Nope, I'm not talking about horses that spook! At least not this time. I'm talking about the spooky happenings that are fairly common around here. These happenings are related to horses and since Halloween is upon us....
This farm has been here for decades upon decades. Not always in the same form (the house used to be down in a lower field, the barn was much smaller and in a different place at one time). But, it was always a farm. I mean, at least since the time of the establishment of the nearest town. People were born in the old house - so we are talking that it has been a farm for THAT long. I want to research the history of the area itself, specifically things like Civil War times, but I haven't had time to do that yet and it doesn't relate to this post. Nope, this little post is about Prince.
Not THAT Prince, although that too makes me sad still.
So, a long time ago, when the farm was set up a bit different and there was a tiny, old farmhouse here, there was also a little horse named Prince. I'm told he had a black head and a white body. That would have most likely made him a Paint horse, a Tobiano color pattern. Oh, as an aside if you want some great reading on Paint color patterns, something I find incredibly fascinating (and confusing), check out the APHA Color Guide by clicking -
So this little horse lived here. I think at the time that tragedy struck I have heard he was 10 or so. See, unfortunately, the farmhouse burned and the family was without a home. Not being able to afford to rebuild, they moved to town with other family. Not knowing what to do with Prince (remember this is waaayyyy back), they opened the gates in the fields and let him go. Only he didn't go. He stayed right here as a free-range horse for another 7 or so years. People would see him in the fields, they would throw him hay in the winter, bring him apples and carrots. The person that told me the story said that he was found one spring in one of the abandoned barns. He had died over the winter.
Although the story itself makes me sad and angry, the story doesn't end there.
Not long after getting here I noticed things. I would be at the barn working and I would feel like I wasn't alone. I would catch glimpses of "something" out of the corner of my eye but nothing was there. It was bigger than human form so I was sure it was not of us. And on several occasions I have heard a horse "blow" behind me (this is when they exhale a little puff of air - they do it in greeting sometimes or just as a long sigh) and when I turn around expecting to see our horses in the run-in, there is no one there. A quick check outside will verify they are all the way out in the big field. I will hear a horse paw at the ground sometimes, or just feel an equine presence.
All of these oddities are what led me to ask about the history of the place and also led me to the story of Prince. No doubt there are other horses here, long forgotten and in the earth. On horse farms there is a standard operating procedure of burying horses that have died of old age or tragedy right there on the farm. There are no "horse cemeteries" and from a practical standpoint, it is best to get something that big taken care of so that predators and scavengers are not alerted to it. Given that this farm at one time was also a breeding farm for Arabians, there are likely more horse spirits wandering these fields.
I like to think that when I hear Prince behind me or glimpse him out of the corner of my eye, he is just hanging out and checking out what I'm doing. I like to think he is happy there are horses here again and that someone is taking care of the place. I'll put some apples and carrots out in the field for him tomorrow night, because I'm sure he'll be prancing around while the veil is thin, a free-roaming spirit horse that would not leave his home, even when presented with the option to do so.
In Loving Memory
...of the first horse to hold my heart