A HORSE’S LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Originally published in Horse Directory, May 2012
By Tom Gumbrecht
The author's mother, Helen, and
his first horse, Buddy: Love and
kindness is their legacy.....
I hereby appoint you, my human, to carry out these, my last wishes:
Upon my death, I hereby bequeath to an unwanted horse of your choosing, the wonderful home you have given me. I give her all of my warm blankets, my feeder, my water buckets and my hay rack. I give her the use of my stall, my paddock, and the fence that kept me safe. I give to her the heater that kept my water from freezing in the winter and the fan that kept my stall cool in the summer.
I hereby acknowledge that these are just possessions, and that as such, they’re really yours, not mine. But you really don’t have a use for them yourself, do you?
What I really have to bequeath is the wonderful place in your heart that I helped you discover. That place full of love so pure and unconditional that you didn’t even know was there until we came into each others’ lives. This is what I helped to create, and this is what is mine to give. It must be passed on to the next unloved horse. My hope is that it won’t die with me, to let it would be to dishonor what you and I created together.
To the poor, confused, scared athlete at the auction, recently earning a handsome living for his owner and summarily discarded when no longer able, I give the solemn promise that you once gave me: “No human will ever do anything bad to you again”.
To the favorite camp horse who taught countless children the joys of riding and caring for a horse, only to be shipped off unceremoniously at summer’s end by those unwilling to feed him over the winter, I give an end to the fear and uncertainty that each change of seasons brings. I give the place on the stall door where his nameplate will stay forever until one day, like mine, it will take the place of honor you will give it in your home.
To the loyal senior horse who once babysat someone’s daughter and gave purpose to her life and ribbons to her wall, now forgotten as life took turns that didn’t include him, I give your soft touch, your easy smile, your soothing words, your undying respect and your unshakeable commitment.
Through our partnership you became a better person. You did for me, what you once thought yourself incapable of. That was my gift to you while I was living, and now I humbly ask that you pass along what I have taught you to the next deserving horse. Please don’t say, “I will never have another horse again. No other horse could ever take your place, and the pain of loss is too great”.
Go instead and find an unloved horse whose hope has all but disappeared and give my place to her. That is really all I have to give… the love I helped you find in yourself.
This story was inspired by “The Last Will and Testament of a Companion Animal”, a topic explored by my friend Peggy Hoyt, of The Center for Animal Advocacy.