The Wisdom of Lexi
“When a horse gets older, you can expect physical changes. Typically, they lose muscle tone, and they certainly move a lot slower.”Those words of wisdom are from a course I recently took on aging horses. Nothing surprising there, but the next day, in an entirely different setting, a doctor was telling me, “As you get older, your body goes through a lot of changes.”
I didn’t want to hear that, and Lexi certainly didn’t want to listen to it either.
Lexi, the oldest horse we have, just passed her 49th birthday. She’s a beautiful Arabian that was caught up in an abusive situation years ago and awarded to us by the court. True to form, she’s slightly sway-backed, can’t chew grass, and is a little sloppy when dining on her bowl of soaked Equine Senior and alfalfa. Still, she’s healthy and weighs exactly what she should if she were 40 years younger.
A fifty-year-old horse is the equivalent of 150 human years. Think about that for a moment. Lexi’s twice as old as me!
I’m sitting on the border of my 77th birthday. True to form, I’ve slowed way down. Even though I may be riding wild horses in my dreams, reality makes even driving the tractor a challenge. The doctor’s calm words reminded me that much of the physical life I enjoyed in the past is just that – past.
Lexi’s main job is standing in the pasture being a mom to half a dozen much younger horses in her herd. On occasion, some young thing will kick up her heels and run, getting everyone else excited enough to run. Lexi will run with them for a few minutes, her Arabian tail held high. Snorting and head tossing, she can almost match the speed of her herd, but when she’s done, you can tell it took a lot out of her.
There is no greater enjoyment to me than standing in the middle of a herd of horses. I can move quietly from one to the other, listening to their soft sounds, feeling their strength, power, and gentleness. Of all the herds I’ve walked into, Lexi’s herd is the best. With Lexi, I recognize the miracle of our lives, just as we both fight our aging weakness. In her eyes, I can see the filly struggling to be recognized and the adventurous alpha mare in command of her herd, both of them ignoring the failing hearing and the weakness in her muscles.
I’ll never know much of Lexi’s past, but that’s never been important in knowing horses. They don’t live in a world of yesterdays, but rather live in the moment, in the now. More than anything, that’s the wisdom Lexi continually offers, and one that’s so very hard to learn. Age doesn’t matter. The past doesn’t matter. This moment, this second, is the most important in all of eternity. To be with the person, the pet, the place that you love matters.
I’m rich beyond belief, not in dollars, but in treasured moments. I hope you grab a few today, with a horse if you can, but if not, then with someone you love. No matter what’s happening, find a moment, this moment, to be at peace.