Dreams Come True

Yesterday dawned a bright, cloudless day. A shallow dusting of snow from the night before covered the lawn and driveway. The sun would be deceiving, if you hadn’t looked at a weather report in recent days — it was bitterly cold, with a wind that took your breath away. All in all, a typical New England winter day. Normally, I despise anything that forces me out into such weather. I am a self-declared cold wuss.

Yesterday was an exception. I got of out bed that morning and didn’t even notice the cold as it nipped at my toes. I was going to get my horse and there wasn’t a damn thing that could bring me down.

I got myself ready and threw a bag together, as I was not going to be driving back and forth to the barn all weekend if I could help it. Image is stabled a good hour away from where I live, and I was hoping to find some poor, unsuspecting soul to put up with me for the evening so I could be at the barn bright and early Sunday morning. Shortly after making sure I had all the essentials packed (which included Castle DVDs and my laptop…hah!), I started loading my car. Not too long ago, I moved my entire tack collection out of L’s barn. I honestly didn’t think that I’d be back often enough to warrant taking up so much space in her tack room. Of course, when I decided to board Image there, I sighed internally…now I had to move everything back. So, I packed up my saddle and various other important things into the backseat of my Chevy, and made my way to New Hampshire.

L’s father G, and his girlfriend E, were kind enough to offer to trailer Image to L’s. It took us a little while to get organized, and it took us a little longer to get to B’s (courtesy of me not knowing my right from my left very well…ahem), but we eventually got our act together and arrive at B’s no worse for the wear.

B was, as I expected, a little quiet and downtrodden. I know that my excitement was so strong that it was probably a tangible being I was carrying on my shoulders, but B was about to watch a part of her heart get trailered away. I know she believes in both of us, but I was — and am — empathetic with her feelings.

G and E stood up by the trailer as B and I went down to the barn. Image’s bright blue halter and lead line dangled from my hands. She opened the gate to the paddock, and I went and got my horse.

He stood under a tree, his ears pricked and eyes soft. His halter was already on, and after feeding him a cookie, I snapped the line into place. A quick halter change later, and the bright blue of his new halter popped against his dark coat. I lead him out the barn door, and towards the trailer…towards the start of something completely different for both of us.

He quietly hopped on the trailer amidst the calls from his Appaloosa pasture mate without a second glance. A few hugs later, and I was waving to B as we headed down the road. It was about 30 seconds later that I burst into tears. I felt a bit stupid, but the emotions whirling around got the better of me. They were happy tears, mostly. I tried not to think about it much, but it really hurt my heart to know that my mother — my biggest cheerleader growing up, even though horses were definitely not her “thing” — wasn’t here to see this. So, combine all of that together…and, well, kaboom. I got over it relatively quickly and spent the rest of the drive watching the back of the trailer like a hawk.

I barely remembered to shut my car off when we got to the barn. Then, I nearly did a face plant when I hit a patch of ice in my haste to make it over to the trailer. Thankfully, I managed to keep myself together long enough to unload Image…who, again, did not put a hoof wrong. He looked around, his nostrils flared and ears pricked, but didn’t seem truly upset. The gears were working in his head, though — the confusion was mirrored plainly in his eyes. I tangled my fingers in his mane, and he tipped an ear towards me as I told him that things were okay.

We turned Image out with a chestnut gelding named Austin. From there, there was quite a bit of mare-like squealing from my very stout, manly looking gelding. It lasted for maybe ten minutes, before Austin and Image were tentatively sharing a hay pile. The goofier horses in the front paddock jostled for position along the fence line to stare down the newbie, in hopes of enticing him to come say hello. I ducked out of he paddock to go unload my car and get ready to head to G and E’s house to spend the night.

Austin and Image making nice.

Shortly before I left, I picked my way across the paddock again to take Image’s halter off, and say good night. Before I had even latched the gate behind me, I felt his muzzle on my cheek. He stood in front of me with a sweet, inquisitive expression on his face. After sliding his halter off, I spent a few minutes rubbing circles on his neck, laughing at the way his lips twitched in pleasure. My phone buzzed in my pocket, and I took it out to answer the awaiting text…except, I suddenly has a black and white nose reaching towards the source of the odd buzzing noise. I couldn’t help but laugh as he inspected my iPhone, his whiskers tickling my hand.

Goofball pony inspects loud buzzing object.

It took some self-control, but I finally decided it was time to leave before my nose fell off due to frostbite. I kissed his nose one last time, promised to see him tomorrow, and turned to leave. I was a bit shocked (and charmed!) to realize that he was following me, his nose level with my shoulder. I couldn’t resist kissing said nose about ten more times before leaving the paddock. I made it to the far gate when I heard a nicker from behind me. Incredulous, I turned around — he was standing at the fence, his ears and eyes trained on me, watching me go.
Damn horse has me wrapped around his hoof already.
I spent the evening at G and E’s drinking a little too much wine and laughing with them. I could not wipe the smile off my face. It has taken me 22 years, but I have made my own dreams a reality. There was a little black horse in a paddock not too far away that was mine — and, more importantly, I am his. It is a glorious, surreal feeling that hits me at odd moments. 
Tomorrow, I’ll detail the discoveries I’ve made about him in just a few, uninterrupted hours of interacting with him today. As for right now, I am going to bury myself under the covers and try and sleep, because the cold I thought I had expertly (hah) avoided last week may be making an appearance now…

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