Everyone got your rice-and-bean entroposcope? Hit LIKE if you get that reference!! In the meantime, enjoy the ride.
I just love a scintillating cascade of coincidence, and the bigger, the better.
We have one set of coincidence, happening about 18 months ago. This set involved a trip to the local horse auctions by my barn owner, who was looking for a horse for her soon-to-be-stepdaughter. Had a particular one in mind, as I hear it. While waiting for that horse to come up, another horse comes up. This one is super scruffy, beat up from a bad tangle with some wire, swaybacked, and clearly a problem to handle on the ground. Not exactly the kind of creature that makes a prospective buyer want to stand up and yell “I want that one!” Coincidentally, my barn owner both has an obvious soft spot for the hard-luck story, and an ability to see further into a millstone than most (thank you R. Kipling)…or at least, an ability to disregard superficial elements and focus on the substantive ones. Because, as I have heard it, she noticed this scruffy rag-bag nag put on a Show Face for the auction display, and knew that this horse was more than he appeared, and stood up to say I want that one.
Then we have another set of coincidences last summer, where I met the rag-bag, cleaned up now, with a little more polish on his manners, and fell in love with him instantly. Because I, too, have a soft spot for the hard-luck story (even though I didn’t even know there was a hard-luck story here), and I can see further into a millstone than most. Where my trainer, I think, saw a horse with some serious breeding and major training under the mess, what I saw was a decent looking horse with a great personality, a bottomless patience, and a huge heart, a horse that was willing to meet me where I was as a rideer, which was not very far at all. And then the coincidence that just as my trainer was deciding that the hard-luck story wasn’t really cut out for a low-level lesson program, as he got confused and stressed out by having a lot of different riders, I had decided that I was ready at last to start looking around for a horse of my own. It was bashert, as they say in Yiddish. It was Meant To Be. And that is how the rag-bag nag shed his Secret Identity and emerged from the phone booth in his Real Identity as The Wonder Horse.
The rest of that is a matter of public record in these archives.
Yet, even the knowledge that we were in the presence of The Wonder Horse did not entirely slake our curiosity. We asked, “How did he come to be The Wonder Horse?” and “Whose Wonder Horse was he before?” and “How did The Wonder Horse happen to go into hiding as a rag-bag nag?”
Yet, no answers were available. Every investigation led to a dead end. People thought they might have known him or seen him before, but always this has turned out to be another red herring.
It seemed we were all destined to go to our graves with the great unanswered question: Whence The Wonder Horse?
In the immortal words of the Man In Black: Get used to disappointment.
And we did. Yet the universe had yet another surprise in store. The entropy dropped like a rock this morning.
Huey The Wonder Horse was on deck for an acupuncture treatment for his chronic low-grade GI issues. He was one of five horses that needed to be seen, so there was a lot of activity about the barn while we all waited. Finally a truck pulled in. “That’s the vet!” I said. “Oh, no, I guess it’s not. That’s a guy with a ponytail.”
The barn owner said “He has a Driver.”
The Driver and another minion hopped out and started bustling. I rounded up The Wonder Horse from his stall and bunged him into the cross-ties to await the vet’s acupunctuary attention.
While we were waiting for the vet, Minion 2 arrived, a young woman with a clipboard to take notes. She regarded Huey for a minute, and then said “Oh! So this is where he wound up!”
It took a second for my brain to catch up with this entirely unexpected conversational opening.
“Wait, what?” I said. “You know this horse?”
“Oh, yes.” she said. “That’s Cosmo, right?”
“His name here is Huey.” I said. “But you know this horse?”
“Oh, yes.” she said again. “I rode him for years.”
“You know this horse?!?!?” I said again, like a busted record. Like I said, I didn’t have my entroposcope, and didn’t see that the beans and rice had separated in the jar.
“Oh yes. He was at [name of local very elite very horsey private school]. I’ve ridden him many times. Does he still throw his head up in the air when you ask him to go fast?”
“Ah. Yes. I don’t encourage that. We’re learning dressage.”
“Oh, he was a jumper when I knew him before. He loves to jump. He would jump anything. He could jump over the moon!”
Then the vet came and everything was work for a few minutes, but I was just bursting with questions.
“Did this horse you knew, was he really willing?”
“Oh, yes. And he listened really well too.”
“This is really that horse?”
“I’m 99% sure of it.”
More of a pause for the actual vet work.
“Did this horse you knew, did he do a thing with his lip?”
“Oh, yes! His lip flapped all the time in the ring! It was hilarious – he’s going along like a speed train, flapping that lip, making it pop! It made a big mess with his spit, but it was funny!”
And that’s when I knew. The horse she knew really was my Wonder Horse.
I shared this information with my barn owner, who took it with the grain of salt it deserved, given the prior dead-end leads. But Minion #2 shot off a text message to the trainer at Elite Horsey Private School to make sure that the horse she knew had been retired, and so it was. So then she took some pictures of him with her phone and messaged them over to trainer, who confirmed that yes, my Huey The Wonder Horse was their Cosmo, simply known as Cosmo. Either they had more than one Wonder Horse, or they didn’t realize he was The Wonder Horse. No telling… Subsequent e-mail correspondence yields the information that the hock problem he had last summer is the thing that ended his GP show-jumping career, and the suspensory thing that gave us trouble this spring is what sent him into retirement. Presumably, they retired him to what they thought was a Good Home, and which turned out some way to be Not Such A Good Home.
Well, he’s got one now, that’s what I say. A Good Home, that is. Black Beauty he ain’t – more like Giant Glowing Red Beauty – but the end of this story is going to be the same: here he is, and here he stays.
So – he passes through the hands of some very responsible owners, somehow into the hands of less responsible owners, and now he’s the pet of the barn. This is a horse with a Lucky Star. And I’m an owner with an equally Lucky Star. If this is what happens when entropy drops, I’ll take it.
Now if I can only keep him from jumping over the blasted ground poles…