He stands, head high, gazing into the distance, nostrils flaring to catch the scents on the breeze, ears pricked, tail curled over his back, a faint tremble under his skin, ready to gallop off in a moment. He snorts loudly, challenging, proud, owner of his world.
I call to him and he flicks an ear toward me and then in one flowing movement turns his body back over his hocks and launches himself in my direction, a white, glistening powerhouse of muscle, tendon and sinew, mane and tail flying as his legs stretch across the ground.
I stand my ground and he digs in his hindlegs, sliding to a halt in front of me, towering over me, muscles rippling, wide chest moving as he breathes, neck tall and straight, looking down at me from his impossibly high head, then, blowing gently down into my face, he drops his head and curves his great neck over my shoulder.
He is mine and I his, we are one this white horse and I.
But now he has been called away. His paddock is empty as is the piece of me that was him. I mourn his loss; no other can take his place. He was my white horse, my fairy tale white stallion, dreamed of in youth, reality in life and now memory.
I see him still in my mind’s eye, in my heart and I see him still in the children that he has gifted me, in the sons and daughters that carry his legacy.
Vale, Silver Wind Van Nina, you were mine and I yours, you are gone much too soon. I treasure our time together and keep you in my heart until we meet again.
A head study of the purebred, 100 percent Crabbet, Arabian stallion, Silver Wind Van Nina. Base image taken by Irene Flissinger.
The Silver Stallion is a pen and water colour painting of the purebred Arabian stallion, Silver Wind Van Nina. He was indeed mine and I his. He entered my life when he was seven. I was privileged to be his owner and human companion for twelve years, such a short time. He took me all over Queensland, parts of New South Wales and as far away as Melbourne, strutting his stuff, wowing horseman of all breeds with his conformation and temperament.
He was every inch a stallion and yet, his temperament was that of the fabled horses of Arabia who dwelled with their masters in the family tents. When we moved to Kentville, everyone within hearing distance, knew he'd arrived. He was a very vocal kind of horse. He always nickered when I walked by the backdoor, getting louder when I came outside and started to his stable. Whenever we returned from an outing as soon as the truck rounded the last corner, about a quarter of a kilometer from home, he began to call to his herd, letting them know he was returning triumphant, to them.
It never mattered where he stood in the lineup at the shows we attended, though, more often then not, it was the head of the line, he always attracted fans, who came to visit and look him over, book a service, or simply lay a hand on his silken skin. He was snow white, apparently from quite a young age. His summer coat was so fine one could see his pink mottled skin through it.
To ride him was to ride a V8. He stood 15.1hh and rode as though 16hh with long swinging stride that drove one from the saddle. I did not ride him near enough and I regret that. He moved like a dream, came to hand because he was made to, worked his heart out because he loved to.
He had a great pride for his offspring and loved to scratch and chat with them over the fence. He was a handful at the start of a season but always respectful of his mares. We mostly hand served, sometimes with the mare loose in her paddock and he on a long line, or sometimes hubby held the mare or if I was by myself, she was simply tied up. He loved teasing work so the mares were almost always more than ready to consumate their relationship.
His sons and daughters still surround us, at Comanche Lodge, and his legacy does indeed live on.
The piece is based on an image taken by good friend and highly experienced freelance photographer, Sharon Meyers.