Monday, July 20, 2009

Going back to the past

I had a strange thing happen to me this weekend. I will try to give you some of the background.

Years ago, I kept my horse at my aunt’s barn. She has a rental stables. I trained one of her horses for her, and in exchange for my work, she allowed me to breed her. That is how I got Mingo. Right about weaning time, she offered to buy him, and I turned her down. The following week, she kicked us out of her stables. We don’t know why, for sure, but I always felt she was upset she didn’t get Mingo.

Since then, we have returned to speaking terms, but we try to avoid contact with her. We simply don’t’ trust her and don’t like her. Life is too short to spend time with people you don’t trust—even if they are family.

She is a self-professed witch. I’m not kidding. We always joked that all of Mingo’s hoof abscesses were caused by her—that she had a black horse voodoo doll, and she stuck pins into it’s feet. The last 2 abscesses that he got at the same time in different feet happened just a couple days after my boyfriend talked to her at the horse show and told her I was out riding Mingo. Coincidence? Even we were starting to believe our running joke.

She still does rentals. Yesterday, I was riding when I saw a fellow that works there. He’s the same guy we saw all the motorcycles with last month. Over the years, he has become a friend. He is still fairly new at horses. He used to rent out a horse every week, but now he takes out the trail rides and cleans stalls in exchange for riding privileges. This man loves horses so much.

He asked me if I would do him a favor. There was an unplanned trail ride at noon, and he was by himself. He had to use a horse that they don’t use often, and he has a horrible time bridling him. He asked if I would come over and help.

How could I say no? I didn’t want to step a foot on her property and certainly didn’t want to see her! Still, when I finished my ride, I drove over. I hid in the barn which is behind the house by a few hundred feet. My aunt is so unpredictable. She could come out screaming or welcome me like a long-lost relative.

He was finishing the saddling and was waiting for the customers to arrive. I helped him bridle the horses, and then we got to the problem horse. I was going to bridle him in his stall. Sure enough, as soon as I got the reins over his head, the horse spun wildly about the stall. I got him in a corner, and he stood quietly. I tried to bridle him, and he did fuss about, but within 30 seconds, I had the bit lined up with his lips, stuck my thumb into his mouth and had success. I slipped him a peppermint to make it a nicer experience.

My friend was in awe. Fortunately, Mingo will give me trouble at times if he wants to eat his hay and I want to bridle him. This horse was no worse than Mingo on a bad day (except for the spinning.)

I had to help get the horses down the drive, as the last horse in line liked to turn and go home. This meant walking right past the house. I hoped I wouldn’t see my aunt. I held my breath and made it through. Probably she knew I was there and wanted to avoid me, too. They left, I hopped in my car and got out as fast as I could!

The place has become so rundown, that I was ashamed of it. Boards off fences, boards missing in the stalls, holes in the walls…I did see Mingo’s mother. She has really aged. She is the same age as Cruiser, but looks so much older. I think Cruiser looks so good because I have always kept him in top shape. She acted like her old self, though, and completely ignored me. She never had much personality—something Mingo more than made up for. If Mingo had her personality, I don’t think I would have kept him. He loves people and seems to prefer them to horses, at times.

All the horses looked fat and healthy, at least.

I am hoping that if there is a curse on my little Mingo, that my good deed was enough to break it. Believe me, it was as very hard thing for me to do, to go back…

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