(Heart Horse)

I took a big, deep breath before getting out of my car. I could see Margot walking from the barn to meet me. I grabbed my bag, closed the door to the car, smiled and introduced myself  (because despite ‘knowing’ each other for quite some time, we’d never formally met). Our eyes met and my face softened. Thats when I saw it- all the pain and hurt and love she had in her, all of it was right there on the surface. One more word, one more thought, and it would have all poured out. Swallowing the lump that I knew would be in my throat before the day was over, I started walking towards the barn- “So where is the big guy?!” I asked Margot, “I’m excited to meet him!” I babbled on about seeing her other horses around, but not actually knowing if I’d met Oscar before. As I stepped inside the barn, the forever comforting smell of horse filled my nostrils. Standing in front of me, ears pricked, was Ozzy. He had a cross-tie in his mouth and his tail was swishing. He was annoyed at how long it had taken me to walk to the barn and it showed. He didn’t wait for much, and I was certainly no different. I spoke happily and factually. I asked details of his injury and remarked about how he didn’t look or act in pain. Margot pointed out what was hard to ignore- the sunken hind end, the shifting of his weight, the fact that he hadn’t laid down to sleep in weeks. I changed the subject- “So are we putting this bridle on him?” I asked, looking away, wiping away the tears that were already welling up in my eyes. Be strong. They need me. I looked at Ozzy and he grabbed the cross-tie -not looking even a little bit in pain, or like I was supposed to be there, doing what I was going to do.

Margot had contacted me via Facebook a few weeks before- telling me about Oscar’s injury and how she’d be faced with a decision she didn’t want to talk about long before she ever thought she’d be. She complimented my style and told me she would need these pictures to heal herself ‘after.’ I cried. I cleared my schedule and told her I’d be there whenever she wanted me, whenever she needed me. We set a date. I drove up. I cried on the drive, not even able to imagine myself in the same situation. I did the best I could. I told Margot to love him and snuggle him and let him do all of the things that she never lets him do so that he’d be happy and fun. I stepped back and I watched a woman laugh with her horse. I watched years of memories wash over her face. I watched him try for her. I watched him love her and I watched her love him back. Not for me, not for my camera- for what they had and who they were to each other and where they were right now. Because they had right now. And Margot and Oscar taught me, right there that day, that that’s all you really ever have. So to live it, and love it. And that’s what they did.

As I got back in my car, I thought of Margot. And of Oscar. And I cried again. And I promised myself that I’d keep shooting for as long as these moments, these tragedies, these celebrations of life, showed themselves to me.

Margot and Ozzy, you are  both so brave and special. Thank you for letting me in, even for just a little bit.

Show Hide 3 comments

Tara Stewart - February 5, 2013 - 2:01 am

Oh my. Thanks for sharing. I cried, too. Beautiful. Sad. So very important and wonderful, too.

Victoria Creelman - February 5, 2013 - 2:48 am

reminds me of the last day I got to spend with my beautiful Crystal Stream… thank you for that Kayla Butler <3 this video sure made me cry. my heart goes out to Margot for the loss of her gorgeous Ozzy.

Sherry Edwards - February 5, 2013 - 3:15 am

lovely, just lovely…a wonderful tribute to the special bond of loving friends that humans & equine enjoy. We all can learn so much from their gestures, the trust, the love transcends as we see into the soul and realize what a difference these wondrous spirits make in our lives. Margo you have been blessed, love & peace be with you!

Shannon Clare Steele - February 5, 2013 - 10:58 am

Oh my… nothing like a good 6am sob! Beautifully written, I was crying before I even made it to the pictures. You captured everything Danique. I know Margot will treasure this always.

tamara - February 5, 2013 - 12:18 pm

oh my goodness, Danique, just beautiful. you’ve given her such a gift. now I have to go reapply my mascara.

Kim Mayne Condy - February 5, 2013 - 12:47 pm

Amaziing pictures, Amazing person, Amazing horse, Amazing relationship.

Heidi MacInnes - February 5, 2013 - 1:27 pm

Read this in bed last night and watched the beautiful picture story unfold….trying to cry as quietly to myself as possible… my tears started on the first sentence.
For anyone who has loved a horse, you know the special bond between horse and rider and we have all walked in Margot’s shoes at some point in our lives so know the pain all to well.
You are a talented artist Danique! This was a wonderful tribute that I am sure brings comfort to Margot every time she watches it.

Jen Macpherson - February 5, 2013 - 1:47 pm

this is beautiful

Kathleen Youden - February 5, 2013 - 2:22 pm

so sorry Margot.

Rebecca Clayton - February 5, 2013 - 2:42 pm

I don’t even know these two but I feel like I do after reading the story and seeing the pictures! Tears are streaming down my face right. We all come to that point in our lives but just remember we do what is best for our loved ones.

Chelsea Richardson - February 5, 2013 - 2:43 pm

This is absolutely beautiful, an amazing tribute to a wonderful team. ugh I can’t stop crying!! My heart goes out to you Margot< 3

Dawn Ferguson Slaunwhite - February 5, 2013 - 2:49 pm

I also cried like a baby this morning

Emma Rappoldt - February 5, 2013 - 3:06 pm

It’s so amazing to be able to take photographs and make them about something more than just capturing a moment in time. These are stunning Danique, and so beautiful Margot. I can’t begin to explain how much I admire your strength Margot, this is so touching.

Ashleigh Harris - February 5, 2013 - 3:12 pm

This gorgeous and heartbreaking, what a lovely way to try to heal <3 Tears for sure!

Anne Simmonds Stone - February 5, 2013 - 4:17 pm

Thanx for sharing, Heidi….I only wish I had done this for my guys/gal…

Judith Anne Davidson - February 5, 2013 - 5:38 pm

I love the halter picture and the whole thing but that one just says it all to me. I wish, as some others have, that I had some special pics of me and my boy.

Amanda Coggins - February 5, 2013 - 9:19 pm

there are no words. heartbreaking but amazing.

Bonnie Van Tassel - February 5, 2013 - 9:39 pm

so many days in her future will she be glad you were there to capture the beauty of their relationship.

Lisa Ferrish - February 5, 2013 - 9:50 pm

Amazing, pure bliss that is known in loving an equine angel. Feel blessed for the opportunity as not everyone gets to experience this beautiful relationship xo.

Vanessa White - February 5, 2013 - 11:40 pm

Wow. I cried too. So beautiful.

Suzanne Horne - February 6, 2013 - 3:07 am

Danique, your words are as beautiful as your pictures! I cried for Ozzy as well as those I have loved and lost, thank you!

Sandra Mader - February 6, 2013 - 1:33 pm

Thank you so much for sharing. Margot is a dear friend with a wonderful heart and spirit. Your photographs so clearly reflect love. How precious.

Chelsea Clouter - February 7, 2013 - 2:49 am

Bawled my eyes out. This is so beautiful and touching Danique. My heart goes out to you Margot. Ozzy clearly loves you so much and will always be with you<3.

Debbie Littlewood - February 7, 2013 - 3:02 am

omg.. cried my eyes out!

Kristen De Young - February 7, 2013 - 4:01 am

Danique, this is truly breathtaking. I can’t even express in words the emotions this made me feel. Margot, I am so sorry for your loss, you can tell how special he was.

Susan Messom - March 9, 2013 - 2:05 am

These pictures captured the love between these two beautiful companions…my heart hurts for her loss…so sorry…These photos will bring comfort….so moving.

Susan Coulter - March 9, 2013 - 3:56 am

Beautiful. There are tears running down my face.

Nora Brown - February 25, 2015 - 8:21 pm

Beautiful story of a horse and its owner and the love between the two of you thank you for sharing.

Amanda Tweedy - February 25, 2015 - 9:09 pm

Wounderful great song for this made me cry anyone know the name of the song?

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