Well, although I would normally be working today, it’s been raining for the past two days and the arena is soaked. My humans told me that I’d get today off, too, so I figured I’d take some time and tell you a little more of my story. This particular story is one that my humans and I laugh about all the time. They always tell people that it’s how they knew I would be an amazing jumper someday.
It was a dark and stormy night… Okay, no, it wasn’t.
It was a cold and snowy day… No, it really wasn’t that, either.
It was the first sunny day after a few days of snow, and I was settling in nicely at my new home in Smithtown, New York. I still didn’t know my humans all that well yet, but they were nice and took great care of me. I loved having shoes and warm clothes, and I had two new friends at my barn. I had my own stall with an “in-and-out,” a little private paddock that was attached to the stall, which I had free access to all the time. There was an arena, too, and a little round paddock next to the barn, but everything was completely covered in snow.
My humans started talking about “joining up” with me, but I wasn’t sure yet what that meant, or what we’d be joining. Maybe it was some sort of a club. But on this first warm, sunny day, the male human came and began to shovel some of the snow out of the round paddock. He told me, “Today is the day we’re going to join up, Icarus. And then you’ll be able to call me ‘Daddy’ and your female human, ‘Mommy.'” It sounded nice – especially because I didn’t remember my horse Mommy and I never met my horse Daddy. I figured that I’d get used to having humans for parents, and I guessed that they were probably the best human parents I could really have hoped for.
Well, I think that the male human got lonely after a while, because he put my brand new halter on me and led me out into the round paddock. I hung out and walked around while he finished shoveling the rest of the snow. After a while, my new friends started yelling and whinnying to me from the barn. I was pretty torn, because I wanted to spend time with my new human, but my other horse friends sounded really lonely when they called my name. I paced back and forth a couple times, trying to decide what to do.
Then I heard it. I heard Bucky, the oldest horse I’d ever met, scream. He screamed and screamed, and I knew that he must have been in trouble. So I muttered a silent prayer, turned toward the lowest part of the paddock fence, took two big canter strides and jumped as high as I could. As I soared through the air, I heard my human yell, “Icarus, NO!” and it broke my concentration. I forgot to kick up my heels on the landing, so my back legs clipped the top of the fence and I heard the board come crashing down behind me. Scared for Bucky’s life and even more scared that I was going to be in a lot of trouble, I galloped as fast as I could through the snow and back to the barn.
I went first to Bucky’s stall to check on him, but he had a big, buck-toothed grin on his old face, and I knew I’d been had. So I hung my head in shame and walked back into my own stall. I couldn’t believe that Bucky would trick me like that. I knew I was going to get sent back. I just knew it. I hadn’t even had a new family for a week, and I’d already ruined things. How naive can one little horse be?
Just then, I saw the male human come running into the barn as fast as he could. “Icarus!” he shouted, “Are you okay?!” He actually sounded worried – not angry. I couldn’t believe my ears, especially because of what he said next: “Icarus, that fence was four feet and ten inches tall. I know you knocked it down with your back legs, but I can’t believe you actually jumped so high! That was incredible! I was scared to death that you’d hurt yourself, but I’m so proud of you for being such an amazing jumper! I can’t wait to tell your new Mommy!”
I was both relieved and proud; relieved that my new humans weren’t going to send me back, and proud of myself for having jumped so high with barely any practice.
Then, my new Daddy said, “Listen, Icarus. Although I’m amazed at your fantastic jumping abilities, you have to promise me something. You have to promise me that you won’t try to jump out of any more paddocks, or out of the arena. I know you love to jump, but you’re too young to start jumping yet, so you’re going to have to be patient. Your time will come.”
I nuzzled my face against his chest in my best effort to give him a human hug. I wished that I could tell him how much I loved him, and how happy I was that he was my new human Daddy. But I realized that I would have a lot more time to show him those things. I knew that I wasn’t going anywhere… at least, not without my humans.
Alright, the rain is slowing down, so I’m going to go out and see if I can find some grass to eat. Check back again soon… I like this storytelling business. It’s fun, and I have a LOT more stories to tell. See you soon!