There was once a ranch on the prairies. Oh, sure—there’s many of them, that’s a very broad descriptor. But for this story, you can probably imagine it happening anywhere. It’s that sort of story, one that could be mentioned by anyone and everyone. You’ll all understand.
On that ranch is a horse. In today’s story, that horse is a black and white checkered flag—the finish line, the end of your career, the last thing you’ll see at night, holding a cup of warm tea to your lips as you look out across our ranch at him. His name is Pizzazz, though you’ve started to shorten it to Jazz because the kids have a hard time pronouncing the former without the word piss in it.
A former champion in dressage. He looks back at you, whinnies once, and then looks off to the grass that Is certainly more of a priority to him. You think to yourself that it’d be fine to grow old alongside a guy like him. It’s peaceful. He’s a smooth ride, calm and nurturing, especially for being a stallion. Great around kids, fantastic around cats.
And then the day comes that you need to part with him. Money reasons, your ranch isn’t what it used to be. It hurts because you’re parting with him far earlier than you intended. But it’s better for the both of you—less mouths to feed, and an opportunity for a better, safer place. You sell him to someone who will rehome him for you, pack up your bags, and you’re on the road.
You leave for three years. Twice a year, you wonder where he is. You hope he’s alright.
On the fourth year, you’re driving through that prairie again to visit your family for Christmas. You miss a turn, but you decide to keep going, you’ll just use the next one. And there, you’re passing a beautiful ranch with a checkered flag stallion at the fence. Well, you can’t know for sure that it’s a stallion, but when you lock eyes with him, you know.
You’re doing alright, and he's still the finish line.
Photo by Suzanne Phillips.