This blog is heading into a trifecta of important dates, starting Saturday with a certain Appaloosa’s twenty-ninth birthday.

Then in mid April comes the second anniversary of Two Old Horses and Me.

In early May, Miss P. turns thirty. And that’s a big birthday for females of all species!

I started writing the blog because I felt drawn to examine my own aging through the lens of my horses and the day-to-day events in the pasture.

Getting older is something that sneaks up on a person, and I realized I didn’t exactly know how to do it.  In countless conversations with friends, one or both of us have commented that in our minds we don’t feel any older. We are perennially in our twenties. It’s the mirror and the functionality of our bodies that tell us something different.

I use Bud and Pepper as my journey companions, my guides. They are going before me and serve beautifully as my consultants on how to age with grace and dignity.

I recently came across a photographer named Isa Leshko who is working on a project where she photographs elderly animals. Her work is raw and compelling and yet tender at the same time. As I look through her images, I feel drawn into the very souls of these old animals.

She came to the project somewhat accidentally. Though I believe in this world, there is little that happens truly by accident.

She had been caring for her aging mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a difficult, painful experience to watch someone you love drift away inch by inch.

When she returned home for a while, she came to know an old blind horse named Petey that was living on a relative’s property. In the Artist’s Statement on her website, she says she was, “mesmerized by this animal and spent the afternoon photographing him. After reviewing my film, I realized I had found a project that would enable me to sift through my feelings around my mother’s illness.”

And that afternoon with Petey began an ongoing project of seeking out elderly animals to photograph. She has found many of her subjects in rescue facilities and animal sanctuaries. With each photograph she has another opportunity to examine her mortality, and face down some of those fears about growing old.

This work resonated strongly with me perhaps because we are undertaking similar explorations – she with photographs and me with stories about my day-to-day life with two old horses.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to go to her website and sit with the images she’s captured. And then come back and leave a comment to let us know what you think.

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