Dear Departed Dollar
My dad bought him seventeen years ago, when he and my stepmother moved to Scotland from Manchester. The lady they bought Dollar off ran a riding school, and wanted to sell him because his temperament was not appropriate for her pupils. He was a very strong-minded horse, and he really didn’t like having nervous riders on his back. I am not a horse rider – I can count the number of times I’ve been on the back of a horse on the fingers of one hand, and I’ve never had lessons. And I’m very nervous when I’m up there. All I can think about is what a long way down to the ground it is. I tried riding Dollar once, but he knew I was nervous and acted on it. I never tried again. With my dad, Dollar knew who was boss, and my dad rode him a lot. The remote Scottish island my dad and stepmother live on only has one taxi, and the nearest pub is rather a long walk. So my dad would ride Dollar down to the pub and back when he fancied a few drinks – there are no laws against riding a horse under the influence, after all. The horse has a mind of his own, and knows how to get home.
But Dollar got too old to be a riding horse a while ago, and for the last few years he has been enjoying his retirement, doing nothing more strenous than ambling about his field eating grass.
He was a horse with personality. He loved carrots. He loved company. He was free to roam the confines of my dad’s land, and though he was normally happy to stay in his field, if he felt he had been ignored for too long, he would pace up and down around the house, peering pointedly in the windows every few minutes as if to say, “hey, I’m still here. Come and talk to me. Give me some carrots.”
But every living thing has a finite life span, and here I say farewell to poor old Dollar. He had a long and happy horsey life, and everyone who met him will miss him.