The Difference a Horse Makes –

a love story by Rachel Bisillon

It’s been almost a week since my best friend left this earth. Only today have I begun to wrap my head around the fact that I won’t be able to ever see him again, poking his head out from stall; his scattered blaze, few strands of forelock, and little white crescent enveloping the inside of his left eye.

Our colors were navy and white.  He loved cheez-its, rolling in new shavings, and jumping pairs with my best friend and her horse.

Saying that Fran was “just a horse,” isn’t fair. He was my wonderwall, my world.

We met four years ago, but I began riding him for the past three. This sounds cliché, but from the moment I laid eyes on him, I knew we would be inseparable. He always had a Christmas stocking and I would always bring him his Halloween pumpkin, because that’s just how we were.

We both had our quirks and insecurities, but that’s what brought us together. I  knew the reason I loved him was because he was like an awkward teenage boy; the way he yawned before you bridled him, the way he would be shy and quiet one day and the next day he would be in “freaky Fran” mode, and the astounding change from insecure to confident in less than a second. But nonetheless, I continued to love him till the day we put him to rest.

One of my favorite things was watching him with the kids. Fran being so gentle, just plodding around the arena with only the intent of giving them a safe ride, then hearing the kids ramble on about how great of a horse he is and how perfect and fun he is, while I just nod and smile, because I feel exactly the same way.

And to even just say I loved him was an understatement, because I treasured and admired every single part and everything about him. Even at our first show when he threw me off three times, I never stopped loving him because that’s exactly who he is and it was a lesson in itself, “you cannot expect to trust others if you do not first trust yourself.”

He was always there for me, through thick and thin, and that’s why I decided to spend the night with him before he was put down. I spent the whole night talking to him, feeding him whatever he wanted, and singing him the Taylor Swift song I always quote him with.

Fran was my everything because he was there for everything; the day I ditched school because I couldn’t take it anymore, the days I felt like jumping cross rails and even the days I felt like jumping the moon, and of course, our many attempts at trail rides (he never was a fan.)

He was there the night I wanted to hurt myself, with an open heart and he ate my cheez-its with solitude while I cried into his shoulder. We spent his last few minutes together, me sobbing and feeding him cookies, him nuzzling my hair. He had never left me when I was in pain and hurting, therefore I was not about to leave him. Saying goodbye to him that morning was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and am so grateful to have had so much love and support through it from everyone. I can’t say how long it will take for me to realize that he is actually gone; no more jumping or bareback rides around the trails or grazing sessions or Rachel-cries-Fran-cribs sessions, but no matter how many other horses I ride or lease or own or jump or help kids with, he will always be my #1, Forever and Always my Wonderwall. 

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