Although inevitable and expected, the loss of a great friend is never easy. Today I find myself shedding tears of sorrow and relief at the news of Groovy's passing this past weekend.
The story began the summer of 1989 when I was working at a hunter/jumper barn in Crescent, Iowa. One day I needed a horse for an event and the barn owner was gracious enough to lend me one from the stable. As luck would have it, the horse I was suppose to take was missing a shoe and unridable. "Groovy" had just arrived that week and supposedly experienced so he was loaded in the trailer and off we went. Since I hadn't ridden him before, I didn't know what to expect but quickly found him very energetic, willing, athletic and an absolute blast to ride. We did have trouble turning and stopping (which some observers found unacceptable) but I fell in love with the big, bay, thoroughbred gelding with soft brown eyes and a huge heart who hadn't been treated very nicely in his past.
Shortly thereafter, Groovy became mine and over the next 14months countless hours drifted in salute to the tranquil bond we shared. We were a dynamic duo earning each other's trust and developing a friendship that time will never erase. Memories of sailing over large jumper fences, racing effortlessly through a cross-country course, carefully brushing and grooming the powerful 16.3 body with a face brush because his skin was too sensitive for anything else, feeling protective as he was chased by another horse since he didn't want to fight, seeing the joy in his eyes at the sight of a carrot, watching his zest for life that always created drama, and other momentarily forgotten moments will always bring a smile.
As fate would have it, my dreams of having Groovy in the same city never materialized as I pursued a career in sport. I will forever be grateful for the loving care my parents gave to him for 20 years and the opportunity to spend time with him in short interludes. Each visit gave us a chance to re-aquaint and we always maximized the moments not worrying about the future. During the past 2 years with his advancing age, I began to feel as though our time was limited and each moment could be our last. Almost defiantly, he always assured me that he wasn't ready to go and valiantly faced the elements until I could return. However, this past spring was different, and he didn't fight the good-bye. As I walked out of the barn I knew that the next step we took together wouldn't be in this life. Last week, he finally showed signs of fatigue that couldn't be overlooked and on Saturday he was laid to rest.
Groovy- Thank you for the many gifts you unconditionally gave in this life. For those, you will forever be missed and never forgotten. It is a relief to know that you that you will not be pained by the physical limitations of an aging body and the high energy of your spirit can now roam free. May God Bless your continued journey.