Her life, here with me, on our farm in New Jersey, ended on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 9:30 in the morning after a few months of struggling. It was our first snow, fitting for a horse named Patches of Winter. It was a wet night, cold and windy, but the ground was warmer than the air, so it wasn’t so uncomfortable.
That face, so distinct, so expressive, so memorable. In fact it was a snowy winter day, when Angie was a baby that I sat with her as she rested. Like last night, she rested her head in my lap; as a baby, she stole my heart and began a journey with me that was one of true love and intimacy, joy, pain, fun with both great and hard times.
A true adventure through a lifetime!
An adventure of learning about myself and others, an adventure in health and well being, an adventure in travel and bravery, an adventure in friendship and commitment. In the beginning, Angie taught me about fear and trust, about boundaries and permission, about allowing each of us to have responsibilities. Those lessons were often hard!
Angie wasn’t my first horse, but my second. My first horse was an 8 year old gelding Quarter Horse, we called him Sorrel Beauty, or just Handsome. Angie came two years later after I realized I wanted to learn “WHY.”Why did he do this or that or the other things. I figured if I find a baby horse, I’ll know all the why’s! Hahaha…
Now, in the end, I surely can answer many of those whys, and the ones that I could not see the answer to when my Angie gave them to me, I learned again from the other horses, who have joined us on this journey so far. And, Ms. Patches made sure I knew that it was she and I “who started all of this,” she was right once more!
A 1991 Baby
With strong opinions and ideas about her place in the world, Angie had many other nicknames that did not quite share the loving sentiment behind Angie! However, the thing I learned pretty quickly is that I needed whatever my Sorrel Beauty had, because she did whatever he wanted.
As she grew bigger, she also grew stronger, so what she lost in quickness in her body she gained strength! While Angie’s color was a tri-colored Paint, her Quarter Horse Mom’s genes defined her shape. Mom’s color, markings and shape were exactly those of our friend Sorrel.
It wasn’t long before I set out to find some help with this little one! After observing local trainers and horse shows, I looked further and found many trainers who worked with the horse’s mind instead of just their bodies. One gave us some good ideas, but they mostly required a second person to help which I did not have; then onto another, again more good ideas, but that work required 4K repetitions, which I did not have the patience for! Then onto more books, magazines and trade shows until, I found a foundation program. From 1996-2004 we followed that program in workshops and home study. During those years, Angie helped me through child rearing, business management, marriage and divorce, dating, self reflection and life altering choices.
Jan 9, 2005 we set out from home in NJ and travelled South and ended in Florida for three months for intense study, then, for the next 3 months we travelled across the Southern USA and found MANY adventures and great places to ride and be. We made friends along the way, human, horse and a donkey that Angie found outside of New Orleans. We climbed out of red warmth of New Mexico into snowy, cold Colorado, where we spent the next 6 months. The mountains were amazing and helped us bring about a whole new level of fitness, awareness and courage!
We like the Winter, so it’s a good thing because when we arrived in Colorado, a 10 year drought broke with record snow falls! We made friends there and figured out how to ride in deep snow, how to find arroyos (deep crevices) in the snow and stay out of them! We rode with Elk, lived in a cabin on the San Juan River and generally enjoyed one another before we embarked on another intense 6 months of study, where we learned things like, how to scooch down mountains, how to work in teams to drive herds of 40 or more horses or cows. How to saddle up in the early morning hours well before light and ride out to find said, horses or cows! We helped each other and we helped many horses and people who we shared our time with.
We returned home just before Christmas and rejoined our friend Sorrel, whom Angie loved dearly. We learned more things than we actually knew back then, and we spent the next 11 years helping others; horses from all walks of life and people with all types of learning styles and abilities. Angie helped me through the death of all of my parents and we helped each other through the death of our Sorrel Beauty.
And so we turn the page…
On Saturday, as I was playing out in the field with Sterling, we had the most lovely of times. I had a distinct feeling of being free. And, it felt personal to Sterling. It wasn’t until those early morning snowy hours of Sunday that the thought came to me that the freedom I felt was from my Patches of Winter, I believe she passed Me off to Sterling, knowing her time here was ending.
She taught me enough in our time together for me to believe I have what it takes to raise, live with and learn from a stallion. After a 25 year relationship with a mare and then adding 6 more mares to our herd, a deep understanding comes to a person who is deeply interested. A person who is interested in “why.”
I steamed no more apples,
I cooked no more radish or asparagus,
No more turmeric or coriander soup.
I’ll only make tea for me, that work is now done as my love is now gone.