Maybe part of his allure to me was that enticing memory I always get of promised adventure, cherished hope and impish boyish qualities best described as Pierce Brosnan era, James Bond? Whatever the case, Mr. Bond, the horse, captured my heart with his spirited nature, beautiful demeanor, lovely stride and delectable stalwart efforts.
I can't figure out why this horse's passing hits home so much, for me. I didn't breed, own, house or train him. He wasn't my pen pal. We didn't even exchange Christmas or birthday cards the way good friends do. Sure, I asked Lava Man to share his peppermints with Mr. Bond when I'd send those to the O'Neill barn at the holidays, but personal ongoing correspondence, Mr. Bond and I did not have. Unless you counted Facebook, which I don't, given the impersonal nature of it.
So why, why, why does Bond Holder's passing make me so sad? Feel personally pressing? Like someone yanked my heart out of my body, stuck it inside a cast-iron waffle maker, then sealed the top, sat an elephant on top of the press and told it to shake.
What is this intimate attachment I feel to horses?
#1: Vulnerability. Horses are reliant upon people for daily care and needs. Understanding this, encourages a compassionate person to want them to receive the best care and quality of life.
#2: Patience. Horses teach it even if and when a human doesn't want to be listening. Acquiring patience and cultivating it as a daily habit creates and enables a calmness, a private inner peace to anchor in the mind and prevail during dark and challenging times.
#3: Horses are simple. Pure. Learn their general breed instincts and pay attention to individual personality quirks in your own herd and their wants and needs are basic. Easy. They demand grass and feed, water and space. And they want companionship, love and attention. So much easier to figure out than any non-communicative, moody, self-absorbed human.
(Give me four hooves over two heels any day.)
#4: Horses don't have or want to have agendas. You feed and love them, they nourish and love you. Maybe not grain for grain, seed for seed, hay strand for hay strand, but core truth to core truth. Sentient being to sentient being.
#5: Horses existed on this planet long before I did. I think this fact-based reality has earned them the right of my respect. Yes, that means, I, as a human, must admit that I have few, if any, real answers to life's confounding questions. But that's okay. I can admit that.
The older I get, the more I realize, life is most often hued in simultaneously varied shades of gray. And I'm fine with that because the gray area holds promising, untapped potential and hope. The potential for people to choose to act better. And the hope that they will.
These are a few of the things that horses like Bond Holder have taught me. Heart, spirit, boldness and truth win out every time. You simply have to know where to look for it. The eyes of a horse is the perfect place to start.