When Jack the horse was a baby, he flipped over backwards on the crossties, splitting open his head and probably damaging his brain in the process. He was also gorgeous, an amazing horse, accept for his eyes, the most telling feature on a horse. Jack had one eye that was lazy, which in a horse is something to see. That one lazy eye, I called it his crazy eye, I called him Crazy Eyed Jack, trying to laugh it off. Jack could be a perfect gentleman, but the problem was that when he flipped out, it came without warning or provocation. Because he was brain damaged, he wasn’t just a baby, he was actually fucking brain damaged, I was sure of it. When I returned from a long weekend visiting my sister in DC, Elizabeth told me to longe him before I got on, he hadn’t been ridden since I left. Of course he hadn’t, why would he, why would anyone bother to ride that horse other than me, because I had to, because it was my job? As soon as I let the longe line out and encouraged Jack to go, he galloped and ripped the longe line from my hand. Fucking crazy horse. I managed to hold on, but the line had already burned right through my glove and into my hand, as well as possibly breaking one of my fingers. I didn’t mind breaking things, it came with the territory, but the fact that Jack was the one doing it made me simultaneously pissed and terrified. Digging my heels into the ground to prevent being dragged any further, I sharply pulled back and leveraged the rest of the line with my left and unhurt hand. I could feel Elizabeth staring me down, judging me based on how I reacted, and I wondered if her inner monologue was as slurred as her speech was when she was drunk at night endlessly talking in circles. I managed to regain control, and Jack began to canter at a regular pace around me, throwing in a buck or a prop every once in a while, of course, completely out of no place. How had I gotten myself into this prison on the eastern shore of Maryland? After twenty or so minutes, Elizabeth said that was enough, I could probably get on him now, he would be easier once I was on him. Fuck. I reigned him in slowly and took of the longe line, dropping it on the ground by a standard and tightening up the girth before running down my stirrups and walking to the mounting block. I could feel my right hand, now a little swollen, pulsing with my heartbeat; it was crazy fast. I mounted up, found my other stirrup, and gently lowered myself into the saddle, asking Jack to walk forward while I gathered up the reigns. Fuck. Jack walked quietly away, trotted quietly when I asked, collected, bent to the inside, bent to the outside, circled, and did everything just as a talented young horse should. I was a horsewoman after all, I was what I always wanted to be. At the canter, to the left, Jack suddenly propped and spun, catching me off guard enough for me to lose my center, but not enough to unseat me, and I immediately sent him forward and straight, forward and straight being not only the safest course of action, but also the building block for all other work. Fuck, keep it together, you’re fine, he didn’t do anything babies don’t usually do. Elizabeth told me to canter for fifteen more minutes, she was heading back to the barn for Daisy. I seethed, not believing that I went from managing George Morris’s own operation to riding crazy eyed jack in the middle of noplace Maryland. Fifteen minutes later, though, Jack was still well behaved and now tired underneath the blazing August sun. Looking down at my right glove that was now soaked through with blood from the broken through burn, I decided then and there that I had nothing to prove to anyone, and that before the month was out, I would be gone.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
#50 Fact and Fancy
(Ok, a side note, this one was really hard, and I don't think I did it quite right. But oh well, good or bad, that's what my resolution was, so here it is.)
#50 Fact and Fancy: Write a brief autobiographical fragment or story in which you use alternating objective and personal sentences. One sentence should set down relatively objective, factual details, without bias or interpretation. The next sentence should be personal opinion; it should reveal feeling - shallow or deep; it should respond to the factual sentence but need not respond directly. Alternate like this. Write a total of 30 sentences, 15 factual and 15 personal.