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Animal Wisdom

A tale of fortitude and resilience and living and dying on your own terms.


I am still processing what happened last week. I woke up on Friday morning to a phone call from my neighbour telling me that my other neighbour's horse Cheyenne was lying in my paddock. She at first thought it was my white Appaloosa Zen, but he was standing under the mango tree with my other two geldings.

A little background here, Cheyenne is a 31 year old flea bitten grey mare, a feisty miss who had never seen a vet, farrier or dentist in her life and could only be haltered with great difficulty. She had belonged to my neighbour's daughter who has long since left home, and she cared for her the best she could despite being very allergic to her. There are very low old wire fences around the paddock on 3 sides (my side has a good fence) and she could have stepped over it at any time, but chose to stay inside it. When I moved in Cheyenne was quite underweight, and didn't look too well, but having the boys next door to hang out with, and an extra biscuit of Lucerne for breakfast from me which she waited and asked for every morning, soon helped her to pick up some weight. For the last couple of days I had seen her just standing looking lethargic and seeming unwell, and she wasn't eating, I thought perhaps her time was near.

However, I wasn't prepared for the phone call, and the astonishing news that she had made her way under a heavy storm gate that is lifted up only by floodwater and with difficulty by hand and lay down on a grassy hill in my paddock, where the boys stood nearby holding space for her.

Her owner was contacted and she and I sat with her, talking to her and gently holding her until she took her last breath after giving a little horizontal gallop as if running towards something that we were unable to see. It was sad, poignant but beautiful, and I felt so privileged that she chose to come to us to help her mum through what she knew would be a heartbreaking time for her. She died as she lived, free of veterinary intervention, where she chose to be for whatever reason.

If I ever doubted the sensitive innate wisdom of a horse to know exactly what it wants and needs at any time, and that it has the power to find it, this would, without doubt, be proof.

RIP Cheyenne, run free, you are forever in our hearts.



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