I caught my breath. I wasn’t hurt, just scraped up and dirty. No one had seen what had happened. The barn was quiet. Horses nearby were grazing calmly. I could hear the ducks on the lake and a tractor in the distance. The giant eucalyptus surrounding the paddock whispered their tree noises. I stood there, watching
The paddock was maybe a quarter mile from the barn. There were horses turned out on two sides. He could see them. He didnt care. He was on grass. He didn’t want it. He had no interest in either. He was trotting the fence line, head raised, back and forth, back and forth. He wasn’t calling, or racing around. He had that same staring in to space look he always had. He would get to the end, turn, go back, turn. A metronome of stress. There was such a strange, helpless, inward repetition to it. It was sick and mindless. It was heartbreaking, and I hated it for him.
And so standing there watching him do his horsey version of head banging, I knew I could never send him back. Lisa had loved him and had done what she could for him, and trusted me enough to sell him to me, but his previous people, and the practices of the performance world, had done this to him. Either I could reach him, and help him, or I would put him down. No horse should have to live in such a closed off world. I would do what I could to alter the course that his humans had put him on, or I would set him free from it.