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How a Horse Saved My Life

Based on the title, I bet you’re thinking this is an action-packed tale and that Skye is basically Lassie with horseshoes. Sorry to disappoint you but it isn’t quite like that. I had gotten married incredibly young—right out of high school. It was about as bad a decision as I could have made. My high school sweetheart turned into a real sour pickle and it took me a long time to get myself together enough to walk away. I didn’t want to be 23 and already a divorced waitress! With the support of my parents, I decided to enroll in veterinary school. That turned out to not be my thing, either, and my world started to get very dark indeed. However, one good thing did come of it—I met a farrier who knew of a stable that was looking to hire people. He thought of me and so he gave them my contact information. Shortly after, I got my job at the stables, helping to muck stalls and groom the horses.

That’s how I met Skye. Her owner was paying the boarding fees and I never actually saw anybody come in to check up on her. I couldn’t really complain too much even though I felt bad for the gorgeous dappled-gray girl. It meant that I got to spend a lot of time with her. There was no neglect there—we made sure of that at the barn—but there was definitely no love either. I always tried to give extra attention to the horses whose owners weren’t there every day but Skye was special. She clearly looked forward to seeing me every morning. I got the OK from the owner to ride her when I took people out on the trail. She was always calm, gentle, and proud on the trail—she looked like a queen leading a parade. I would go in her stall or hang out with her in the field every free moment I had. I would tell her all about my life, about my failed marriage, and all the trouble my ex-husband (we decided a good nickname for him was Pie, as in Cow Pie) seemed bent on causing. I told Skye things that I had never told anybody else. For her part, Skye was a great listener! I swear she even would make noise or nuzzle me at the right times as if she understood me. At some point, I started to feel better. As much as I knew she looked forward to seeing me, I looked forward to seeing her also. She became my reason to get up in the morning and get myself out of bed. I didn’t realize how badly I had needed that in my life.

At some point, I was given Skye’s historyand found out why nobody ever came to see her: the owner had given the horse to his little girl as a Christmas gift but it turned out she didn’t want a gray horse, she’d wanted Black Beauty. I don’t know—my world isn’t like that at all. I would have been ecstatic as a kid to get ANY kind of horse. Eventually even the owner got tired of paying the boarding fees and put up a notice that Skye was for sale. I couldn’t afford what he was asking, but the barn owners by then loved me and knew how I felt about my friend. They offered to buy her and let me pay her off in installments, which of course I happily accepted. They also gave me a “raise” which, by an amazing coincidence, was the same as her boarding fees.

Some people might think that I saved Skye—who knows what would have happened to her without any attention or love there at the stable, or what her fate would have been if I hadn’t taken over as her owner—but I know the truth. That horse saved me.