restoring our biblical and constitutional foundations


A Horse Named Cody

 David Alan Black 

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die.” “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

I write this essay in tears. Exactly an hour ago I euthanized my favorite horse. He was 23 years old. For 15 of those years God had loaned him to me.

The vet says it was cancer. When last I rode him a month ago he was fit. Today he was emaciated. For two days he was unable to stand up. It was time.

I would never have had Cody had it not been for a tent trailer. When the boys were growing up we would take long trips during summers and holidays. You know, the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Yellowstone, the California Coast. One year we decided to do some fishing on the Tongue River in Montana.

Late one night we happened upon the town of Cody, Wyoming, where they have a world famous rodeo. We went, I got hooked on horses, and the rest is history. Back in Southern California a neighbor had an “Arab” for sale. Sounded good to me (I had no idea what an Arab was or that it is a most high-spirited breed). They gave me a good deal – said he would never make a cutting horse. They were right. Cody never cut, but he was a great pleasure and dressage horse. How many Arabs do you know that can do a canter pirouette?

He taught my boys to ride. He taught me to ride. I had never been on a horse, so Cody and I learned to ride together. And learn he did. I once took some expensive dressage lessons from a top German rider in Orange County. What I learned I turned around and taught Cody. There was nothing he couldn’t do.

I remember teaching him a difficult move (the side-pass, or something like that). He picked it up in five minutes. I immediately dismounted and walked him back to the barn, where a bucket of oats awaited him. He deserved every reward I gave him.

Cody always knew who was on his back. He gave countless children their first horsy-back ride at our semi-annual student luncheons in California and North Carolina. For them he was gentle. But put an up-start college student on his back who was “gonna show him a few things,” and in seconds she was flat on her back in the arena.

Cody was never boarded. He lived in my back yard from day one and was the first to greet me each morning (who can forget his nicker?). On average, I rode him twice a week. That means, over 15 years, Cody allowed me the pleasure of a ride over 1,500 times. Some people enjoy horses by owning them. I ride.

The tears are still flowing. I know this will pass. But as Ecclesiastes says, there is a time for grieving.

Cody, you were the best horse a man could ever know. We loved you well. We will never forget you.

March 22, 2005

David Alan Black is the editor of If you would like to know more about becoming a follower of King Jesus, please feel free to write Dave.

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