Have you ever seen the rays of the sun seep through the cracks of the trees and their leaves in a forest? That was who she was, a ray of hope through the challenges placed before me. Every day is a day to learn something new. Nothing is perfect but that’s what makes us who we are. She taught me that it’s okay to be broken, but you should never give up. It is really okay to be the odd one in a world that is constantly changing, but never conform to their standards.
Who was she? A horse used in the name of ‘science’, but rejected once she became ‘useless’. Broken, hurt and lost. We met her during surgery rotation. She had no name, she was not respected, and she HATED humans. Yes, she despised the sight of people. I will not blame her for that because humans can be very difficult at times. I have always loved horses, but started fearing them when a friend of mine got bitten really badly by one. Sunshine changed everything I feared about them.
I volunteered to become the person who would be in charge of her. The ligament on her left front leg had snapped, causing her to limp and leaving a nasty wound too! Her nails were ingrown and upturned because of improper care, a condition known as “Aladdin slipper”. We dressed her wound every two days. It wasn’t an easy task, because she never stayed quiet and always retaliated.
We soon found out that she loved classical music, and started playing that in order to calm her while we dressed her wound. Something happened on of the days we decided to dress her wound. She became quite aggressive and started moving a lot, and almost no one could handle her. After much effort she quieted down, and somehow I could feel exactly what she felt and feared. “What makes you humans superior?” “What makes you any different from those who treated us badly at ‘THAT’ place?”.
I only replied, “I am no different, but I care for you”.
That was how our friendship grew. Every day since that incident, I made time to say good morning and good night. I even fed her carrots and took her for walks. She was a tiny frail being with so much pain. I thought I could fix her by being there for her. I even got my friend, the one who got bitten before by another horse, to come spend time with her. Sunshine managed to turn my friend’s fear into courage!
After changing rotations into another division I spent less time with her. Lunch breaks were the best because I could eat my sandwich while watching her eat her food. I knew she was something more than just a horse. She had a story that people needed to know. She was perfect to me. I enjoyed grooming her. She loved having her pictures taken and she loved ‘selfies’! One could really see the smile in her eyes.
Over the months she got ill. It was very mysterious as to why she got sick. She lost a lot of weight. She still ate the carrots I gave her during my visits. She started sitting down more, which is never a good sign in horses. She even began to lie down. She got so bad that I decided to stay a night with her. Nothing beats the comfort of lying down and sleeping next a horse. Another memory that I now carry with me. She placed her head on my lap that night.
Two days later I had leave for another district for a different rotation period. I stood there looking at her and I knew it was goodbye this time. No matter how much I wanted her to stay around for me, I knew I had to hug her one last time. Walking out of the stable was probably one of the hardest things to do because I knew in a few days’ time, I would get a message saying she was no more.
Three days later she passed. It was hard even though I had prepared myself for the news.
I learned that animals need to be respected too. Horses are one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. Sunshine taught me that it is okay to be different. She taught me that life has much more to offer than just the mundane stories heard all around from humans. She wanted someone to listen to her. She never spoke about what happened to her before, but she was happy in the end with the little attention and care she received. She was content.
So here’s to Sunshine who will always be the reason why I love horses more than I did before. No more fear and doubts in handling them. You will always be remembered, dear girl, for your strength and courage and how you have inspired the few of us who knew you. I only wish people would be a little more concerned and aware of the animals they meet each day. We don’t meet horses by accident – they are meant to cross our paths for a reason.
You will always be my Sunshine come rain come shine, now and forever.