  She escaped from her pen the day she was born and, after Junebug was let out too, she took off stretching her new spindly white legs across our property with her concernced mother trailing behind.  As she grew, she would lead the other horses on gallops througout the day, apparently just for fun.

My parents broke the news to me the evening that I got home from Ireland.  I cried a little, but I was far too exhausted from travel to deal with the emotions, so I shut them out.  It wasn’t too hard to do; I was not as attached to her as to the other horses, or to my dog, and though I was sad about what happened I felt a sense of relief that it wasn’t one of the others.  I miss her most at feeding time, when I scoop out the grain and leave her bucket empty, when I fork the hay for three horses instaed of four.

And now I don’t know how to close this mess.  I think I’ll just borrow a phrase from Forrest Gump: “And that’s all I have to say about that.”


3 thoughts on “Confronting the Elephant in the Room

  1. I miss scratching on Limerick. She never tried to eat my shoes (Soldier,) run me down (Tigger) or walk away from me (Junebug.) I may have Tigger and Soldier switched, but as you say, Limerick loved to stand there peacefully and let me scratch her. You know all about the delight – validation, even! – that comes from an animal trusting you enough to let you touch her. Sometimes we *expect* people to trust us enough for this, so we don’t get the same satisfaction out of it. Or I never had to deal with her antics, but she always put a smile on my face. For what it’s worth…

    I really am sorry about your friend though. It’s been a long time since I’ve lost a pet, but I’m glad to see you are dealing with it more healthfully than I did.


  2. Way to be brave and just say it, Shanna. Writing hurts, huh? And so does your loss of Limerick. She was a delightful horse.

    Thanks for being honest with your readers (i.e. me). I appreciate this post on a number of levels.

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