In the context of the equestrian world, the term “three-year-old” conjures up images of lightening-fast animals flying around an oval track, magnificent hats and minted drinks, “and down the stretch they come.”
In my own horse dad world, “three-year-old” calls back memories of stick-horse rodeos in the den, complete with flag-bearers, precision riders and Marshall Tucker’s “Long Hard Ride” blaring in the background. Innocent. Fun. Cherished. All on video, certain to surface at a rehearsal dinner someday.
My thoughts are heavy now with word of another three-year-old. A child I’ll never meet. A girl on the other side of the world. An innocent one who may or may not even know what a stick horse is.
My guess is she only wanted to play. Or eat, perhaps. Or sleep. Instead, she was trapped in the middle of combating forces. And injured to the point of needing medical attention. Stat!
She was delivered into the capable hands of a compassionate surgeon who I know spared no measure of skill to help her heal. He works on kids all the time – kids whose body armor saves their lives but whose lives will never be the same. Rarely – never? – does he look down to see a three-year-old – a baby really – lying before him on the operating table. This doctor was all business, I know he was. I can imagine him wincing just briefly at the horror of it. And quickly, silently praying for this child. Praying, too, for his own children. Then, his unparalleled training and gifts take over. Sewing on faith, as he puts it. All business.
She received the best possible care, this three-year-old. I pray she knows what a stick horse is. And I pray she will be back on hers soon.