We lost Narrow Escape yesterday afternoon. At age 26, she told us it was her time and was euthanized in a green, grassy pasture on a beautiful spring day in Kentucky.
Narrow Escape was Old Friends’ very first horse, making her in many ways our role model and inspiration. Her owner kindly donated her to Old Friends after a successful broodmare career. Narrow Escape was a lovely, medium-sized bay mare who for a long time lived in a large paddock at Old Friends with her friend and co-conspirator Bonnie’s Poker. The two mares were inseparable, but nevertheless Narrow Escape was the boss. Eventually Cozy Miss and more recently, Hidden Lake joined the little band of mares. Narrow Escape remained in charge, deciding who was allowed into the run-in shed with her and who got the best pile of hay. Naturally, the choicest hay was all hers. She didn’t often come over for treats, preferring to be left alone to graze or nap as the mood took her. Sometimes, though, she came over to pick up some carrots and have her face rubbed. We will all miss her, but I believe Bonnie will miss her most of all.
In one of those quirks of fate, Narrow Escape’s very name was prescient as her sire, the great racehorse Exceller, died in a slaughterhouse in Sweden. Along with Bull inthe Heather, a son of Ferdinand, Narrow Escape became a living reminder of how narrow the line can be for any unwanted animal. In her own gentle way, she also showed us everyday that the old horses have value, even if for no other reason than their beauty, kindness and heart.
A couple of weeks ago, the four mares moved to the new part of the farm, to a large paddock where the grass was green alfalfa and the breeze blew, well-removed from road noise and everyday happenings at the farm. The mares are happy there, with grain, water, good grazing and room to stretch their old legs. It’s the most peaceful part of the farm and on a day like yesterday– with warm sunshine, a gentle breeze and that impossibly green Kentucky grass– you can almost imagine it is a mirror of the place where old horses go when they die. I think Narrow Escape tried it, liked it, and decided it was time to move on to the real thing.