Mar 6, 2012

The Lost Boy

I got to the barn earlier than usual the next day, a little afraid of what I might find. Troubling visions had disturbed my sleep. Had he screamed his brains out and kept the whole neighborhood awake? Had he continued to try to climb over the stall door? Had he succeeded and run wild through the property all night? Worse, had he gotten *half way* over, and hung there, half in, half out?

I brushed these unproductive visions from my mind and hurried to the barn aisle. It was early, no one was around. All was quiet; he had either given up or the barn help had shot him. As I walked toward his stall my horses whickered the usual good morning hello. I saw ten horsey heads hanging out over ten stall doors. Hmmm. 10? But I now had 11 horses. No new chestnut head hanging over the door. Ruh-roh.

I stopped outside his door, peeked around quietly, and whew! There he was, standing, head low and in the corner. Relief!!  Upright and apparently in one piece! I watched him for a moment. He had a hind leg cocked, relaxed, breathing slowly and quietly.  He had survived!

‘Hey Mr. B” I said softly and put my hand on the latch. No movement.

‘Hey Big Guy’ I murmured as I quietly entered the stall. The deep breathing continued. He was out cold. Fast asleep. Aw, exhausted from his shenanigans the day before, bless him.

“Mister Bee-eee’ I said again, reached out, and touched him on the hip.

Well, if I said he jumped straight into the air it would not fully capture the extent of his exploding levitation  If I had taken a cattle prod and zapped him out of sound sleep it could not have produced a more dramatic reaction than had  my quiet hand on his butt.

I was so startled at his reaction that *I* tripped backwards in the deep shavings and fell back against the stall wall with a crash. Naturally, this gave his fright the validation it needed and up he went again in a repeat of yesterday's climbing the wall.  He had turned to look at what had TOUCHED HIM, eyes bugging out of his head, so he wasn’t quite up to the job but he was a desperate horse in a desperate situation and he was outta there.

I'm a firm believer in discretion being the greater part of valor so I stuffed my heart back into my chest and exited promptly. Bryan continued his frantic climb. He didn’t seem to even realize I was gone. But then after a moment he was back at the stall door, in a repeat of the day before, eyes wild, looking beyond his world, pacing, and calling. 

I stood there. He didn’t even seem to see me. I put my hand up. I tried to touch him. I cooed. I shushed, I called his name, I talked to him. No response. He wouldn’t look at me. *He didn’t see me*.

My new horse was in a world of his own, and it was a deeply distressed one.

I watched him for a few minutes, and did what any new owner would do while contemplating her new horse.

I started to cry. Not hard, no wails. Just some quiet tears and a few sniffles into my sweatshirt.

Man. Man! My new horse was a freak. Good grief. Great. Great! Any happy fantasies of fixing this horse had vanished. I took out my phone to call Lisa to come get him. Lisa is a sweet girl, a dear friend, and I knew would take him back no questions asked. She loved me. She trusted me. She was sure if anybody could fix Bryan, I could. She had total faith in me.


But Lisa! I said to her in my mind. He was a a whackjob! He was totally crazy!. It wasn’t worth it. I had been over confident in what I could deal with, and cocky. I should never have offered to take him. I should have left well enough alone. I knew he’d be a project but I never thought he’d be so completely off the wall.

I knew she’d be crushed. I was, too.

I called her.

I got her voice mail.


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