(Damascus, Maryland, USA)
Anyone who hasn't ever been around horses, really gotten to know them, doesn't understand. But I do. Horses aren't just animals for us to ride around on, to show, or just to sit and watch. They are meant to play big roles in our life. Just like my horse, Gem. He was a 27 year old thoroughbred gelding. He's dead now, but that's not what really matters.
Gem was probably the best horse a girl could have ever owned. When I think back to the times I can remember riding him, the best memory of all was scary, happy, and saddening, all at the same time.
Gem and I had gone for a ride through the woods near my stables. It was a bright sunny day, with birds singing beautifully in the trees, now beginning to turn fantastic shades of red and gold. It seemed, to all the world, that it was a perfect day. But maybe not for some people...
As Gem and I finally reached our secret spot, a small pond with an abandoned tree house and stable, I dismounted, and set our stuff on the ground. I had brought along a picnic basket, because my best friend, Maya, had decided to come along on her horse, Gypsi.
The two horses played and romped in the small clearing, getting dirty. I took a small nap, and waited to get ready to leave. Soon, Maya woke me up, telling me that she had washed off Gyspi, packed up the stuff, and was ready to go. All I had to do was clean Gem, because he wouldn't let anyone else touch him.
Just as I was almost finished, there came a distinct rattling in the bushes. I thought it was just the reeds as Gem's tail brushed against them, so I shrugged it off. I tacked Gem up, and was just about to mount, when disaster struck. A huge snake flew out of the reeds, and began to aim bites at me.
Unluckily, because I hadn't mounted, Gem moved, stepping on the tail of the beast. This only made it angrier. Boy, were we in trouble.
I began to scream for Maya to go get help, and pulled a small knife, which I kept for emergencies, out. Using a large stick, I pinned the reptile down, and managed to cut into it's neck. It slithered away before I could get deep enough.
By now, Gem was convulsing among the grasses. I knew automatically that it was too late. I sat with my beloved horse until he died.
After all, it was inevitable, as he had just been bitten by a copperhead, as we later found out. With no way to save him, I was forced to give up, and move on, but I never really did forget.
Because he was amazing.