The Mourners


Today, a dear friend had to make a tough decision. Her horse was in pain from complications after a procedure that should have saved her life. When you’ve done everything you can for your horse, sometimes the only gift left is to keep them from suffering. Her horse was very loved, very special and very well cared for.

Even though it’s been 11 years since my Trakehenr, Kroni, died, I can still remember the rawness of grief. The disbelief. The shock. He wasn’t supposed to die when I took him to Tufts, they were going to make him better. Sadly, not even the top veterinary hospitals can save every horse and he died before they figured out what was wrong with him. Not that it would have helped; two months later the necropsy revealed a blood clot in his brain.

I looked for a poem that might capture the glory of these wonderful horse. The friends who took us on adventures, who carried us safely and who gave us the ride of our lives. Here are two that I hadn’t read before, but which capture the fleeting nature of our time with our equine family members.

The Mourners

When all the light and life are sped
Of flowing tails and manes,
And flashing stars, and forelocks spread,
And foam-flecks on the reins;
I like to think from every land
And far beyond the wave
A crowd of ghosts will come and stand
In grief around that grave –

Will H. Ogilvie

The Grandest Foal
Author Unknown

I’ll lend you for a little while,
my grandest foal, God said.
For you to love while he’s alive,
and mourn for when he’s dead.

It may be one or twenty years,
or days or months, you see.
But will you, til I take him back,
Take care of him for me?He’ll bring his charms to gladden you
and should his stay be brief,
you’ll have those treasured memories,
as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay,
since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught on earth
I want this foal to learn.

I’ve looked the wide world over
in my search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes,
with trust, I have selected you.

Now will you give him all your love?
Nor think the labor vain.
Nor hate me when I come
to take him back again?

I know you’ll give him tenderness
and love will bloom each day.
And for the happiness you’ve known,
you will forever-grateful stay.

But should I come and call for him
much sooner than you’d planned,
you’ll brave the bitter grief that comes,
and maybe understand.

6 thoughts on “The Mourners

  1. Oh, my.
    Will Ogilvie wrote other poems about horses, this one is ..well, heart felt.
    My condolences to your friend, and tell her her horse is waiting on the other side of the Rainbow bridge.

  2. The one year anniversary of my Ozzy’s too-early death is looming, and that second poem really hit a chord with me. Thank you.

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