Peregrine will be 30 in two weeks. You can see his age in his face. Just like an elderly person, his flesh has melted away from his bones. But there’s something else I see his face. I see the foal who greeted me thirty years ago.
I was there at his birth which was a very good thing or he might not have survived his first day. His mother had neurological damage to her spine resulting in limited proprioception in her hind end. She panicked during the foaling. As Peregrine began to emerge, she fell down against the stall wall and couldn’t get up. He was trapped in the corner of the stall with not enough room to get free of her pelvis. If I had not been camped out just outside her stall and heard the first sounds of her struggle, I might have lost them both.
I was able to pull Peregrine out and then summon the help I needed to move her away from the wall. While his mother rested, he struggled to his feet.
I’ve watched people trying to catch new born foals. They have to corner them, trap them, grab them up in their arms and hold them tight. Peregrine was never like that. I’d been talking to him for months before his birth. He was born knowing my voice, knowing me. He was every bit as at ease with me as he was his own mother. This foal picture was taken just eight hours after he was born. The halter was a non-event. I slipped it on, and he wore it as though it was the most natural thing in the world for a horse to do. He fell asleep that first morning with his head in my lap, something he still does, thirty years later.
When I look at this picture, I see my beautiful Peregrine. He’s curious, open, eager for the life that is ahead of him. When I look at Peregrine now, I see the same horse. He’s still beautiful and still eager for what the day will bring. I wish we could say the same for all old horses.
Happy Birthday Peregrine. Thank you for the gift of 30 years.
Help me celebrate his 30th birthday on April 26, 2015. Details to be announced.