Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: February 2022

The Project:

Horses from many walks of life, communication through body language, tools used only for safety, never to train.

The Goal:

To discover how far Equestrian Art can be developed solely using body language.

Goodbye to Myrnah

The voice echoed in my ears through the phone.

“Elsa, you have to come to the pasture right now.”


It was a tone of voice that wasn’t to be questioned, there was no time.

I didn’t know what was wrong, only that my feet were moving to the truck as I replied,

“I am on my way”


As I bumped down the long dirt road between my house and the pastures in the valley, I braced myself for what I might find. I calmed my mind, ready for my part in soothing horses or humans or dogs or whatever member of my community I might find there in the kind of desperate chaos that leads to the voice I had heard on the phone.


Candace met me at the gate.

“It’s Myrnah, she is gone.”


My thoughts tumbled around each other, where had Myrnah gone to? Had she gone on a walk about? I was missing something here, this tone of voice readied me for blood and pain and chaos and vets and so many reasons to hold steady as a rock for everyone I loved… but there was none of that.


As we came around the corner of the shed there was Myrnah, but not Myrnah.


There wasn’t a mark on her, the wisps of hay on the ground lay perfectly around her where they had fallen gently over weeks and months of normal wintertime living. Myrnah evidently had died suddenly, simply falling over where she stood.


Without drama or chaos, from life to death in a heartbeat.


The day before I had spent hours with her, grooming her fur and marveling at the bubble of contentment that could hold us in its arms so effortlessly. We were happy and then the next day she was gone.


Cleo and Azul were eating hay in the other shed, clearly they had said their goodbyes to Myrnah already and had moved on to supper. Cleo allowed me to hug her massive neck fiercely as I cried those undeniable tears of disbelief. The steady calming rhythm of her chewing a thread of reality for me to focus on.


The hours, days and honestly weeks that followed were a blur for me. I felt I must carry on with all the practical aspects of life with as much grace as Myrnah had. I must follow her example living in the moment, each moment as it was given to me.


Life and death are simple, the feelings that weave us together are not.

I said goodbye to my Mother last May, my beautiful shadow of a dog Breeze in June, my life long horse partner Zohari in September and now Myrnah, the mare that changed my entire life, in February.


I felt empty without them. I also felt stretched beyond anything I had ever been as I held their essences within me. I carry forward their memories, their stories, their beauty. This isn’t a choice, this is simply reality.


I am not alone in this. I know many of you reading this carry the grief with me. I know you all will help me carry Myrnah’s stories forward into the world.


I also have my horses, here for me in the gritty hour by hour process of learning to live on.

Ari is a rock, squaring his hooves and leaning into me as I lean into him. No matter how many times a night I leave my bed to find him and whisper my fingers through his fur for reassurance, he is there for me. His big deep breaths remind me to breathe myself; his soft nicker lets me know we are in this together.

Atlas too shares his breath with me, as time and again his nose reaches out. He isn’t brave like Ari, but he is kinder than all of us put together. Atlas will give everything he has for his friends, and when he has nothing left to give he will dig deeper and give anyway.

Occasio reminds us all to laugh, because laughter is a feeling too. Occasio lives to feel his senses in concert with the world around him. When I am not sure I can bear to feel anything more, Occasio lends me his sense of the world and together with him I feel things as he does.


Raam was my mother’s horse and now he is here with me.

Raam knew Breeze well as he shadowed us all.

Raam was Zohari’s best friend for 22 years before Zohari left us.

Raam was Myrnah’s emotional twin in the herd for all of her time here on San Juan Island.


Together Raam and I hold these memories.


Together Raam and I now travel the woods and the hills we knew with them.

Hooves and Heartbeats,