My old horse, Little Henry, has had a fall.

I don’t want to alarm you – he’s going to be OK, but for a while there, things looked pretty bleak.

Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at

Henry is a funny old thing. Born and bred down in Florida to be a racehorse, his bloodlines are pretty impressive – he traces back to Northern Dancer, thank you very much – but his career was not. The poor guy had 19 starts and never placed.

I don’t know how familiar you are with the world of horse racing but small, poorly built horses that don’t win usually don’t have happy endings.

Lucky for him, he caught the eye of a rescue at the same time as I happened to be in need of a companion horse. They went and got him and shipped him to me. Even though he was young, he was battered and the hope was that I could give him “a few good years.” That was in 1998.

He’s been a champion for me.


Mind you, he has not been what most people would think of as “good.” No. Henry is cranky, determined, opinionated and rude. In his younger years he was quick to let a hoof fly and he even once chased a vet up a tree. True story.

His nickname in the barn is The Grand Inquisitor, and when he hears us call him that, he smiles. And yet, he is also everybody’s favorite. Everyone loves Henry.

I also don’t know how familiar you are with the world of horse injuries, but falls aren’t good.

The first I knew there was a problem was when he refused to come for breakfast. Rather than join the gang coming in from the paddock, he simply stood and looked at me morosely. When I finally coaxed him to the barn, he moved slow, slow, slow, dragging one hind leg behind him. Not good.

The vet came out and the prognosis was grim.

Over the next few days, I freshened his stall, gave him his meds, made sure he had hay, applied ice packs and kept him as quiet as I could. And, amazingly enough, he is healing.


Granted, he is not fully himself yet, but it seems to me that very soon he will once again be making my life difficult in all the old, familiar ways. Very good.

When I was younger, I was full-bent on saving the world. I threw myself against all that I saw as unfair. As I’ve grown older, I have come to realize, first with a sense of overwhelming grief and then eventually with a sort of relief, I can’t. It is beyond me. Not everything is mine to solve.

There are atrocities against which I am powerless, wrongs I am unable to right, heartaches I cannot stop. But there are a few things I can.

I am not foolish, nor unaware. Henry is old. I know I can’t make it OK forever. What I can do is make it better for today, and I will take every day there is because what else can we do in this life but embrace every day that is given to us, and cherish the ones we love while we have them?

I suppose that’s the challenge of life: to recognize those moments that are ours and show up for them, even when it feels nowhere near enough. To keep loving despite the anger that surrounds us, to keep laughing despite the heartbreaks, to keep making art in the face of brutality. That’s the thing we all must come to understand.

Love is such a gift and I am grateful for it in all its forms.

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