Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pandora by the river

Apart from the wildlife, welcome and not, I had a dog and a horse for a while when I lived on the banks of the Never Never. The land was in two section, the road and a couple of paddocks where the house was, then the river and a large 10 hectare back paddock which was really a flood plane surrounded by forest, very private and only accessible by crossing the river on foot or tractor.
My horse, Pandora, was an autistic horse, somewhere quite high up the spectrum I think, she'd been deprived of the company of man and beast as a foal and was beyond being socialised. I knew she was a bit strange but thought that if I could work on her in a kindly manner all would be well. One day I threw some big cabbage leaves into her paddock for her which she picked up to eat, the leaf started flapping in the wind in her mouth and there she was galloping round the paddock in terror of this live thing after her, clenching her teeth tighter and tighter over her tormentor, terrified of a cabbage leaf. I think I knew that she was really daft from that day on, but I wasn't giving up.
The strange, non connective relationship continued for some months until the time I was riding her in the back paddock, it was a hot January afternoon when she suddenly bucked and pig rooted many feet into the air, I remember seeing the sky go round two or three times before I landed. First thing I pulled my boot off to ease my broken leg, and then lay down, my hand hanging from the end of my wrist, Pandora galloped back over the river, reins and stirrups flying, where luckily there were some friends with a four wheel drive who came over the river to get me. Then it was ambulances, hospitals, sets, resets, months with an arm and leg in plaster, delirious from pain killers, the end of my life with horses.
I think now that Pandora must have seen a snake sunning itself in the grass on that hot afternoon and over reacted as she had with the cabbage leaf. She went off to become a brood mare with a local arab stallion, she was a well bred horse herself, but this was a failure too, she ran away through several fences to another stallion, a runty beast,  her bit of rough, and got pregnant with him to have a foal that nobody wanted.
I'd wanted my own horse since I'd been a kid, I painted and drew horses my whole childhood in lieu of actually owning one, maybe it's the idea of ownership that was my problem. I went to visit some polo ponies in the dark and cold this morning and they came snuffling up, frost on their whiskers, we spent a few amiable moments and then they galloped off to do what horses do.

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