Alex, the White Pony
I named my blog after my first and so far the only horse I have owned, Alex. He was a gray New Forest gelding that I bought from a riding school when he was retired at 15 years of age. He was born brown, but by the time he came to live with us he had turned almost white (as gray horses often do). Hence the name ‘Valkoinen poni’, ‘White Pony’.
I was 10 when I bought him with my own money. I had wanted to a have a horse for as long as I can remember, and I saved the money for him myself. I guess I was an easy kid birthday and Christmas presents-wise: a check was fine. I’d just put it on my savings account. I’ve been told that I had a thing for horses right from my birth, that as a toddler I always got exited whenever I saw a horse. I have no idea where that comes from, but I think it’s something genetic as my dad and one of my brothers are inherently mad about cars. Maybe it’s a form of an addictive personality.
Alex was never just a horse. He was a friend and a mentor. Every morning I got up at 6.30 and went to feed him first before I had breakfast and left for school. (Dad did that on weekends. He was friends with Alex too. They used to play tag in the paddock.) I never complained about the early mornings. I never felt it was a boring, tiresome chore I had to do. It was one of the happiest things I have ever done in my life, right there in the top three. We had the same birthday though he was five years older than me.
I had a dream the night before he died. I was riding him along a forest road. The road passed by a field and there was a tractor working on the field. The tractor frightened Alex (as they sometimes did) and he tried to flee, but he was to scared to run properly and he begun to fall over onto his side. I tried to keep him up right and to soothe him, but he kept falling and falling. I told about the dream to my friends at school, and when I came home I saw Alex laying on his side in the paddock. I knew something was wrong right away. He seldom did that. I knew it was serious when he didn’t get up as I approached him. He didn’t even raise his head, but breathed heavily and his stomach was bloated. I knew he had colic. He was 21 then and we decide it was his time. The colic was so bad that he would have needed an operation and the closest veterinary clinic that could operate on horses was too far away those days. So we called an emergency slaughter service who could not only euthanise Alex humanely but take care of his remains.
I stood by him through it. You never leave your friend, no matter what, and though it was one of the hardest things I have ever done, I am glad I did it. Later on we realised that it was a 23rd again, just in a different month. He had died on a date matching our birthday.
I still miss Alex everyday. I have a picture of him in my wallet (I have my partner’s photo in my cell phone as a wallpaper). I still sometimes dream of him, and in those dreams we talk without words, and I rarely ride him, we just enjoy each others company. I wish our paths could have joined for a longer journey. I hope we meet again.