Lately, I've been thinking about Chablis. Her memory haunts me. When I first saw her, I was blown away. She was a dark grey beauty with a bright silver mane and tail. Her tail was amazingly long and beautiful, but I was naive and didn't know that you had to braid and wrap it in tape for protection so that it could grow and achieve that spectacular length. I also didn't know that her color was fleeting and that grey horses often turn white in adulthood. So Chablis went from what's called a show barn, where her hair and mane were protected, to my lowly (but pristine) pasture where it was not protected. Hence she became just a horse. A nice looking horse, but just a horse. And thus began our tumultuous relationship.
The name Chablis is evocative. One thinks of a pure light wine, heady, and with great legs. And that is a good description of my horse. But Chablis was a mare, which meant she was hormonal and unpredictable. She was, in fact, eventually labeled "Moody Mare." One never knew from day to day what her mood would be. But she was beautiful and charismatic, and so I loved her. But still, she was moody.
Chablis and I had some interesting adventures. We would often carom around the hillsides by the light of the moon with my jockey friend, Bobbie. Chablis never faltered. She was brave and unafraid and ready for anything. Most of all, she kept me safe in some very unsafe conditions. Except, perhaps, for the time she ran away with me while I was trying to rescue my missing dog, who was off in the woods somewhere. I think I communicated my worry and fear to her and she reacted accordingly. When I realized she was headed at dead speed for a fence that was too tall for her to jump, I had to do something. So I turned her in a circle hoping that it would slow her down. It did, but it also irritated her, so she slowed down just long enough to buck me off!
And there was another time when she stumbled and fell as I was riding her at a rapid clip. The result was that I summersaulted over her head and onto a quarry floor. Fortunately, we both survived. On that occasion, she trotted back to me, where I lay groaning, and nuzzled me as if to say "Sorry, Boss." She then waited patiently while I scrambled back aboard and we agreed on a slow and shaky walk home.
One of the very sweet and memorable things Chablis did was to give birth to a rollicking foal whom we named "Babe"—unoriginal, but descriptive, because he was a strapping big baby. Babe didn't have the style and beauty of his mother, but he did have the charisma. And unlike her, he was steady and predictable and possessed an even temperament.
Unfortunately, Chablis never got the chance to turn from her beautiful grey self into a more mature white horse. Instead, she acquired a nasty, incurable disease and left us at a relatively early age. It broke my heart to see her go. She and I went through a lot together, and even though we had some rough times, she still saved my neck on many an occasion, and I still viewed her as a life partner. That's the way it is with horses. They rely on you to guide them wisely and you rely on them to keep you safe. It is a bond that, in a way, is like no other.
So rest in peace, Moody Mare. I miss you.