Of Whips and Horses

A taxi driver I met in Santiago, Dominican Republic, told me a poignant story as we passed a scrawny horse trotting along with a carriage in tow.  

During better times, in the countryside where he lived just outside of town, he and his family had had a horse of their own.  His land provided sufficient space for the horse to be pastured, and the surrounding hills allowed for recreational rides on weekends.  The horse was much beloved by all, but particularly by his children.  

As fate would have it, their fortunes declined and, unable to purchase feed and veterinary care for the animal, he sold it to a man he believed would provide a good home.  A couple of years later, by chance, he spotted his former equine in the city.  Now thin, being forcibly driven forward by the whip of an unsympathetic coachman, it pulled a carriage with happy young lovers out for a promenade.  Heartbroken himself to see the state of his old companion, he never told his children what he had witnessed, but allowed them to believe that their four-legged friend was still in the country, enjoying the sun and grass.

This image was taken a world away - in Ethiopia - but the animal appears to be destined to a fate similar to that of the horse described.