Little Johnny

I wake up to my alarm buzzing and my beloved husband leaning over me to kiss my forehead to wake me up. I couldn't help but to laugh and smile at him. "Come on baby, a honeymoon is over, and it's time to get back to work," Sam says in a soft voice. As I let out a small growl, he sits me up, and I stare into his deep blue eyes. As much as I want to hit snooze, we both got to get ready for work. Hustling to find clothes, get dogs taken care of, and find food. Once we both are fully ready to go including coffee to-go, we kiss each other goodbye and head out the door.
As usual, I arrive at the barn, and no one is here, I guess things don't change when you leave for two weeks. I do know my boss is gone for a performance this weekend but doesn't explain where the other two are. I have no time to waste; there's a new training horse here that I am to evaluate plus a new lesson student. Once all of the morning chores and turn out is done, it five minutes after the student is supposed to be here. There is still no sign of Mary and Ariana; of course, neither of them will answer their phones. I go ahead and tack Dollar, the lesson horse, up. He is my retire show pony, once a blazing fire in the show ring is now the perfect laid back lesson horse. He's still got quite a bit of spunk in him when you stick him on a cow.
Instead of starting on stalls, I head to the private round pen to see this new horse. The filly's profile hung on the door to the pen as well as with a "do NOT enter" sign. This, of course, is never a good thing, especially for me. It usually means this horse is dangerous and unpredictable. For some weird reason I had a thing for troubled horses, my boss believes that my troubled past helps me understand the horse better. What I do know it's that it drives the assistant trainer/barn manager nuts. Cassie has been giving me more training horses, Jessica believes I am going to take her job. The truth is the money isn't worth the hell that comes with the territory. I am more about the horses, now two years ago that would have been a different story. Plus I am planning on moving back south at some point.
The young filly legs are covered in scars as well as her head and neck, but some don't look like burn marks. According to the paperwork, she had been in a barn fire when she was six months old. She is out of world champion working cow horse bloodlines; I mean really nice bloodlines. Typically these babies go for thousands of dollars without even being fully weaned off their moms. I slowly and quietly open the gate, only latching the breakaway just in case I need to escape. The filly snorts at me; she is curious and doesn't appear to be afraid. I slowly start to approach her when a car for slams shut, spooking her. Her eyes lock on me, and the curiosity flees from her eyes. I make a mad dash to the edge, grabbing the top rail of the pen and launching up and over. The filly stands just on the other side pawing and snorting at me, with her eyes still filled with fear.
I swear if it's Mary or Ariana I will kill them, may do it anyways. Oh, that wasn't nice at all. To my surprise, it was Katy who pulled in along with another car that had a mother and son in it. I stand up and dust myself off just as she walks in and realizes what had happened. As she rushes over, I peek at the car to make sure the new student was still in the car. Wouldn't that be a great first impression, "hey look how scary horses are!" Nurse Katy comes out to make sure I am fine, and I assure her that I am. I locked the gates behind us as we walked out to greet the new clients.
Once Mrs. Smith gets off the phone we walk into my office to fill out paperwork and to figure out exactly why Johnny is here. Johnny goes with Katy to meet Dollar and get to know him. Along with training horses, I do animal assisted therapy usually through riding lessons. My program specializes in abused children but also helps soldiers returning home after being overseas and the veterans. Johnny has been suffering from a deep depression and refused to speak. Mrs. Smith says that when his father died, and his brother got arrested he went silent. After getting a good understanding of Johnny, we joined him with Dollar. We head off to the arena to start the lesson, but of course, another car pulls up.
"It’s about time Y'all showed up! Where have Y'all been?"
Mary responded with, "Sorry we overslept. Didn't realize it was a big deal." with a dramatic eye roll.
I wanted to smack the attitude out of her, but I somehow managed not to. I sent them off to clean the stalls and everything else I didn't get done this morning. Once returning to the arena, we finally begin the lesson. I usually have Katy assist until I figure out their strengths and weaknesses. We help Johnny onto Dollar; Katy leads as I walk next to Johnny. We start over with some basic exercises to strengthen our balance. Mostly nods and a few small smiles come from Johnny. We wrap up the lesson by having him and his mom groom Dollar. Katy puts up, the tack up and I run to the office to grab some stuff to send home. Mrs. Smith's phone rings and she steps out to answer the call. When I walk out Johnny has disappeared from the barn alley. I holler for him and Katy also happened to notice the door to the filly's barn door has been slid open. Katy runs back when I point tithe door and signal to approach slowly and quietly. She opens the door a little further, and we walk in.
"Hey, Johnny can you please come back here calmly?" He nods and slowly moves back to the gate. My eyes bounce between the filly and him, praying that she's not startled. I hear another car pull up and the filly that had been eating peers up. Her innocent eyes fill with fear as she begins to paw. She charges for the gate, right for Johnny. I scream and lunge in between them throwing my arms up in the air. She stops to rear and as she comes down her hoof meets my head and catches my arm. Then my world goes dark.
I begin to come back to my senses. My sight is blurry from the blood running down my face. Immediately I focus on the mom yelling at Johnny at the car and Johnny is in tears. Disobeying Katy’s orders, I get up, wipe the blood off my face, and walk over to them. Mrs. Smith begins apologizing, but I stop her.
“Please this is no one’s fault, do not blame yourselves. Sometimes things like this happen, but next time just remember don’t climb in a pen with a strange horse. These animals are like us, they get scared and think they are protecting themselves. She was just expressing her thoughts on us being in there. Now that doesn’t mean you go around hurting people but at least let us known if something isn’t okay. Okay?”
Johnny’s little blue eyes light back up, nods in agreement, and gives me a big hug.






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