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Once upon a time…

Written by: Romana, our special friend and first buyer.
Written about: golden Akhal-Teke stallion Al'Nair.

Important note:
transporting your horse yourself is a one in a lifetime experience, but it's only for really strong people. We didn't know it back in 1999, we were worried about Russian border, but the troubles started after it. Now our Akhal-Tekes are transported to their new homes in Europe only by professionals in horse transportation, knowing all the traps on the way.

Al'Nair in 1999
Al'Nair in 1999.

Once upon a time… a little bit over a year ago, in a far away country about 1,500 kilometres from here… we first met. I had already fallen in love, even before our first encounter. I had pictures of him and some of his friends, and some information on where they had been together. What it was that made me fall in love with him? I do not know. At the time I was not even really aware of it. I guess that is how it should be. For love is the innocent language of the heart and has no reason nor questions. It turned out to be the inevitable. He was of such beauty, of such radiance. The ultimate manifestation of the synthesis between true power and tenderness, between vigour and grace. He was the universe's celebration of high-spirited and free being. It was then and there that without my knowing a seed that kept the promise of a new life was born. A life in which we would share amazing experiences, would get to know, value and respect both each other and ourselves more, and more profoundly. A life in which we would grow, blossom and enjoy, together.

So, anyway, we first met. And I met all of his friends as well. I would stay for a while. In fact I had planned to stay for about a month, to lend a hand and help at the farm. So, we would spend some time together, which I was sure was going to be an unforgettable experience in many respects.

About two weeks later something unexpected happened. A blessing. My answer to the question was 'yes' and the seed burst open…

I believe it was two weeks later that I left. Since I did not speak the language of the people that was so different from any other language I knew and they did not speak mine, I had started to feel somewhat isolated. I was overwhelmed by the intensity of my experiences and by the unexpected blessing and I had trouble not being able to share my emotions and feelings with anyone, given the lack of a common spoken language. Although, I travelled with my dog with whom I communicated through the language of the heart, and in spite of the sudden and close relationship with my new friend, I was on my way back home a bit sooner than originally planned. With a heart filled with warm, happy memories and beautiful, unique experiences. Nevertheless, there also was a little sadness for I had to leave my new pal behind. We would soon meet again though, and would never again have to be separated. Now it was time to arrange all that had to be arranged for him to 'move in' with me and share my home.

Then, finally, over a month later I travelled the 1,500 kilometres again. I was on my way to reunification with my friend. This time it would be forever. When I arrived I noticed quite some things had changed at the farm. He had not, apart from having gained some weight which made him look even better. Neither had our bond. A warm welcome had been prepared for me, and we celebrated my return. I stayed a few days, to take care of some final arrangements. Then the day of our departure had come. We would leave in the early evening, accompanied by some friends who would return after we would have crossed the border. Then, we would be on our own, homeward bound, with yet some 1,200 kilometres ahead. These 1,200 kilometres back home ended up being an Incredible Journey of four long, nerve-wrecking days of which I will spare you the improbable and 'nasty' details. What counts though, is that we made it. With the help of some friends to survive the last episode. Fortunately, my friend appeared not to have suffered from the journey more than having been unable to stretch his legs and to have had to endure an odd new experience. We both had had to endure quite a lot, more than anybody including myself would ever have believed we could take. Looking back at it back home though, I understand the shared experience of this Incredible Journey adventure so full of challenges and obstacles mirrors our mutual devotion, trust and dedication in a way nothing else could ever have done.

Anyway, we were home, my red golden horse and me, together. To live happily ever after. Nothing would ever separate us again and our Never Ending Story of Enchantment had only just begun.

We, a befriended veterinarian who had travelled with us and myself, unloaded the horse, that appeared to be very much at ease and had only suffered a little dehydration as result of the long trip and the stress involved. When he got off the trailer he looked around a little bit and started eating some grass. I walked him on our patio for a while to release the tension in his muscles and the stiffness of his legs. Then I showed him his new home. His 'room with a view' as I referred to it since he has a nice view from his stable. And I took off the travel bandages of his forelegs. He was doing all right, just being very tired. Like me, because I had not slept at all for five days. I guess it is the adrenaline, love and the promise of being home safe and sound that fuelled me these days, for there had not been the slightest moment of fatigue. And now that we were finally home, there was yet too much tension, excitement and emotions to be released to be able to go to bed and rest right away. I just sat down and gave myself some time to fully realise that we made it, after all. Then, about after an hour I called my friends who had helped me solve an unexpected, very nasty situation to let them know we were home safe and sound. In our conversation they shared some information about the situation with me that I had not been aware of until then for they had not mentioned it to me before, fortunately. And I realised that with their help and support and with the battle I had been fighting for twelve hours with capricious and arbitrary authorities some 750 kilometres from home which had been concluded ten hours ago, I had saved the life of my horse. And I collapsed, emotionally. Overwhelmed with terror of the almost consequence of unfair and whimsical human behaviour and by the entire experience. I checked on my horse and enjoyed his company for a while…

So here we are, late November 2000:
Al'Nair, me and my daughter

Over a year has passed since then. And the horse is looking real good and being happy. He has developed his muscles nicely, is strong, much more lively and playful, and more flexible than before. His feet are strong, good, and growing straight now. Our mutual relationship is developing into being a close, little herd of two, based on mutual trust and respect. We have been walking a lot in the surroundings of our farmhouse. We have been walking the nearby building site, the shopping centre, the residential quarters, the wildlife area with its little lake, and the country roads; we got familiar with the famous black and white 'mares' i.e. cows and other horses in meadows we passed, empty lands in wintertime and green (cow) meadows with grass that he was not supposed to eat; we stood up to heavy rain and wind, some black ice and snow; we have passed cars, trucks, agricultural machines, dogs, other horses, bikes, buses, joggers and bicycles; we crossed bridges, pedestrian crossings, steps and even - though I did not mean us to and it was quite a shock to me - a cattle grid; I have built fences for him, because he likes to jump them working free, and we have played together, a lot! And all the time, he has only been on a sagged rope, on a halter, following me in my position of the leading mare. Me being pregnant, the first three months, and some months after my daughter's birth I carried her in a baby carrier and now in baby backpack which she enjoys immensely being at the same height as the horse's head. I think it won't be long anymore before I can start riding him a little bit because his back muscles and hind quarters seem to have gained enough strength to start carrying me for short periods. Carrying a saddle or anything else on his back did not give any problems, he will just have to get used to the extra weight and find a new balance with me on his back. And then… my red golden stallion and me (and my daughter) will get into the world in a new kind of unity and dance our way through the French landscapes instead of the Dutch, for we are about to move. And may be, in time, we'll get packed and saddled and travel from France to Spain…

To be continued ...

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