KUMAR & Me
..a true life story about relationship connectedness and continuity
My experiences with people and animals living and passed leave me comfortable with the idea that we are all connected in relationship at a level which transcends the intellectual and sensual.
I have been acutely aware since early childhood that there are forces at play which are extra dimensional and rationally inexplicable. There are many personal anecdotes on which I could rely but will cite elements of the brief life of Kumar my Connemara colt by way of illustration.
Kumar was born to Ashha a 22yr old Connemara mare on the 22nd of May 2015 3weeks later Kumar died on the 11th of June.
On the day of Kumar's birth I had checked the mare early in the afternoon, the mare was grazing and seemed content, so i decided that I would walk towards the local village to meet my husband and son on their return drive from his school which was some distance away.
In the course of my walk I found myself peering through the window of a derelict cottage which had belonged to an elderly friend who had passed a year previous. Old Willie was a fabulous eccentric character who had had a lifetime interest in horses and on this particular occasion I felt that I needed to be close to him. As i leant on the old window sill I noticed a weather beaten coin and then subjectively heard Willie say ''take it Kate and go buy the lad (my son) an ice cream and you must go now and check your mare’’. as i turned for home i heard a car i turned to see and saw it was my husbands car, he explained that he was a little late as he had stopped to buy our son an ice cream. I looked back at the cottage and smiled, and could just imagine old willie at the front door tipping his hat and winking.
We arrived home at about 4pm to find Ashha lying down in the field with her new foal (Kumar) standing beside her. Old willie was right!
We left them in the field overnight with Honey (6 year old thoroughbred mare) and Harsa (1 year old filly from Ashha).
Next morning all came to the stable for food. I separated the horses so Ashha and foal could rest alone. Later I joined her and she let Kumar approach me directly for the first time. Kumar thrived during the next week to the extent that my husband remarked on his vitality and agility on the night the horses walked up to the woods, the night before Kumar passed.
On the day he passed my cousin whom I had not seen for twenty five years was arriving with her partner to spend a week with us. I was alone and had not made my usual early morning check on the herd as I was completing some house work. In the course of my work I stopped to rest and focused momentarily on a picture of my deceased maternal grandmother. In the photo she is wearing a brooch of a horse in leaping in the air, I was suddenly struck by the fact that it was strangely reminiscent of a photo I had taken of Kumar a few days earlier (see photos at the end). At this point I subjectively experienced my grandmother exhorting me to
‘’go check the foal’’.
I went through my usual routine albeit a little late and whistled the horses. There was no immediate response on this occasion although this was not entirely unusual. In those circumstances my normal routine meant that I would continue with the food preparation and stable work and they would invariably come down on my second whistle. I stood at the end of the lane and whistled again and watched anxiously as they made their way down without Kumar.
I separated Ashha from the others for feeding purposes and went to check on Kumar. I was well aware that Ashha was unlikely to leave him. A terrible feeling of foreboding overtook me and I was expecting the worst. When I arrived Kumar was lying in the field in almost the same spot where he was born. I broke into a fit of crying and was full of rage. I began to hit him trying to get a response. I checked his mouth and massaged his chest and ribs. There was no response. I was screaming. His eyes were closed initially but he then lifted his head off the ground, turned towards me and opened his left eye. Subjectively I heard him say that he was terrified and he asked me to hold his head. I sat holding and stroking his head in my knees. He closed his eyes and breathed his last breath. Simultaneously I heard Ashha’s shrill scream which was strangely reminiscent of a ’’caoining’’ woman at an Irish wake as she thundered up the lane.
I looked towards the open gate and saw her appear with her head in the air and her knees up in a very threatening way as if she were warning me to stay away. I didn’t and couldn’t move. I was frozen to the spot. She raced toward me, dropped her head and just stopped. Then I heard the others come up the lane and wasn’t sure how they got out as I felt I had closed the gate to that part of the stable in which I had fed them. On checking later I found no damage to the gate and thought it somewhat strange.
They too came over and just stood still, heads lowered. I had my phone with me & rang our vet, a vet who i trust, a vet who has a rare sensitive understanding of horses, so kind sensitive, he informed me that he was working and might not be able to come out until later, yet arrived after about twenty minutes. I later realised that he must have left immediately on completion of our telephone conversation. I was still with Kumar when I heard his van drive across the field. He thoroughly checked for vital signs and struggle or injury but found nothing either on the body or in the immediate environment. He said it was as if he just lay down and fell into a permanent sleep which confirmed my own thoughts on the matter.
We left the horses standing over Kumar in the field as this felt like the appropriate and respectful thing to do.
My husband and I went to say our final farewells later that evening. As we approached the group they stood over Kumar gazing at the body with lowered heads. We stood a little way off watching when suddenly Honey took off from a standstill and began to gallop with increasing and seemingly impossible speed in a huge circle around the foal and the others. It appeared that she completed three circles to the right and then to the left and repeated the process again at least once. Simultaneously she seemed to be looking upward. Harsa attempted to follow without success in what appeared to be a ritualistic funereal dance. Honey eventually galloped to the north side of the field and stood still for one to two minutes. She galloped directly to the south side of the field, stopped flared her nostrils numerous times and then returned to the spot and resumed her standing position with lowered head over Kumar's body. We waited for a short period of time and then left them.
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