Meet Tim! A thirty-something year old Appaloosa with an infectious personality that could rival most humans. Tim and I go way back — to my days when I used to ride regularly and spend most of my waking hours at the barn. While my life no longer revolves around horses, I made an exception this past weekend.
I haven’t seen Tim in seven years. Yet somehow, this cantankerous Appaloosa didn’t forget the sound of my voice, or that I nicknamed him “fluffy” because he always grew such a thick coat in winter. No, this senior horse knew me by the way I slipped the halter over his head and how I talked to him as we walked side by side in the courtyard. He recognized an old friend. For both of us, it was like we had just seen each other yesterday — without missing a beat. I guess that’s how you are with old friends.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, well known for an apt phrase, once commented “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” I’ve always found that it is impossible to be upset when you’re in the company of an animal — whether it’s a cat, dog, or horse.
Tim is quiet, seldom uttering horse sounds. Yet as a non-verbal animal, the best therapy I ever received was from Tim. He will unconditionally listen to anyone he meets, and he never passes judgement (unless you forget to give him a treat!). That’s the greatest characteristic anyone could ask for in a friend.