Sunday I set out to soothe my soul with a quiet ride on NightMare, my remaining horse. It has been years since I have owned only one horse. At first, it felt a bit like losing an eye, when Duetz died. With only Night left, I feared losing her and being blind. As it was, my sight was diminished and constrained to seeing the world from atop one, the perspective narrowed. I needed to see the whole world again. To feel the strength of a partnership.
We headed out to the jump field but my confidence was low; we took a long, slow walk around the perimeter. What if something happened? What if we had a wreck? How could I deal with any more pain? Why not be safe and stay on the trails or in the arena? Two deer ran, startled, ahead of us around one corner. Night calmly took it all in, nary a flinch at the distraction. I kicked it up to a slow canter, her foot-falls strong and sure; she eyed the jumps as we passed them. I took a deep breath and held it as I pointed us to a small vertical over some hay bales. Her ears pricked forward and she flowed ahead, gathering herself and sailing a foot over the obstacle. It felt so good I kept going, pointing her at another and another, until we were sailing around the field, turning, jumping and cantering on.
She would have gone on like that for an hour. I had my nerve back and turned her down the road. We cut through the woods, climbing and descending through the leaves and warm Fall sun. When we hit the dirt road I let her pick the pace. She started slowly, then her muscles bunched and she dipped her head. A full gallop down the road cleared my mind and opened my senses to the world racing past.
Back at the barn, I was cooling her out when Heather drove up the drive, phone to her ear and began hitching up her trailer. I asked if she needed help. The police and animal control officer were on the phone. A horse was found wandering on Route 45. They wanted her to come with her trailer and pick it up. Heather had a rough week and didn’t have any room for another horse. The other concern was what diseases it might bring to the barn. The police agreed to find somewhere else to house it, but needed the truck and trailer for transport. I knew Heather had an appointment so when she asked if I would take her truck and move the horse I agreed.
I pulled off the road to find a group of people surrounding a small Morgan mare. She wasn’t in too bad shape, though her feet were horribly overgrown and her mane was matted with burdock. She was obviously abandoned and hungry yet, she was calm and there was a kind look to her eye. I walked up quietly, took the lead rope and lead her toward the trailer. After a moment of speaking softly to her, she jumped up into the open back of the trailer and lunged at the hay bag. We closed her up and headed down the road to the next town.
I’m not sure the place she ended up was much more luxurious than what she had left, but the people were kind and hurried to secure a paddock and put out fresh hay and water for her. As I left, she nickered to me and dropped her head to eat.
Rescue a horse or be rescued by one. Either way, the day ended well.
I’ve no photos of the “rescue horse” so I will show you the one who rescued me today.