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A Horse Story

>> Saturday, May 15, 2010






It was one of those days when  I decided to take a walk at the corniche. I was on call and had to be around. Dr Hannan is a perfect companion for a walk, because he has a lot many stories to tell. His stories are usually captivating.  The weather was cool and a gentle breeze was blowing. We were immersed in our story when we heard the squeak of tyres  and then, the Police sirens. Ahead of us was  a  U turn, and a crowd had already gathered and many cars stopped on the highway with their hazard lights on. We hastened our pace and reached the scene as well. It was a pathetic scene. A horse was lying on the ground. It was hit by a car at the U turn, The horse had broken his legs, was in agonizing pain and trying to get up on his broken legs, in vain.
Dr Hannan had no hesitation. His  compassion had already worked on him and was visible on his face. He knew some of the policemen at the scene, and they gave a mocking look when Dr Hannan was trying to touch the sick horse. They mockingly asked him in Arabic

“ Since when did you start treating horses, doctor?

Their irony didn’t stop Dr Hannan.  He sat down beside the horse, and gently stroked him, as if to soothe his pain. He examined the horse in no time and declared that both ankles had broken. It had sustained some other external injuries. But the broken legs were obvious. The pain  was visible in the eyes of that animal. It looked at everyone around with painful eyes, asking for help. Its eyes appeared to be searching for some one, I thought he was looking for his master. Soon a young man in sports jacket moved in. He talked to the policemen. Apparently ,he was riding the horse when the event happened. He was looking quite fine. The horse probably went down first and received the jolt, thereby saving his master After satisfying their curiosity, many onlookers had already left. Dr Hannan tried to make a conversation with the owner of the horse. He suggested that they call the veterinary service. Dr Hannan suggested to him that there was an Equine Hospital on the way to Sharjah, and they are probably available. The boy was not much interested and was talking on his mobile. He was calling a pick up or trailer to remove the horse. Dr Hannan asked him what was his plans. 
He was cool in replying.
“ Oh, I just asked some people come and take him to the mountains”
“ To the mountains !! what for?”
“ They will take him there and shoot him to death”
His laborers had already arrived  at the scene.

Dr Haanan appeared shocked and looked pale. He pleaded with the boy in his broken Arabic to save the horse.
“ What is your problem, doctor, he is my horse” was the reply.

I  forcibly took a reluctant  Dr Hannan out of the scene. He was not in the mood  to continue his walk. So we decided to settle down under a tree facing the sea.It was a weekend and the sea side was crowded with families. Children were happily playing on the seesaws. It took some time for him to recover and then we continued our talks. I tried to take him away from the subject,  but he was stuck to horses and we talked about horses and races and  on horse movies and so on. 
To most of us, horses are fascinating.  They are powerful animals and are worth millions. Probably the most expensive animals.  Millions are spent on rearing them and training them to make them in to racing horses. Not all can become race horses. Pedigree, power and  training are all important. Our discussion  wandered around the richest horse race at Dubai and the Derbies. We discussed the pride and glory they bring to their masters, when they win races. The prize money, which are often to the tune of millions of dollars. The horses are transported in air conditioned carriages, and are flown in special flights. Their attendants and trainers are paid more than doctors and the jockeys make millions as well.

But then, at the end, if they are injured or hurt, they are put down.

Later, at home I was feeling uncomfortable about the whole event too. Being doctors, seeing people brought in after accidents are familiar scenes for us. But we don’t practice euthanasia. We don’t think about killing someone if they are badly hurt or sick. 

Someone can argue that prolonged treatments of an injured horse only extends its suffering.But isn't it the same about human? How can someone who was riding the horse just moments before,can cruelly make a decision to kill it, when it is injured?

There are not enough explanations for killing an animal you have love fully brought up.I believe that bringing up an animal is something akin to an adoption. They cant decide on anything and don't have choices.They are at the mercy or cruelty of human.They cant talk or argue for themselves. These animals trust us with everything. Humans have the brains and the capacity for a worldly trait known as compassion. Let us use it.We are able to comprehend others suffering.
It is because of this, that we disgrace ourselves by continuing to inflict suffering on to others while knowing it.


I was also thinking of the paradoxes in life. Every living being has a glorious time, animals and human alike.Bit when that time passes who cares? How easy it is to fall from heights. The glory and honour, all become stories in seconds. There are lessons we have to learn. Life is a challenge.No matter how privileged, successful, rich, pampered, admired or beloved we are, some days are better than others. We hit walls we cant dig under or climb over.


 Ever looked at a seesaw? I mean,seriously looked at it? It is one of the simplest pieces of equipments on the play ground, but one of the most complex to operate. Without the proper balance on each side, the darn thing is useless. Much like a seesaw being weighted down by the big daddy on the play ground..life...without the even weight distribution, or some people call it " an even keel"  can be tilted out of whack.


The concept of a well balanced life,filled with ups and downs, is a simple notion,but some of us find hard to grasp. Too many of us let too many things upset our balance.Instead of being happy and healthy and joyful and blessed, not too up, not too down.

Every aspect of life is a series of ups and downs. You have summer and winter,day and night,work and play. You get a job,and you may lose it. You fall in love and may fall out of it. One day may be full with energy,the other day,you may not get out of bed,being weak and tired.One day you will be in prime health,to be sick on an unexpected day.

Successful people are those who find the silver lining behind every cloud. They have understood that happiness does not depend on their circumstances,but their attitude towards the circumstances. Attitude decides the Altitude.

Once King Solomon,the wisest king ever lived,was asked a question.
The secret for true happiness.
His answer was
" Remember,this will pass away"
He realized the truth of life, and the key to happiness.
Neither happiness,nor sorrow, are permanent.
The path of life is simply a frame of mind.




















3 comments:

Anil P May 17, 2010 at 7:54 AM  

I throughly loved the post and could feel to an extent the pain the both of you must've felt on seeing the horse lying injured so, and the decision its owner took in 'putting it down'.

I feel that "putting a sick or injured animal down' is a convenient excuse to not want to take responsibility for the animal that brought one o much joy when it was fit and healthy.

No animal is allowed its decision in a world governed by humans. They never had a voice and it's strange that we consider it our right to make a decision of 'life and death' on their behalf.

Anonymous,  May 20, 2010 at 4:53 PM  

touching story.

pinky1234 June 24, 2010 at 10:40 PM  

that was really a sad story!! Poor horse maybe wanted to live given a choice....the owner must have thought what use would he have bringing up a limping horse? ....the owner must have been a pathetic fellow!...anyways it was a good message for all of us!

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