Took last night off from riding, to give Oats a day off, and I got a text from a friend asking if I was heading to the stables. I responded no, and I was immediately wondering what was up…My friends do look to/expect me there on Mondays but won’t text if I’m not, so I knew something was going down.
And it was. It was really bad. Our mutual friend’s horse, who had been recovering from a lameness (from a kick or something. X-rayed and everything, which were clear), had a broken leg.
That is every horse person’s worst nightmare, along with colic, or what I had- when Oats choked and went into shock.
I was stunned. This is her horse, who I have known for 8 years. He is Oaty’s best friend, his horse neighbour, his buddy. He is my friend’s competition partner, her friend, her companion. They had their ups and downs- who doesn’t? But to have this happen, oh man.
Apparently he had a hairline fracture that did not show up on the X-rays, took a funny step, and BOOM! A broken leg. Everyone is just devastated. How terrible. Incidents like this really bring it home to me, to every horse person. Life is so fragile, and can change in an instant. Horses are not the everlasting, sturdy pains in the asses that we so often rely on. They break, sometimes forever.
It reminds me that the time I have with Oats is precious. I have been feeling that way more and more lately. A few months ago I would finish a ride or a lesson, take Oats back up to the crossties, and want to cry- not because I felt unhappy, but because this all felt so fleeting, there are no guarantees. And I want a guarantee. I love him so much, and it feels so tenuous, risky, vulnerable. Like wearing your heart outside your body.
I feel sad as a reflection of what is happening to my friend. I feel lucky because I’m not having to face it myself.