My stallion Falkenwind
There is a male being in my life who has so far accompanied me for over half of it. In fact he has been with me for 33 years, has 4 legs, lots of spirit and a Trakehner brandmark!
His name is Falkenwind, a son of the stallion Mahagoni, and he is known to those close to him simply as Fritz. Since his birth at 22:30 on 18 May 1985, he has been my talisman, my pride and also – often enough – a source of concern and worry. With his beautiful head, he could almost have passed for an Arab, his large soulful eyes gaze at me with great wisdom – as well sometimes as a sense of roguish mischief. He can read me like a book. When I come from the office, stressed and perhaps a little grumpy, I don’t even need to think about bringing his saddle with me to the stable. He refuses any kind of cooperation with me and seems to say “come down to earth first of all, before you even think about getting onto my back.” I have not fallen off any other horse as often as I have fallen off Fritz. He reacts to any inadequacy with bucking and other expressions of his feelings.
Now, however, we have both grown older and the reactions are not quite as impulsive – nevertheless you can never be completely sure about what is going to happen next. Life with Fritz was certainly never boring, his temperament and his headstrong personality never cease to fascinate me. Furthermore, he is an exceptionally athletic horse who has never let me down. This is why, when he was 6 years old, we began to prepare him for a career as an eventing horse – and then, unfortunately, he had a very serious accident. He got an iron bar stuck in his chest and ripped out his chest muscle whilst trying to free himself. The vet believed he would never be able to move normally again and advised me to have him put down. It was not possible to determine whether an important nerve running into the foreleg was still intact. A look into Fritz’s eyes, however, informed me that putting him down was not an option. On the other hand, the look in the vet’s eyes when I told him about this decision clearly conveyed that he considered me to be completely insane.
The period which followed was long and painful for Fritz, because the wound opened up, festered and simply did not want to heal. The vet said that he had never come across a horse which bore the intense pain as stoically as Fritz. After six months in a clinic, I was able to bring Fritz home again. And after a year I could ride him again, and felt no change in his movements. All that remained was a large and ugly scar, which I stroke affectionately every morning when I feed him and think back over what happened, always experiencing a surge of gratitude that he is still part of my life.
Fritz the Trakehner
When Fritz looks out of his stable he can survey his offspring, which have inherited so much from him, and which he considers to be his own personal herd. He is the main focus of attention and is also fully aware of this. Naturally he has collected some grey hairs and the cracking sound of his joints also sometimes reveals his age. Nevertheless our hacks out into the woods are still an important part of his life. Flying over sand tracks together with him, giving him a free rein as the sunlight filters through the trees creating pretty patterns on the ground, we both feel completely united as one single entity. I can control him simply with my voice and he reacts to the most subtile of aids – how lucky that we understand each other so perfectly! And when we return to the yard, he almost reverts to a four year old, whinnying and ensuring that everyone is fully aware: I am Fritz the Trakehner!