"There is a saying, 'A horse cares not how much you know until he knows how much you care.'
After years of being unable to walk as a boy following an accident on Windybank Estate, in order to help restore my balance I learned to ride; first on my bicycle and then on a horse. It was on a bicycle that I learnt to borrow the wings of freedom once more, but it was in the saddle of a horse that I found paradise. Because one of my legs had been left three inches shorter than the other after my traffic accident, I frequently lost my footing, slipped the stirrups and was thrown off the horse.
We never had the money to afford a horse, and having been born in the Chinese Year of the Horse had to suffice until I started work and could afford to pay for rides out of my own earnings. Every afternoon on my way home from school, believing that all horses should know the love of a boy at least once in their life, I would walk by a farm located in the fields behind Second Avenue on the estate where I lived, just to stroke a favourite friend of mine. After about one week of our acquaintanceship, I noticed that when I walked away, so did the horse. It was then I knew that when a horse follows without being asked and when he rubs his head in yours without invitation, that you are truly loved unconditionally. It was then I told myself that no heaven can there be, if neither dog nor horse be there to welcome me.
As I grew older and the arthritis began to plague my legs, I had to give up the saddle and content myself with watching these majestic creatures prance around fields once more, but I never forgot those days when I would let loose the reins and feel the wind of freedom from between the horse's ears.
I was reading recently about a horse that got itself stuck in a mire and it's owner jumped in to try and get the creature out (The attached photo is unrelated to the tale I tell, except by illustration). The image moved me so much that it has remained with me ever since. Both horse and owner were eventually freed with the assistance of others. The humble owner dearly loved her horse and later said she she couldn't do anything except hold on and be alongside him. I remember thinking that was all she could do; that is all any of us can do during times in our lives when our loved ones hurt badly or sink into depression and despair.
Though there often be a hundred reasons to let go, the human spirit can always find one more to hold on a bit longer. Long live man's best friend. Long live the horse!" William Forde: February 3rd, 2015.