Ode to Khoura

Julie Kenney is a Best Horse Practices Summit board member and runs Blackberry Farm in Harpswell, Maine. She writes of her horse Khoura in this thoughtful, heartfelt poem:


Your chestnut coat shines

Under the bright morning sun

Beside me, your excitement is palpable

At rejoining the herd


A springing jog carries you along

To your closest friends

Who touch noses with you to confirm

All is well


Warm, sunshiny ground

Beckons for a nap

The arthritic body eases down

Safe amongst your herd, you would not arise again


Each horse came

A gentle touch, to breathe you in

To say goodbye in a language

Only understood between yourselves


The sun slipped below the tree line

Slowly my palm stroked your warm coat

Whispering my love for you

As the vet assisted your final exhale


We are caretakers

Of God’s beautiful creatures

Goodbyes are infinitely harder

Than hellos


Overnight, the herd stood sentinel

Morning slipped in

They watched silently

As your body was lifted and carried away


To a little forest clearing

Prepared for you

Unencumbered by man-made trappings

You complete a circle


Your soul

Lives in memories

Your body

Nourishes ferns and wild grasses


In that wooded glade

Protection for white-tailed spring fawns

Where wild turkeys

Pluck seed heads in mid-summer


Remembering brings

Sadness and joy

Smiles and tears

Most of all, it brings love


For a sweet, red-haired mare

Who asked for gentleness in life

And received it also in death

It was the very least her human family could do


Khouramia “Khoura”

5/20/1988 – 3/16/2020


~ Julie Kenney


Posted in BestHorsePractices Summit, Horsemen & Women, Reflections and tagged .


  1. This is beautiful Julie. I was blessed to have walked part of Khoura’s journey on this earth. She was blessed to have walked to eternity with you <3 She was a special mare, once she trusted, she would give her whole heart.

  2. This poem blessed my soul. Thank you for sharing such a wonderfully written poem full of tenderness that only horse lovers can understand.

    • Thank you Lisa for your kind words of support. Those of us who have had the privilege of supporting our beloved animals at the end will recognize these words personally. It is never easy, is it

  3. I tear up reading this… I feel the love for your equine companion and the letting go so she could pass peacefully among her herd friends. A very beautiful tribute to her, sweet girl that she was.

  4. Khoura’s soul lives on in your words. I’m saving this poem for when we lose our boys, may it be long from now, but as gentle as your mare’s passing. Thank you.

  5. This is really touching and made me think of every beloved equine that I loved and lost. This poem of your mare is brilliant, I felt like I may have known her too. What a bright and vibrant life she must have had. I bet that is what she felt for you, too. Thanks Julie…this is very special and beautifully portrayed.

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