One day, I will sit down and write a book. My life, over the last four years has been surrounded by my passion and love for horses. But most importantly, my passion for Ink and Errika.
Three months ago, today, I lost one of the most important things in my life. I feel as though that part of my life is gone, left me the day I lost Ink. Errika has been my closest thing to that part of my ‘past’ life and to Ink. Sharing this life with her, without Ink has been weird. Even when they were separated by barns for that brief period, or even by living situations within the barns we’ve boarded at, they were never apart. Always connected to each other someway, somehow. They would always love seeing each other when they’d come together for a ride or when I’d work both of them together. I always knew and believed they were best friends and loved each other as much as I loved them, but I never knew how much until Ink was no longer around.
When I go to the barn to see Reason, I don’t feel that void. I feel sad and I think a lot about Ink because everything there reminds me of him. Reason has his old paddock, stall and all my tack and equipment was most likely purchased over the span I had Ink. But in some ways, it’s comforting to know this was Ink’s last resting place. Sometimes I still feel he is there, looking on and watching Reason and I on a familiar path.
When I see Errika, every time, a part of my heart sinks. I don’t think this will ever go away. I don’t know if I’m feeling what she is, or if seeing her automatically brings up so many memories, mostly of the two of them. Errika impacted Ink’s life so dramatically, yet perfectly. She was gentle and kind to Ink, but quick to turn away when she needed to. He was always quick to follow. Even when he was naughty or pushy with her, she would walk away and he’d chase after he begging for forgiveness. But when she needed his defense or protection for what may lurk around the corner, he always wanted to protect her. She stood confident for them both, while he was learning what confidence was. It was funny to see Ink prance ahead like a stallion, snorting and ready to take on what may come, but once he was truly faced with whatever was threatening, he would run and hide aside Errika. She’d remain calm and secure, teaching Ink about all the world. To watch this alone unfold, was truly special. I give Errika a lot of the credit for being Ink’s first teacher.
What Errika gave to Ink most, was companionship. A thing that even I couldn’t replace. To have Ink socialize and connect with a fellow horse, who was everything he needed in a companion, was priceless. It was a great time for him while he was coming down off the track. It was a great start to his new life.
When Ink passed away, the first place I wanted to be was with Errika. I knew she knew what had happened. For weeks thereafter, Errika was not quite herself. I was honestly a little concerned about her. She was mopey and wouldn’t be at her stall door waiting for breakfast when I’d go to feed, her normal routine. Seeing her made all what had happened, more real. It was heartbreaking to know that they weren’t going to see each other anymore. And it sealed the closing of Inks’ amazing life and story.
Ink was more like a person than a horse. In some ways. He was so amazingly insightful. He was so wise. There are countless times where I’d stare at him and wonder who he was and how I was so lucky to have him in my life. You know how they say that a horse’s eyes are the window to the soul? This was so true for Ink, but even then some. There was so much life behind his eyes. So much understanding of the world that I could not comprehend. He amazed me everyday.
You know how it feels like when you can trust a horse, when you connect with it and know that no matter what they will take care of you? I dreamed and worked each day to have this with Ink. There is nothing more I wanted than that.
I spent the first year of owning Ink, afraid of his wild, full-boar kicking habit, biting and overall intimidating stature. There are some days where I spent hours on end trying to figure out how to get through to him. Countless days where I’d come home in the beginning, not with doubt in my own head, but that from others around me. In the end, I trusted him the way I always wanted to. I learned to understand him and most importantly he taught me to stay true to what you believe in.
Ink came so far. He was amazing. I can only think of the things we would be doing now. And to think of what he was like when he arrived home. It makes me so proud to have experienced that last four years of his life with him. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Sometimes I feel lost without him. Sometimes I dream of him running along Errika and I. Sometimes I dream of that day when I sat on him bareback without a halter, the thoughts of him from day one, month one, running through my head. I love him so much.
Nothing seems the same anymore. But change happens and sometimes it’s good.