After reading stories on this site for nearly two years, I thought it was time to join up and write down a few experiences of my own for you to hopefully enjoy. It's been a while since I have written things like this down so I hope you won't have too many hassles reading and hopefully enjoying what I have to offer. Thank you in advance.
This story is long and I'm sorry if it is a bit much for a first one, but it's how it has to go.
In 2001, I had been living in the USA for nearly 4 years (born in UK and raised in France). I bought a farm in North Carolina not far from Asheville. I had been living in Atlanta, GA, but the move was needed as my asthma and the city air don't get along very well. After moving into the countryside I decided to purchase a horse or two to ride and maybe show when I wasn't working, as I had been around horses all my life and now had somewhere nice to have one live with me again.
In July that year online I came across a Performance Horse Sale only two hours away from where I lived so I ordered a catalog. When I got it, I signed up for a sale tenure and circled a couple of interesting hopeful buys in the catalog and went along on the day. I was very excited to maybe have a horse in my life again after a break of nearly 5 yrs.
Needless to say it was a good thing I took a hired horse float with me on the day as I found an amazing horse who would become a very special part of my life. Sadly, though, for not as long as I could have wished to have him. That day I came home with a beautiful bright Bay 17hh American Saddlebred Gelding called Lone Flagg Ghengis Khan... Khan for short. He was stunningly handsome, long mane and tail as Saddlebred's have, a tiny white star on his head and two socks on his hind legs. He was already a Champion 5 Gaited Show Horse and Champion Advanced Dressage, but was very quiet and gentle, so much so even small children could ride him unaided. He was a very gentle giant. And at 15 years old he was at a good age for his level of training and experience. I was very lucky.
For the next 7 yrs, on and off most weekends during the show weekend when I wasn't working, Khan and I would be at Shows or Dressage Events. He was so well behaved and loved the attention he would get. Judges loved him as he didn't play up or try to bite them in the line up as many horses did. He didn't try to kick when they had to run their hands over him to check out his conformation. And he loved all their attention. Combined with his natural style and movement, Khan and I won a lot of classes and never finished out of top 3 in others. And he won Grand Champion Gelding no less than 8 times in those seven years. We have so many great photos.
But sadly all good things must come to an end. Khan was retired after his arthritis got too bad in his hind legs as gaited horses often do at age 22 years (old for a horse) after the last of the summer season shows in August 2008. It was sad, but when you see pain in a horse's eyes, you know it's time to go home to the farm and spend the days left resting, growing fat on grass and looking after the other 3 horses we had since acquired. He loved his retirement. And besides the odd light hack out under saddle around the farm, Khan had little to do but be a very handsome paddock ornament.
The winter coming was cold and hard on Khan. And despite being put on Bute for his pain, he had days that he could barely cope. And at the end of November it was decided with 2 top vets' advice, it would be kinder to put Khan to sleep. So, after a big breakfast and a last peppermint treat (he loved those so much) and a last groom, Khan was laid to rest on the 12th of November, 2008 just after 11am, and was buried under the apple trees in his paddock he spent all his home time here with us in. He was buried whole in his favourite rug and halter with a bundle of his favourite lucerne hay and a bag of peppermints. A small stone with his name marks his place.
I thought I would never get over the loss of my best pal. And months later I was still grieving. I would visit his grave and talk to him and place fresh flowers. The other horses missed him too. You would often see them going near the place we buried him with their heads down low and sad. But I didn't think I would ever see him or hear from him again until I passed over myself. And how wrong could I be... I should have known better than that with my gift. And having seen and spoken to many spirits before... That Khan wouldn't try to let me know he was ok.
The first thing was hearing him... I was in the barn feeding and grooming the other horses and getting one ready for a ride when I heard this whinnying coming from outside... All our living horses were in the barn and I could see them all. None of them was making any vocal noises... It happened three more times in quick closeness in time. The other horses looked startled for a second or two. Then they started to whinny back, like horses do when they are friends with whoever the horse is who whinnies first. I went outside the barn thinking a friend of mine who lived nearby with her horses might be riding up on her horse. But no one was around. Outside I heard the noise twice more... It was coming from the area of the apple trees... And that's when the second thing happened. Something I still can't believe to this day. I saw Khan... Looking as real as life and he walked out of the apple trees and when he saw me he took off galloping towards me and the paddock gate the way he always did when he was alive and saw me coming over to see him when he was out in the yard. As he galloped towards me, he looked as real as any living horse. For a few seconds I couldn't believe my eyes. As he got closer he started to fade and disappeared just before he reached the gate. I heard one more whinny than nothing.
I believe he came back to say he was ok. And that he was still around and loved us. I miss him so much but I'm glad he no longer is in pain or suffers... And once and a while I still see him there checking on us... Always in the grove of his trees. Just for a few seconds... Miss you Lone Flagg Ghengis Khan... Khan, my special boy. Always loved and resting in peace. We will meet and ride again my friend... Until then race across the heavens with the other great horses. And remember I love you. R.I.P Khan (1986 - 2008). No better horse one could ever want for to touch my heart. Sleep well.