I'm not the man they think I am at home.
Finally, the wait is over. I know for my non-equine friends this kind of obsessive behavior about horses is senseless. They are giant, heavy, deadly, frightening, smelly horses. As I always say to my friends, consider yourself lucky that you feel this way. You will never throw good money after bad, you will never pine for an animal, you will never wonder exactly how to get that dirt out from under your fingernails from scratching their withers for too long.
You will never spend the past three years that I spent doing anything and everything I could to just be around somebody else's horse, vainly hoping it would be enough.
You will never throw down the cold hard cash that I just did to lease a horse.
Yes! You can lease horses, the way you lease a car. That is how I came to have Murphy, my halflinger gelding in Virginia that I rode at Mannassas Battlefield the summer of 2009. You don't pay for feed, vet bills, farriers or equipment. It's a good gig.
I finally found a weathered but friendly barn not 6 minutes from my house in Lehi, and they are leasing this peach to me one day a week:
Her name is Bailey, which I have already altered to call her Bay Leaf, for she is the rich smokey flavor to the soup of life.
She is old. 20 years or so, which in human years would put her at about the age where you get to start collecting Social Security. She is the dependable girl in the barn-the one they can put all their beginners on, or that a mid-twenties girl can use to get her sea-legs back. I feel sore about adding to her roster when she is already the apple of many beginner's eyes. But we had a lovely ride, and I asked her humbly if she wouldn't mind dragging me around for awhile, too.
Her liquid brown eyes are among the kindest I've ever seen, and she seemed to hold no judgement against me for asking this favor of her. A tender horse is easy to spot, and she's one. She was quick to trust and let me scratch her good spots, rub her eyes, and fall asleep while I brushed her out. The hour I spent at the barn this week was probably the clearest and happiest I've had in years.
And as I drove out, this is what I saw:
It was better than the Shenandoahs; as if the heavens themselves were glad to see the silly girl had found her way home.
Also, Rocketman by Elton John is probably one of the greatest songs ever.