Shannon’s Soapbox: Horse People Part 2 of 3

The horse my daughter almost died on…Cave City, KY

Sam was in front, and as he started down the path our horses started to follow him. The first thing I noticed was that from where it was raining all week, the path was muddy, and the horses were sinking in pretty deep. I thought to myself that they were horses, and this was okay.

Horses walked in mud all the time. Right?

Who knew, but this seemed like a reasonable assumption.

We got about a half a mile before the path led into the woods and my ex’s horse started to turn around. This horse literally just stopped and turned around, walking away, as if to say it was done with this walk and would no longer be participating, thank you very much, see ya later.

I let Sam know that his horse was no longer with us, because I realized that my ex was struggling with pulling and releasing the reins while talking to the horse like maybe he was some sort of horse whisperer or something. 

I heard him say, “Stupid fu@*ing horse. What the fu@* are you doing? You’re going the wrong way!”  He looked over at me and said, “This horse is illiterate!” 

I died laughing, “Well, what is it trying to read exactly?” 

He shook his head at me, “You know what I mean. It’s not listening to me.” 

The kids and I got tickled at him, making jokes that, “Daddy must have gotten the dumb horse.”

Sam told him to pull the reins a certain way when he wanted the horse to go a certain way. He did this and Sam immediately said, “Don’t pull on the reins!” which caused him to release the reins looking confused and irritated. First at Sam, then me.

I shrugged.

I supposed because I was turned to look at him that my horse decided that it also wanted to see what was going on back there and started to turn around and follow him and Sam. Sam rode up beside Damian and Scarlett and told them to stay there (I mean, where else were they going to go unless their horses decided to turn around and follow us, in which case, what were they going to do to stop it? About as much as we did, I guessed) while he helped us get turned back around.

By this time, my ex’s horse was halfway back to the stables, and my horse was headed right behind him. The whole situation had gone completely wrong. We had no idea what we were doing and one guide between the four of us was not nearly enough for our lack of experience, it seemed.

I somehow managed to get my horse turned back around, how exactly I didn’t know, and caught back up with the kids while Sam was still helping my ex—whose horse was now just walking in a circle while Sam was telling him over and over to do certain things with the reins and he was, at this point, huffing and saying, “I don’t know what you want me to do. I’m doing everything you say!”

When they finally got back to us, I looked over at him and his blonde hair was matted all over his face where he’d been sweating, and he gave me a look filled with such irritation that I felt a little bad. 

“I’m sorry your horse got turned around.”

He tried to blow his hair out of his face, probably because he didn’t want to risk letting go of the reins to push it out of the way. He failed at this and looked at me and said, “I just want this to be over with. It can’t happen fast enough.”

We were now all in line two by two and ready to get started. Damian’s horse decided that it was his turn to act mentally incapacitated, and started walking into a ditch near the side of the woods, because why not?

I thought to myself that these horses were completely mental, and that Sam didn’t know what the hell he was doing. I was still trying to look at the positive because, all in all, the entire situation was really quite hilarious, and at the very least we’d have a funny story to tell when we were through.

We all made a joke about how Scarlett had the only horse that knew what it was doing. I guess we should have knocked on wood or something after stating that.

Sam galloped up ahead to deal with Damian and his horse, and as he rode past Scarlett, her horse decided to take that moment to start running at full speed into the woods. I don’t know if Sam running up beside her while she was munching some grass spooked her, or what exactly happened, but I watched as Scarlett rose up off the horse when it bucked and started to sprint off, and then she was falling off the side of the horse. 

I could hear her saying my name over and over, “Mommy, Mommy help me.” She was just saying it, not screaming, not crying, and this made me panic more—that her voice should remain so calm in the midst of chaos—no, just no.  

I screamed, “Oh my God,” tears formed, and they threatened to pass through the veil of my eyelashes. I was about to watch my daughter die in front of my very eyes and there was not a damn thing I was going to be able to do about it. 

Stay tuned next week for part 3!


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