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Hoofprints, a tribute to Chief

Published: 4/9/2011
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By Jessie Buchanan

We can all relate to the moment, when no words from a human friend will console us and we must find refuge in burying our tear-stained faces in our horse's mane. 
History's greatest of kings and warriors have drained their defeated and broken pride in private moments of battle on the crest of their faithful and beloved steed's backs.  They are our loyal companions, whose manes, necks, and souls absorb our deepest pain and return us to our greatest joy. 

Aside from my daughter, I know of no greater love.
 
I share this with the masses of you whom have personally experienced how a horse's presence will save one's life, enrich it beyond expectations.
 
We are all familiar with the poem "Footprints in the Sand." 

As horse lovers, we are blessed with "Hoofprints in the Sand".  Think back to all those days when we were carried through the impossible, the times when we were in our most desperate, painful moments:  the loss of a loved one, a broken heart, a blindside from our children, making us sick with worry among other plans life surprised us with and challenged us to overcome.
 
Remember the times that you lost hope of getting better? 
You had to get up and do chores.  Your horse needed you and in spite of the personal anguish that made you want to bury your head under your pillow, you put them first. Slowly, day by day, the warm nuzzle and merry legs, greeting you in the early morning were too beautiful to ignore.  Unconditional love waiting that made it impossible to feel self pity, but opened the dark skies and reminded us how damn lucky we are to have our equine companions.
 
I went through my most painful days when I first was found by Chief.  He saved my life.  Not only did he save my life, but he gifted me with happiness and opportunity to meet incredible people, have amazing adventures and know the whole time, with him under me, along side, or just watching him from afar, enjoying the sunshine and green pasture.

He carried me through hell and back.
 
The details of my journey are inconsequential. All that matters is, I know, in the deepest part of my soul, had it not been for Chief, this warrior would have fallen.
 
Here's to all the horses , past and present, that without their companionship, their mere presence, we might have missed the joy.
 
Thank you Chief.  When I couldn't walk, you carried me.
 
Hoofprints in the Sand.
 

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4/11/2011 Julie
Oh, Jessie, what a beautiful tribute to Chief. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your heartfelt words must have been healing to write and hopefully they will comfort others who have experienced a similar connection with their horse. Hugs to you.
4/12/2011 Jessie
Chief is alive and well Julie,thankyou for the lovely comment. Hope to see you on the trails this summer!
4/13/2011 Ali
Jessie and Chief, Having had the pleasure of meeting you this summer...It was quick to see how special you both are and I am so happy that you two found eachother. There is no bond quite like that of a girl and her horse and I agree we are blessed to have them in our lives. Looking forward to more rides and fun with you and the big hunk over the summer...he is a special horse for sure!! Ali & Boone
4/13/2011 Molly
Oh Jessie - between you and Sonia I think I'm keeping 'kleenex' in business! - How true your words are and yes - personal heartache and anguish ridden friend that can see the bright side, you have another by your side that totally relates - couldn't have gotten through without mine as well and you said it best! Love your story and I am waiting for your book which you will write someday.
4/15/2011 Andrea Barstow
This is so touching, Jessie. Thank you for sharing it. You know, I still continue to sell cards with Chief's picture! All proceeds of the sale of the cards go to First Light Farm Equine Shelter!
4/23/2011 sonia
Jessie, Thank you for this fabulous tribute to The Big Guy. He truly is a healing horse, a special soul. Wherever his hooves tread, he will bring smiles and joy to all who meet him.

   
"Speak kindly to your little horse, and soothe him when he wheezes, or he may turn his back on you, and kick you where he pleases" - Anonymous