An Old Horse Named Toby

Toby was an elderly chestnut horse with a teetering walk, and the mind & soul of  a sage.

He became a teacher for my son, Delan, who was developing his skills as an animal communicator.  Delan was a young teen when he started on this path (now he is in college).  Toby took the time and interest to talk with Delan.  On one practice session I attended, after finishing his supplements, Toby walked over to Delan to face him for a moment, and then walked to face each of us briefly looking into our eyes  in what felt like an individual formal greeting, before returning to Delan to begin his session.  Toby was a very gracious horse.

On my morning visits to ride my horse, I would often see Toby & his human partner Scottie, slowly walking together towards the polo field.  Scottie & Toby had the deepest connection – there is much I could write about them too, perhaps sometime in the future.  Both individuals had their physical limitations and yet each knew the other so well, they seemed to watch out for each other.  I had also noticed that walking to the polo field had become an increasing challenge for Toby.

As time passed, it was apparent Toby was growing weaker and less coordinated.  Day by day he seemed to lose his life force and Scottie was extremely concerned about him.  Yet weeks grew into months and Toby silently hung on.

Do you ever get this urge that something needs to be done – and all circumstances seem to arrange themselves to help it happen?  One of those synchronicities occurred as Delan made an impromptu visit home from college one weekend.  Despite his busy social schedule he wanted to pay a visit to Toby (a rare event after high school)  and as timing would have it, he & Scottie met at Toby’s paddock by chance.

Scottie had been hoping Delan would come around sometime to talk to Toby, and was very happy to see him.  They began their session.   I looked on from a distance while attending to my horse.

Later in the afternoon, I asked Delan how the session went.  He told me quietly that Toby had been ready to leave for quite some time and wanted to be free of his body, but was staying for he felt Scottie still needed him.   During the session this pair – human & horse – were able to express the gratitude and love they shared.   That morning Scottie let Toby know that she did not want him to stay for her, but that when he had had enough in his physical body that he was free to let go.

Circumstances had made it possible for Delan, Scottie, & Toby to meet that day.  I gave silent thanks and went on with our family plans.

The next day I fit in an early morning ride.  The ranch was quiet and the air still save for the peaceful sounds of horses munching on their hay and the morning chatter of the birds.  I love this time at the stables the best.  Reaching my horse’s paddock, she quietly breathed a greeting, and while I leaned against the rails glancing across the neighboring paddocks I noticed that all the horses were standing save for Toby.  He seemed to be sleeping yet lay so very still.

He had passed peacefully in his sleep.

I will always miss this old horse, for he shared with me & my son the wisdom of a horse, and a glimpse into the continuity and profound connection between us.

Toby & Scottie in 2006

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