In Life and Death (ESA) Skip to content

In Life and Death (ESA)

eyglo02_dlI was at the stables the other day. The sun was shining and there was a light breeze. It almost felt like summer. I didn’t have time for a ride but took a walk instead while my granddad’s horses, Frosti and Freyr, were out playing in the paddock.

The weather had prompted others to take part in outdoor activity as well: walking, running, cycling, taking the dog for a walk or going horseback riding.

I noticed that more migratory birds had returned to the Elliðaár area and the vegetation was coming alive, the grass turning greener, the leaves on the trees preparing to open up and bright yellow daffodils lining the path.

As I returned to the stable, the horses had stopped playing but instead stood and stared at something, occasionally letting out a low emotional neigh.

What was up?

I then noticed what had caught their attention: a newborn dark buckskin foal jumping about inside a fence while a photographer, sitting cross-legged in the dirt, tried to take its picture and its mother, standing nearby, cast concerned glances in its direction.

My heart skipped a beat. Foals are the cutest thing with their cotton-like coats, curly mane and tail, soft muzzle and unbeatable curiosity and joy for life.

Foals are an unusual sight in the stable area because they’re usually born outside in pastures where they spend the summer.

I wonder what the old horses were thinking. Were they worried about the foal? Did it remind them of their own youth? Or did Frosti, who has fathered quite a few foals in his time—all of them skewbald like himself—long for his golden days as a stud?

Their reaction to the foal touched me deeply and for a while I stood there in the sun beside them, watching in awe like they did, admiring nature’s miracle. Nothing says summer is near like the breath of new life.

But inside the stable the atmosphere was completely different. The horses were agitated, it seemed, banging the walls with their hooves, neighing loudly.

I didn’t think anything of it at first. There are many stallions in the stable and sometimes they work each other up.

But suddenly I noticed that the stallions weren’t the ones making the most noise but an auburn gelding that had always been calm.

There was obviously something bothering the horse. It was neighing uncontrollably and I imagined that I saw fear in its eyes.

What was going on?

I tried to calm the horse, stroking it and talking to it softly. It seemed to work. Then a man appeared with a pink slip in his hand, looking for the man who runs the stable.

He wasn’t there yet and the man said he would wait. He then explained that he had come to pick up the auburn horse. The horse’s legs were injured and the ailment couldn’t be cured. The owner had decided to put it down.

Could it be that the horse had sensed that it’s time was up?

I voiced my thoughts to the man, expressing my sadness over the horse’s condition and that there was no hope for it.

The man shrugged his shoulders. “That’s life,” he said.

Upon leaving the stable I observed that the foal was still running around inside the fence, giving the photographer a hard time.

It put a smile on my face anew. Fortunately that’s life too.

Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir – [email protected]

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