Even when you know that a time of sadness may be close in coming, until it arrives, you don’t know how deeply it will hurt. Despite knowing that horses generally only live into their thirties, and that Memphis was 43, his time to leave, well, it came yesterday, shortly after 1:00 on Wednesday, September 7th. We know how much his loss will be shared by countless others who knew him. He was something special after all, and he was here at Glade Run for about 25 years, which is a good amount of time to make a difference in a lot of lives. We still have clients, ten years or more after leaving us, call or email to ask how he was doing. I could honestly answer, right up until his last few hours, that he was doing great. Yesterday, something inside his physical body gave up, but his spirit remained till the end.
I’m trying to think of funny Memphis stories or touching anecdotes to share, but I keep coming back to one thought; Memphis was solid. He was the trustworthy soul who could take any rider, no matter how wiggly, wild, or scared. He could walk hours in circles in the arena, one rider after another, as they learned not to pull on his mouth or bounce on his back. He could be safely led by any volunteer, and even alongside any other horse (though his occasional nasty looks and pinned ears let you know he wasn’t happy about the company). He would happily go out on any trail, his playful antics in the water reminding leaders that it was supposed to be fun, but you had to keep him moving before he forgot his job and tried to roll in the creek. He was the horse we would have put an infant on. He was “the man”.
He was the man, and as many of us agree, the absolute best kind of man loves children. Memphis adored kids. Above and beyond any of his other stellar attributes was this adoration, and it was mutual. Memphis happily stood and stretched towards kid’s caressing hands, of which there could be a dozen or more at a time. He’d show you his favorite spots to be scratched (on the crest of his neck and lowest part of his throat) by tightening that area and quivering his lip. Then, when you were done loving on him, he’d say thanks by lowering his head, knowing that the sentiment was mutual, and confident that there would always be more.
I am sad that I cannot continue to show Memphis my love and appreciation by jovially calling him “my man” and scratching his favorite spots. Even as sad as I am, I feel confident that he is now being caressed by many hands and thankful that I knew his solid spirit with me for so long in this world. Thanks for your years of service Memphis, though I know, to you, it was more than a job, it was your calling.
We will certainly be taking suggestions to best honor the longest standing member of our Adventures family. The Loss and Future garden will undoubtedly hold a special place to recall his gifts and to celebrate the lessons he taught us to pass along to future generations.
“God saw he was getting tired and forever wasn’t meant to be, so He put His arms around him and whispered, “Come along with me.” With tearful eyes we watched him slowly fade away, and although we loved him dearly, we couldn’t make him stay. A golden heart stopped beating; playful hooves were put to rest, God took him to His Kingdom as he always takes the best.” ~ Author Unknown