Saturday, May 8, 2010
A Gift from God
Here’s the thing. A few weeks after we bought Steel, just long enough to get attached to him, I got an e-mail. (The time it takes me to get attached has shrunk proportionately in relation to how aware I’ve become to all the abuse and neglect in the horse world.)
The e-mail was from Lowdown’s owner!—the palomino Paint I’d been crying over!
When I’d tried to find Lowdown a couple of months earlier, I called the person, the broker, whose name was on the old advertisement we’d dug up on him. It was probably a disconnected number by now. At the least, he’d be long sold. But maybe she knew where he was. It was worth a try.
A woman picked up. It was her. She told me that Mr. Hart didn’t sell Lowdown after all and he was still being boarded at the same place I’d left him seven years ago! I cried to her as well. She was a little cold. She didn’t say, “There, there now.” I sniffed and asked her to tell Mr. Hart I was trying to reach him. But he never called. I figured he didn’t care. Or she didn’t give him the message. Just in case, because you never know, I tried one more thing. I sent a letter by regular mail in care of the stable. I figured if it came by the U.S. Postal Service, they’d have to deliver it to him or break the law. But I still didn’t hear anything. So I resigned myself to the fact that Lowdown was lost to me. Then I went out and got Steel and tried to put it out of my mind.
Now there was an e-mail from Mr. Hart. I was shocked. I was scared to open it. I said, “Kurt, I’m not opening it…”
Many scenarios swirled through my mind. OhmyGod, was Lowdown okay? OhmyGod, was it possible he was for sale? And maybe even more importantly, was it possible that I could afford to buy him if he was? He’d have to be missing a leg or at least an eye for that to happen. I sold him for more money than I could ever imagine paying for a horse. That was one of the reasons that, when we had to sell one horse back then because we had no room, I choose Lowdown. Even though he was my own personal riding horse, I knew I could get the most money for him and truth be told, we could really use it. Plus, he was the only one without any issues and so would least likely be at risk. Harley could easily fall into the wrong hands. One false move and he’d have a heart attack and jump sideways ten-feet, perhaps buck or even fall down in sheer terror if his rider’s voice was any deeper than, say, a fifteen-year-old boy’s who had just begun to shave.
Anyone could do anything with Lowdown. He was born old. As a two-year-old, (a two-year-old!) he actually helped me get my confidence back after I had the bucker. I rode him all over the place—we went trail riding in the back of Great Adventure’s safari park where the lions and bears were caged and he practically waved as we moseyed by. We went team-penning every Friday night. We learned how to barrel race together. We were in parades, strategically placed right in front of the fire engines because of someone’s sick idea of a joke but Lowdown couldn’t care less. All the other riders on unruly, nervous horses were incredulous—“How old did you say he was?” The chances of someone messing him up and creating a problem horse who would switch hands many times on his way to the sale (i.e., slaughter) were pretty slim.
And so he was the one to go and I regretted it every day for the last seven years.
Was it possible I could get him back? Now I was in Virginia and had acreage. And though I was on what I call “full-horse-overload” with the stupid retired horses, and the new horse Steel, I didn’t care. Additionally, don’t forget, we got laid off last year with no warning and had to scramble to start our own flooring company— www.ShopAtHomeFloors.net. Considering the economy, we’ve been doing great. But it hasn’t been easy. Then, with my mother being sick, we‘d been going back and forth to Jersey every time you turned around, and every time we did, it was a big project, and expensive, because someone had to take care of all the animals. The last thing I needed was two new horses in the mix. But if there was any way I could get Lowdown back, I would. My heart was beating hard in my chest when I opened the e-mail.
Mr. Hart told me he was thrilled when he got my letter and thought it was a gift from God. He actually said that. He had been worrying about what to do with Lowdown because his daughter had lost interest some years ago but Mr. Hart loved him as much as I did and didn’t want to just sell him to anyone. Though people offered him even more than what he paid for him, including a friend of his, he didn’t feel their reasons for wanting him were good enough. He said he was so happy to find out that I was still interested in him. He asked me to call him.
I started jumping up and down. “Kurt! Kurt! I might be able to get him!”
But how? This was crazy! I shouldn’t get my hopes up.
Kurt said, “Don’t worry; we’ll get him somehow.”
This is one reason I love this man.
You may want to sit down for this. I sold Lowdown for ten thousand dollars. I’m sorry but I think that’s an insane amount of money, certainly way out of my price range. Unless he had something physical going on now, Mr. Hart would probably want at least what he paid. Though Lowdown was older now, he was surely even better than when I sold him. He had been in training with an Olympic trainer and doing some jumping. They did English equitation with him and western pleasure. At this point, he had pretty much done it all. What I didn’t do, they did. So he was not only gorgeous, but he had a variety of disciplines under his belt. The perfect all-around horse.
I e-mailed back and assured Mr. Hart that, yes, I was definitely interested! But I warned him that the money situation was “modest,” for lack of a better word. I fantasized that maybe he’d have mercy on me and let me have him for five grand and even though that was also a lot of money in our world, we would manage somehow. Kurt said we’ll charge it. Or we could make payments. Maybe, if I started playing real quick, I could hit the lottery or at least sell one of the children. They’re awful cute. And the little one is quite neat. The big one is messy but she can cook like no tomorrow.
Anyway, Mr. Hart e-mailed me back. “Call me,” he said. “Money is not an issue.”
That is when I felt God on my shoulder...