The Shoeless Horse: Episode 2

in Spoken Word/Storytelling by

The Hair- Raising Journey Home

Bonnie barely survived the days between paying the horse vendor part of the money for her dream-come-true and the trip to fetch the animal home. It was torture to go to school. It was torture to go to work. It was a struggle to eat, dress and carry on with her life.

Since both vehicles in the family were inappropriate for the hauling of livestock, it had been a trial to get her father to commit to collecting the horse. Bonnie didn’t have money to rent a truck-there was barely enough for the horse trailer . Her father’s flashy red Ford Galaxy 500 was the closest thing they had to a pickup. When he tired of tormenting his daughter, Bonnie’s dad agreed to get a hitch and tow a horse trailer.

The bright red Galaxy, rigged for the big trek, looked pretty crazy.    Neither parent had a moment’s experience towing a horse trailer, but the whole family piled into the car for the trip- Bonnie’s parents, her little sister and both brothers. This was the first time they’d ventured to the mountains together, and the drive proved to be harrowing.

It was evening by the time the family arrived at the small barn. The pale horse loaded nicely into the trailer, but the car and hitch seemed to be in disagreement.

It got dark almost as soon as they left.

As they drove along the steep and winding highway from Brittania Beach to Horseshoe Bay, the trailer kept swerving precariously from one side of the lane to the other. Bonnie, her eyes glued to the rear window, was terrified the trailer was going to break loose and crash.

 

Somehow, the trailer remained attached to the car as they made their way along the Upper Levels , over the bridge and onto the Barnet Highway. Somehow, they made it safely to their home in Port Moody and parked.

Bonnie held her breath. Was the Precious Cargo hurt? Upset? Panicked?

The unlikely horse transport stopped on the street in front of the house. Bonnie ran to the trailer, almost afraid to look inside. She opened the door, and the horse’s rump was still. His pale hide was dry and warm. She peered into the trailer, and was amazed to see that after the awful winding drive, the horse seemed remarkably calm.

Bonnie slipped into the trailer to the horse’s head, and as the rest of the family watched, gently tugged the animal’s halter. He willingly and carefully backed down the wooden ramp, and then his hooves touched pavement. He stood in the glow of the street light, illuminated as though the moon had dropped him there.

Bonnie flooded with both joy and disbelief.   He was warm, alive and here.

The pale horse shook his glorious mane, squared himself, and suddenly dropped a huge pile of manure. Bonnie’s brothers laughed. Then, before Bonnie could run for a shovel, the little horse did something unforgettable.

He threw his head toward the night sky and neighed like a wild stallion. Four long, clarion calls- loud and unmistakably equine– echoed against eighteen suburban houses and rang up to the stars themselves.

Bonnie’s mother cringed, and as expected, a neighbor yelled out her window, complaining about the noise.

Bonnie was almost oblivious. She was looking at this wonderful, breathing, authentically alive and oh-so-present creature, marvelling.

The truth was, this was not a blueblood horse from a prestigious stable-  he was an unlikely mix of Welsh Pony and Standardbred. His height cast doubt over whether he was actually a horse or a pony. He had a dubious history and had changed homes several times. His elegantly black-lined eyes were of two different colours- and he was known to misbehave.

Since Grade Two, Bonnie had read everything she could about both dogs and horses, two exciting creatures who charmed her. She’d been around riding stables now and then – so she had an inkling of some of the perils of horse companionship.

She’d read How To books. It was in one of those books she’d seen the advice to pick up a horse’s hooves before you buy it. The book had also advised a Veterinarian checkup. That was expensive, so Bonnie decided she and her friend Leah could tell if the horse was healthy.

Bonnie was a teenage fool. She believed this pale animal was her fantasy pet, a spirit guide to a world of happy adventure she’d believed in since she was three.

As time went on, it became clear that Bonnie had been right about some things, and wrong about others. The little moonlight horse was healthy in most ways, but full of surprises.

 

 

 

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