A Star fell on me. A September day in 2002, the paint horse named Star ran into my life. His mother, Lilly, accompanied him, but he pranced with an independent bounce and cocked his head towards me when I first saw him, a knowing look in his dark eyes that he was coming, full gallop, into my circle of kin. Did I like him, he asked? Oh, yes, I liked him and as our friendship endured, Star has become my companion of heart.
Star is a big paint horse, standing sixteen-plus hands, weighing about 1,300 lbs. I describe him, jokingly, as the beer wagon horse. His full name is Star Bars Moore, each name carrying champions in his blood. He is gelded and the emasculation probably gentled him, but I sense that even if he had been kept intact, he would have been mostly mannerly towards his keepers and offspring.
He baby-sits. He watched two foals (Fanny and Shiney) grow into yearlings and kept them safe and out of harm. Star would stay with the foals in the pasture and the brushy creek areas, keeping them company on the first weeks of their weaning. The foals grew and challenged him. Star never fought them, but would walk away from their threats, knowing the antics of growing teenagers. I sensed a sadness in Star that his charges went against him when he had protected them.
Star is quiet. It’s natural to be so. I stood in the corral one winter day, looking at horses in the field, when Star walked up quietly behind me and put his head on my shoulder, peering in the same direction. His heavy head fell so lightly on my shoulder it was like the embrace of a friend. We stood there, as young boys often do, chatting about this, about that. I talk to him: Good horse, strong horse, courageous horse. I move away after awhile and he follows me to the gate and when I look back, Star has put his head over the gate and looks at me get in the pickup and drive up the hill to the house. I know in truth that a star is in my barn.