This is a picture that I took of my beloved 26-year old Andalusian stallion Capprichio last summer. I laid in the grass and let my camera catch the landscape of his body. Several months later, He would choke on a carrot, and during the treatment to clear the choke, we discovered that his heart murmur was now significant, even dangerous. We did an echocardiogram, then a stress test.
He is on medication, including COQ10, and a diet of soaked timothy cubes (he can no longer chew hay), and supportive organic supplements, hemp oil, and of course his Himalayan salt block. He has continued to love to work – he was/is, after all a Grand Prix level performer. His exuberance under saddle is one of my great, great joys. Even now, he gets just as excited to see the mares (and geldings). Always, I watch his breathing carefully, and only ride for short periods, and only do what he tells me is ok on that day. AFter 14 years together, we are very good at listening to each other. Did I say that I love him?
Yesterday it was oddly hot, and so we walked for awhile, and I noticed that his breathing was more labored than usual. I got off, checked his carotid pulse, got back on, and asked if he wanted to trot. He did, but it felt like the air in his tires was low, and that the spring in his step was not what I want to feel if we were to keep going. So we stopped.
Back in his stall, I opened the top of his Dutch door, and we stood side-by-side an gazed out at the big field that has been his home for the past ten years. Did I say that I love him?
Capprichio is specific about how, when and where he wants to be touched. But yesterday he let me circle his neck with my arms and lean my head into his neck for a long time. Then we pressed our ribs together and I breathed his rhythm, which was slow and a bit ragged. Then I called the vet.
Next week we will repeat the echocardiogram. I carry all of my horses in my own body – like cellular heiroglyphs – each one so spedific, beautiful and detailed. Capprichio’s hieroglyph would be in all caps, and circled with flowers. I love him. Say a prayer for my beautiful boy.