My resident Stable Boy calls my horse Ping and I Barn Warriors. When I first heard myself so described, I thought he was saying Barn Worrier (something not too far off the mark come to think of it). But, he really meant warrior. Stable Boy says Ping and I are entitled to this honorary title because both my trusty steed and myself are just a couple of walking wounded, both lame on the same leg - plus one.
Ping (a.k.a. Pool Boy), my little New Zealand Thoroughbred, has been a rather gimpy throughout our brief association. Together, we have battled several trim-happy farriers, abscesses, a colic, upward fixations of the patella, sore stifles, touchy bruised soles, a half gainer over a pasture fence, and more recently, the absence of rather large portions of the hoof wall of his left hind foot! I estimate that in the 15 months since I received this gift, he has been sound for approximately six months give or take a month or two (mostly give - at least when it comes to money changing hands).
It’s 9:30 in the evening and it’s really hot. In July and August in my part of the world it’s always hot - hot, and humid, sticky and sultry, with very little breeze to provide relief from the oppressive mid-summer steam bath otherwise known as summertime in the Midwest. About the only time we get any relief from the stifling summer heat and humidity is when the occasional severe thunderstorm rolls through, bringing with it torrential rain, tornadic (my spell checker doe not like this word, but I believe it meteorologically correct because I’ve heard it used during severe weather bulletins as my family and I huddle in our basement in the middle of the night, following the advice of the man on the television by taking shelter in the nearest low-lying area of our home) gusts of wind strong enough to blow the iron patio furniture into the pool, and if we are really lucky, and the insurance company is not -- hail of varying sizes from grains of rice to baseballs.
But, on this languid summer evening, no air is moving. The stars are out and the misty night is blue and beautiful I’ve been at home for about ten minutes and am finally slipping into the pool – a moment I’ve been dreaming of all day. You see, I’ve been in the barn all day and am just now getting home. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have been at the barn so late in the day, but I had to wait for the hay man. I swept the sweltering, dusty barn loft in order to make ready for a hay delivery ordered last week, and promised by my friendly, always smiling hay-making professional, to be delivered at 4:00 this afternoon.