and the Tack Room Window
storyby Linda Coburn
It had been a few weeks since Destiny, my new horse, had arrived.
A plain-looking dark chestnut Morgan gelding, he seemed to be adjusting
quickly to his new surroundings and getting along well with my two
mares, Plympy and Crackers.
I was finding him to be extremely good natured and unusually friendly,
but otherwise unremarkable. I was delighted so far! I had wanted a
horse I could just go out there and ride, would be easy to manage
and low key. So far Destiny had fit the bill beautifully!
Then it began. By “it”, I mean….well, my life with
horses took a strange turn that would continue for many years to come.
When I went out to feed after work that Monday evening I noticed a
crack in the plexiglass in the tack room window. A good sized crack,
reminiscent of what happens when a rock hits your car window.
This window was on the paddock side of the tack room, about 4 feet
off the ground. The plexiglass was removable for summer use, with
a screen on the inside.
I looked around. Plympy and Crackers were in their stalls waiting
to be fed. Destiny was standing a bit further off, watching me. I
called him and he came right over for supper.
I was puzzled by the crack but carried on with my chores and forgot
about it by the time I was done.
When I went out to feed after work that Tuesday evening I noticed
the crack in the plexiglass had given and a large chunk was on the
The exposed screen was intact. I looked around. Plympy and Crackers
were in their stalls waiting to be fed. Destiny was standing a bit
further off, watching me as he’d been the day before. More puzzled
than yesterday, I carried on with my chores and disposed of the broken
When I went out to feed after work that Wednesday evening I found
the rest of the plexiglass removed and a tear in the screen
. Not a huge tear, but enough that it appeared almost as if someone
had cut it on purpose. Tack thieves came to mind briefly, but there
was an unlocked door just 2 feet away and nothing was missing.
Nothing else came to mind, so I picked up the mess and looked around.
Plympy and Crackers were in their stalls waiting to be fed. Destiny
was standing a bit further off, watching me as he’d been the
two days before only this time, he was considerably nearer. For some
reason, I looked at him more closely.
And, for the first of many times to come, something inside me twinged.
For a brief second, I could have sworn the eyes on my new horse were
gleaming back at me with almost-human intelligence. I shook it off
and went about my chores.
When I went out to feed after work that Thursday evening, I found
the screen ripped to shreds and two of my halters on the ground outside
They had been hanging on hooks inside the window, in easy reach if
it were open (which it now was). And, for the first of many times
to come, the hair on the back of my neck stood up
. That feeling you get when you are being watched. I swallowed hard
before looking behind me. Destiny stood not five feet away, blinking
at me. I stopped breathing for a second. There was a “look”
in his eyes that blazed with intelligence. I looked back at the window
and the stolen halters. I looked back at Destiny. And I knew.
Alarmed, I took the next day off from work. With much trepidation
I did my morning chores and went back into the house. I listened carefully
to the sounds outside. It wasn’t long before I heard a strange
bang out by the barn
. I hurried into a jacket and darted outside. I saw one halter on
the ground outside the broken window. I looked around. Plympy and
Crackers were munching hay. Destiny was nowhere in sight. I found
him in his stall, dozing. Pretending to doze,
I now know. I spoke to him and he looked at me. I saw “that
look” in his eyes again, and again I knew.
I next did what any self-respecting horse owner would do. I ducked
into the tack room itself and spied on him.
Sure enough, not five minutes later his nose poked through the open
window and pulled down more halters, depositing them on the ground
outside. The nose returned and fished around, I suppose to see what
else he could find.
Numb with amazement (and cold), I did what no self-respecting
horse owner would do. I dug a carrot from my jacket pocket and fed
it to him. I should have known better, but at the time….well,
Destiny, untying himself.
It was the beginning of a string of tack room incidents, of course.
I repaired the broken window by installing a metal grate over it that
weekend. It did put a stop to him breaking in that way. Sadly, that
was all it put a stop to. It was the first in a lifetime of adventures
with this keenly intelligent, happy-go-lucky, and often just plain
ridiculous horse. I could only wonder why the woman I’d bought
him from hadn’t warned me of this!
Copyright 2009 L Coburn
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