A few months ago, just before Christmas in fact, Soboro is hollering at me "You need to find an Outlet! You can't keep taking your stress out on me!" So here I am. Me. Trying to find an outlet.. trying to find some peace.
When I was younger I rode horses, and you know what? I even had one of my own. His name was Jesse. I loved that old boy, he was the whole world to me. And I miss him. I never knew I could love something/someone so much like that, but I did. I loved that old man more than my high school sweetheart, than the man that made my baby boy a possibility in my life, and maybe just maybe even more than my own Mama, and everyone else? Well everyone else just didn't compare. Not to my Jesse.
I got Jess a year or so after "my" last horse passed away. The man that made Jess a possibility, that would be someone I considered my father figure, the closest person I had that I felt that truly loved and cared about me, a person I ran around saying was my God Father, and later on was corrected to "Father of Sorts" with laughs as we introduced our type of relationship to others. It was special, and it was special to me. (I won't get into too much detail about that. I'm not ready to talk about all of that yet.) So, I got Jess approximately a year after "my" white horse, Bullet, passed away. I loved Bullet too, and I loved all my pets before Bullet, but nothing—no one—more than I loved Jesse. My "Father," Mr. Paul, saw how much time and dedication I put into horses, and decided I was ready for a little bit more of a challenge.
And boy did we not know what the hell we were signing on to. Mr. Paul was/is a big deal in the pro-rodeo circuit, so naturally there are a lot of horses being shuffled around—being bought, being sold, being traded, or just some cowboy pissed at his loss of the evening and giving away his flashy fourty-some thousand dollar horse that had every right training in the book, and he didn't win the hundred dollar prize and it must be the horse's fault. Well I didn't get that lucky, of course. There are also people there that manage to squeeze into conversation that they have a "nice," "middle-aged," "quite," "child safe," and "bomb proof" horse just sitting in their pasture going to waste, and that they would make some little girl a very happy little lady, and they would hate to just send the horse to auction (which around here is code for selling to either Canada or South America for horse meat.. which in my opinion is the better alternative of the two options that a horse gets when it is sent to auction.. meat, or science). That lucky little lady, was me. Mr. Paul knew these people, sort of knew what was really the case because they've tried a half dozen other families in the circuit, and everyone talks, so he had the idea that this horse was probably a great next step for me. I bet he regretted that decision the moment he tried to trailer that horse to get him home from the last main stream rodeo of the season. I was suppose to get this horse at the beginning of summer, we said yes, we would take the horse either the first or second main rodeo of the season back in May. Our family and the family with my so-to-be new horse are at every rodeo, we saw each other all summer, every Saturday night, and yet we hadn't acquired the horse. That should have been a big enough hint, but we stuck to it and the last night we got him. They brought the horse over to our trailer, handed me the lead rope, wished me all the best with my new steed, and was gone and out on the highway well before we were trying to trailer any of our horses. And thus it began.
Jess, didn't load on to the trailer. He wouldn't let you catch him, he was bad for the vet, and the farrier (the person who trims the horse's hooves every 4-6 weeks), and just about everyone else too. He hated to be brushed, he seemed to hate being saddled, he was scared to death of the hose, the trees, the trucks, anyone wearing anything on their head, or anything anyone had in their hands, he was scared of everything. I know Mr. Paul didn't want this, and I know this wasn't the type of horse he was trying to get for me—after all he wanted me to have a challenge not a crazy killer, but what I was given was a plain ol' abuse case, and as far as horses go, if they've been abused, they act just like the children that were locked in cellars, never learning social behavior, to speak, or even to see the light of day. Before we even made it home there was already talk of just sending this lemon of a horse to auction.. but I already knew. I already knew I loved him. I already knew he was mine and mine alone, so I stood my ground and I got him off the trailer and let him loose in the pen. The next day, it took me two hours to catch this horse in the 2 acre, open pasture. I never gave up on him; I was determined to never give up no matter how long it took. I never left once I started, I never went and retrieved treats, or feed, or gave up. He needed to know I was there and that I wasn't giving up—this is what will predetermine our entire relationship after all! I can't give up! He finally understood that, and I was the happiest girl in the world.
With a lot of work, and not to sound cliché but a ton of blood shed, and tears, and not to long afterwards he was perfect. Perfect for me. No, I didn't change him, he was still him, hated the vet, farrier, and literally everyone.. except me. Mr. Paul never wanted anyone to see my bizarre acting horse, so we hardly did anything off-farm, so honestly, I never worked on the trailering, he was a hella lot older than the other people said—he wasn't anything like what the other people claimed he was—but still perfect. That old boy was totally blind in one eye and just about blind in the other, no wonder he was scared of everything. He had scars on his face, and his legs, and his rear.. very much so an abuse case probably from someone those not apart of the horse world think of when they hear "rodeo," but just like every group of people there are good and there is bad and Jess met a very bad person somewhere down the line. As long as I was with him, he was perfect for everyone, and if I didn't like someone, he knew, and he made sure they left and didn't come back. I could never stand directly behind him, but he let me pamper, brush, and bathe him by the next summer. It took two months for this boy to trust me enough to let me on his back.. I didn't start from basics, he knew the drill.. he was just scared of the drill. I did the unsafe thing. No helmet, no bit or bridle, no saddle, pad, or stirrups. With a lead line tied loosely on the other side of him, I rode him in the pasture bareback, and then slowly but surely adding things back on him every couple of rides we took. By the next summer we were out of the pasture, and were free on the 40-acre farm, roaming the woods, the road, everything Mr. Paul didn't think he would ever come around to doing. I taught him his name, and he came when he was called, instead of taking two hours to catch, we played a game of tag that would, at most, last 10 minutes. Sometimes at night he would accidently go through the dead portion of the electric fence, and though he was blind, could always find my bedroom window, and knock on it with his muzzle. I never wore anything on my head, and it took a very very long time for him to trust me with items in my hands, but we got there. I learned from him, he learned from me, I never pushed him to do something he wasn't ready to do, and I never asked him to do something he was scared to do. We compromised. We worked together. We were a team. He was my baby. My love. My everything.
Jess came to me at the beginning of my freshman year of high school and I lost him the second semester of my first year of college, the day between good Friday and Easter. His last year here on earth, we stopped riding, but spent many many days together outside under the trees. The horse was at the bottom of the pecking order, and never cared if he had a companion horse with him, so it was easy enough to put a fence up around our house, and leave the window open so that we could be as close as possible for as long as possible.. he never went through my make-shift pen made of bailing twine.. he was where he wanted to be the whole time. I did all my homework with him, he helped me study for every test, and I bought a very expensive picture book that I would read to him and I'm pretty sure that is what he loved the most. Until the day he died, he was with me and I made sure every day I was with him.
This is the type of person I am. I love, care, and try to the best of my abilities, and in this case it paid off. I had the true love of my life, the true high school sweetheart, and a true friend that, although was just a horse, had more in common with me than anyone else on this entire planet. So when Soboro, the man every girl wishes to be with for the rest of their lives, yells at me because I have no place to put the stress that his mother brings on to me, I think of Jess, and what I had with him, and how I desperately try to apply the few good characteristics I have to every relationship in my life, including the one she won't even try to have with me. I think of my Jesse and hope and pray that this too can be overcome. I don't have Jess anymore, I no longer have my outlet.. my best friend, and here I am. Me. Trying desperately to find the outlet that will help save our little family.