As I sit here watching the leaves blow in the wind, the smell of manure potent flowing through the air catching my every breathe. Trying to bring myself to carry on working but I’m so exhausted, exhausted from the heavy lifting, exhausted from the constant battering my body has to take every day, exhausted from frequent weather changes from the bright sun light on a frosty morning to the hail beating down on my back as I’m walking through the fields in what feels like a 500 miles away. Am I just feeling sorry for myself. I don’t know. All these thoughts crashing through my mind wave after wave, why do I feel like this? Is it just this place? Am I actually fine? god I’m getting worked up, calm down, calm down.
I love what I do really, honestly there’s nothing better than animals, they will always be there for you no matter what. They always say ‘you want a stable relationship get yourself a horse’…… I know shocking joke. Anyway I’ve got a new horse coming in today. Badly beaten apparently strikes out at anyone trying to get close to it, I just hope it’s not going to be one of those that someone thinks can be fixed and it’s head is just to far gone to help put right.
I suddenly here the rickety old motor coming down the gravel track. The neighing and thrashing about. Oh she’s certainly a lively one. Let’s see whether she meets expectations. The old rusty truck was, well used to be a lovely emerald green but it’s older than me and the guy that owns it is ancient and always says “if it mechanically works, it don’t got to look pretty” which I suppose is right after hearing Charity kicking the shite out of the sides sounding like she’s about to burst through at any moment. There’s my queue to move quickly.
“Hi there, is that my next project you got in there?” I said to Trevor as he practically fell out the door. “Well she sure is full of character I’ll give her that has jumped around the whole 3 hour journey, let hope you can right this one I must say, I sure am taking a chance on her. In my opinion she’s a goner. She’s got that look in her eye dear but I’m sure you will find that out soon” Trevor yelled over his sound of engine, he clearly has no faith in me however people like that I love to prove wrong. “Thanks but we shall see she’s got a second chance at life, don’t give up on her yet”
Trevor opened the ramp and there she was. Absolutely stunning. He opened the partition and she jumped off the ramp. Luckily he parked right by the ménage gate. “Let her go! She can’t escape from in there.” I had to shout loud because not only was the engine still running but he also practically deaf, not helpful at a time like this. Trevor finally let her go after trying his damned hardest to keep hold of her. “Look I’m not questioning your horseman ability just horses like that it’s best not to pressure them, she’s clearly not very fond of humans we have to take it slow” Trevor gave me the side eye “yeah yeah, well we shall see whether you can handle it, you get her to come round in 2 weeks or she’s going for meat I’m not wasting money on something that’s not going to give nothing back” he said with a raspy tone like he’s set me up to fail, well I will show him, I will show everyone who has every doubted me. Trevor just got in his truck and drove off, gave me no information whatsoever so here I am with a horse for 2 weeks to get to come round to the fact we humans are not all arse holes or that’s it gone. Thanks. If I wasn't exhausted now I sure as hell am going to be.
I took a stroll up to the ménage where I can get a good look at Charity. Snorting at everything is site, there she was absolutely magnificent black with just a little bit of white on her either side. Her eyes just looked like beads but you could see filled with so much fear. I stood watching her at the fence for a while, changing direction as soon as she got within 20 metres of me. Luckily there was no way she could escape, my ménage was built into a hill so every side was at least 30ft high, she’s have to turn into a mountain goat to get out of here. However this means she will now have to stay in here until I can somehow lead her to a stable….. right there is no time like the present I’ll have to call a friend to help clean the stables whilst I try and work with this mare. I’ll go gather some equipment then head back down.
As I walked backed to the ménage I put all my gear in a wheelbarrow a lot easier to carry and if I bought my quad bike down I’d only startle her some more. Must check everything before I go in; lunge line, lunge whip, saddlepad, roller, saddle, bridle, treats and hay (if I can’t get her in.) Obviously we aren’t trying everything yet but I plan on staying down there with this mare until she comes round like Trevor said I have 2 weeks, if I have to sit down here for 2 weeks straight so be it.
As I turned up at the gate Charity clocked me. She stood completely still looked just like a deer in the headlights, her head looked directly at me stalking my every move, I unbolted the gate, she charged directly for me. I waved my arms in a motion to make myself big “get away” I shouted. “I’m not here to hurt you, I want to help you please!” she stood completely still again, I just realised I am panting, my breathe can be seen on this cold autumnal day, thinking about what should I do next. I took one step she canter off to the corner. Right well at least it’s not at me this time I chuckled to myself. Hmm I am going to go sit on that mounting block in the middle and watch her movement I think. I walked over to the 4 step block carrying my lunge whip just incase she came at me again. She’s very alert eyes flying in all different directions listening for sounds, focused on what I’m doing, listening for my different movements. I’ve really got my work cut out here, why I agree to these things I don’t know. Anyway she’s here I need to give her a chance. With that Charity took a step towards me. I put my hand out to see if she would like to come closer, I had some apple bites in my hand to intice her over. She immediately struck out with her front leg, striking high in the air. Now I can see I need to let her make the first move this is all on her, it’s just a waiting game for me.
Luckily Rosie was up helping on the yard a trusty friend who knew her way around my horses very well, occasionally she would help me out to ride. She worked as a Doctor and never had time to have a horse of her own anymore which as you can see is where I come in. I’m so thankful on her days off she comes and helps me out, mucks out in exchange for a ride which she insists on doing I have never asked. It just so happens I mentioned the type of mare I was getting in and she took some holiday days at work to help me out, some people just know what to do and don’t even need to be asked. I love that, it’s like we are telepathic or something. I began looking through my contacts on my phone to find Rosie’s name and called her rather than moving off my arse. Ring ring “ Yas girl whats up?” she said. “Oh hello stranger, sorry I’ve not come back up, this one’s very complicated. Would you mind turning the lights on for me as it’s pretty dark and maybe bringing me down a rug I can wrap myself in? I think I’m down here for the night.” I asked. “Of course babe but you are totally crazy staying out there all night are you sure you don’t want to just give up until tomorrow?” Rosie said with a kind of sturn voice. “Oh no absolutely not, she needs someone to be there for her, not just leave which is what everyone’s just done to her clearly just dumped her and left. Would you leave the stuff by the gate whatever you do don’t come in and also try and be as quiet as possible she sure is a wild one, Thank you!” I quickly put the phone down before anymore could be said because I knew Rosie would just try and talk me out of staying and I new exactly what I wanted and needed to do here to help gain this mares trust. Charity needs me. In a way I need her aswell I’ve been stuck in my head for too long doing this job I’m on my own all day over thinking, i need to be able to focus all my energy on helping this mare out, we can help each other out.
Charity did not like me on the phone, she spun round and paced backward and forwards up the fence line still keeping her distance. It’s amazing how different things can make horses react.
Now the lights were on her, I could see the marks she had on her backend no wonder she struck out at me obviously been smacked with a whip or some sort or something, I wonder if that was because she wouldn’t “obey” as people say like the half tonne of animal we have right here doesn’t have its own mind and needs to be bloody submissive. I don’t think so. “You don’t break a horse, you come to an understanding” that’s my quote I always go by. You do come to an understanding with them, it’s like people you both agree on something you are going to want to do it right? If your constantly being told what to do against your will, sooner or later you are going to snap? Well here we are with the result of that. I love that as I’m sat here just thinking away she’s watching me, watching my every move analysing me just like I’m analysing her, maybe we both are over thinkers, not great but something to work with for sure!
The beautiful mare flicked her head up her forelock swept over one eye and looked straight at the gate. Wonderful my new blacker is here it must be Rosie. I got up off the block “it’s okay girl, I’m just going to get a few bits I’m coming right back, you will be able to see me at all times” I said as if Charity could understand me. I got up and backed towards the gate slowly just incase she reacted badly and came at me when I wasn’t looking. I reached the gate. Charity let out a huge snort and stood tall. I stood perfectly still. She let her head to the floor and started licking and chewing. A SIGN! A sign of acceptance. Ok I opened the gate reach through felt something warm, Rosie made me a coffee and put me a bacon sandwich with a note “Don’t think i was going to let you be out all night with no food or drink girl” the note said, she is an absolutely blessing she really is. I picked up my stuff and slowly walked back towards my pew, the wooden, splinter ridden mounting block.
I catch Charity looking at me out the corner of her dark eyes, glaring watching my next move. I sit so still eating, drinking my coffee trying to stay warm as the temperature really has dropped now my guess it’s 2 degrees maybe 3. Trying not to make any big sudden movements I wrap myself in the stable rugs. Wrapped in the rugs I find carrots and apples all chopped up into batons. Rosie really is a saint. So I get up and slowly create 3 circles around me of treats in hope the mare will come close to me, close enough to eat the treats she can only keep away for so long. She slowly lowers her head licking and chewing again she is inquisitive and wonders a little close I mean she’s still about 15 metres from me but it was closer that before so I’m making some sort of progress right? I sit back down and wrap myself up in the rugs to warm up and I sit there until morning now moving a muscle just watching very moved made just like the same was being done to me.
THE NEXT DAY
I must have have drifted off because I wake up to the sound of chomping, like it’s close really close in fact. I open my eyes slowing, I can’t see anything infront of me, I don’t want to move because I’m aware of how flighty and how handy this mare is with her legs! So I slowly move my eyes to as far as I can see…. Still nothing. I lift up so slowly and then my head, there she is, THERE SHE IS! Right there looking straight at me. Oh my gosh! She’s stood within a metre eating the apples and carrots I laid down on a circle around me, as much as I am happy I am rather stupid for falling asleep that was very dangerous and I totally should not have done that at all. However she’s here now maybe I should try and get closer, I reached into my pocket to see what treats I had left, ah yes an apple perfect. I extend my arm in hope she moves, her ears flicker front, backwards, sideways. Hmm she’s sussing out what to do. She lets out a little noise and walks to me, to eat the apple. WOW I’m gobsmacked with that I lean forward with my other hand and grab the lead rope she still has attached after Trevor tried to lead her. And just like that I have got her. I just her face and she puts her head on my chest. “It’s okay girl this is your second chance at life, you know what that’s your name it’s not charity, it’s chance.